Make sure that you can turn your resolution to save money into a reality when you put the following steps into place. It isn’t enough just to resolve to be frugal or cut back. You have to make a commitment and then know where to begin and how to keep it going.
It takes just 21 days, by conventional wisdom, to turn a resolution into a habit. That means with just a little effort each day for the next three weeks, you can start down a path of a lifetime of saving with the end result being financial solvency.
The important thing is to start out positively. If you take the time to set yourself up to win, then win you will. Here are the steps you need to take to turn that frugal resolution into a reality.
Specific resolutions are more likely to be kept, so set some very precise goals. For example, you may resolve to reduce your spending by $50 a month, eat out one less time per week or find ways to save on your insurance or other large bills. It is fine to alter your goals along the way, but keep them both challenging and in step with a larger overall resolution, such as paying off your car or home.
Make sure to write down your resolutions or goals and post them somewhere prominent, so you can review these resolutions, check off milestones, and stay motivated.
Get with the Program
Become involved in a savings program and resolve to stick with it. One very good program I recommend is the Dave Ramsey program, which teaches you how to save money and pay off debt. Find the program through a local church, and you’ll get a discount on the class and materials. The best part of it is that you can continue to take the course for life, if you need a refresher down the road.
There are other programs out there too, both in person and online, so shop around. The best ones will let you audit a class before you commit. Being part of a professional program does two things: it guides you to the right steps you need to take your resolution seriously, and it keeps you accountable to others.
Start Paying Off Debt
Identify a small debt and work to pay it off. Solving this one little problem will keep you motivated to go after bigger goals as you learn along the way. After that debt is taken care of, work toward paying off the next debt. Find new ways to earn the money, from cutting out the premium cable to getting a part time job. Proud of meeting your resolution, you won’t miss any temporary sacrifice you might decide to make.
Build in a Reward System
Go ahead and treat yourself when you stick with your money saving resolution. Just make sure that your indulgence doesn’t blow up your goals. You can budget a small amount of money for something special when you hit a milestone, or get creative with something completely free, such as a movie rental from the library, a day of tourism in your own town or “permission” to just goof off with a good book. Once saving money becomes a habit, it will become its own reward.