As the year draws to an end, we all begin to focus on the things that we would like to change for the new year. It is a great time to be reflective and see what didn’t work for us and also to find our opportunity to make positive changes for the upcoming year. Isn’t renewal great? A chance to start fresh and to begin the year on good footing. That is the best part for me about starting a new year. Sure, I am a year older…but I am also a year wiser too! Another year to draw experience from and to begin our reflective thinking on how we can be BETTER! How amazing is that?
Here are some great ideas for making a positive change in your finances this year:
1. The Power of Positive Thinking- One way you can begin the year on good footing is to begin the year by thinking positively and trying to carry that positive thinking with you throughout the year. This is one thing that I am really going to be working on and I believe that it will improve my outlook greatly.
Looking back in the year, you can maybe see things that you didn’t do correctly. Maybe you used your credit card? Maybe you had enormous medical bills for the year? Maybe you strayed from your budget?
While you can look back on your year and kick yourself for all of your stupid financial mistakes, the simple fact is that it won’t change anything about what you did wrong….But, what you can do is look at those stupid experiences and say, “Here is how I am going to change that this year.”
The pure and simple fact is that I have made dumb financial mistakes. I took out a lot of student loans and didn’t finish school. I got a gym membership that ruined my credit history and caused me to take out high interest loans for my schooling. I borrowed against our credit cards when we had no money coming in for almost a year. My life is paved with some really stupid financial moves.
BUT! I am pulling myself up by my boot straps and I am working my tail off to make things right. I have put pen to paper and made financial goals for my family and we are working to meet those goals. I am wiser with my money now and I am making positive changes in our budget to reach the goals that we need to reach. We are beginning to see light at the end of our tunnel and it feels GOOD!
Focus on these things- not the bad! That is a goal for me this year!
2. Get Organized- I have been flipping through this month’s magazines and am beginning to see a theme into what people are looking for. This is the time of the year where we say that we want to get organized. But how does organization relate to the financial situation? To me, finances and organization go hand in hand. Without organization, my finances would be a wreck and that is why it is a continual goal for me to get my stuff in order.
Organization in your life will lead to lots of positive changes and your finances can change right along with that.
Are your bills late? Are you always losing those receipts for your reimbursements for your medical expenses? Did you misplace important tax paperwork and won’t be able to use for your deductions?
Those scenarios can be sickening, especially if those are positive amounts that could be made into your account or you are suffering from fees and higher interest rates because you can’t get your stuff in order.
Figure out how you can get things in order so that you can make these scenarios work. For your medical expenses, a three ring binder divided by months can be great for keeping track of receipts and your Explanation of Benefits. Use this to keep track of what has/has not been paid. Then if the company calls and says they never received your payment, you have your written proof that payment was sent or reimbursements weren’t made.
Start keeping a calendar with dates for important account activities or send yourself email reminders from the company for your payments. Better yet, set up automatic deductions so you don’t have to stress about whether or not your bill has been paid.
There is so much that I plan to organize this year and the magazines are proving that I am not the only one looking for answers. Getting my life in order is top priority.
3. Get Healthy- Getting healthy and losing weight are top on everyone’s priority list right now. Getting healthy is important to me and it is not only important to me because I want to feel good, but being healthy is top on my financial priorities list too.
If I can make positive changes in my activities and I can get my health issues in order, I can save myself a ton of money. I will be making less trips to the doctor, purchasing fewer prescription drugs, and I will have more energy to help with our family finances.
Getting healthy, to me, will not require spending money. I will probably be discussing this more in a future article, but I really did want to say that. When people say that they want to lose weight or get healthy, many times these scenarios involve spending money. I don’t like to spend money, so I am trying to do this through cheaper means.
This means that I will get exercise through walking or jogging outside (during the warmer months) and renting free exercise videos from the library for the cooler months. No gym memberships for me because I can get exercise for free from home.
Drinking more water is also tops on my priority list and, lucky for me, this is free!
I also did make the switch to herbal medications and have seen so many positive changes from switching to these instead of my prescriptions. These are saving me tons of money and I feel a hundred times better. While this option might not be for everyone, I am saving hundreds of dollars for our family by seeking alternative medications.
4. Relieve Stress- Stress can do a number on our bodies and my stomach is living proof of why stress is so bad for you. I am trying to reduce the amount of stress in my life and this is an important goal for me.
How does stress relate the finances? Well, if I am constantly stressed out, I find that I am in stomach pain or I don’t feel good. If I am stressed out then I find myself going out to dinner because I am too stressed/tired to cook. Maybe my stress causes depression for me or it puts a strain on my family? These scenarios are not good for a family and they aren’t good for my finances.
I find myself stressed often and the thing about it is…I put it on myself. I volunteer for everything because I want people to like me. I am a people-pleaser. I am a bend-over-and-take-it-because-everyone-needs-me kind of person, when I should be more of a, “Sorry, I can’t help you this week!” kind of person.
This doesn’t mean I am saying no to everything, but this will mean that I am going to say no. This is a really hard one for me, but I am kicking myself six days out of the week because I s
aid yes to something that I shouldn’t have.
I am going to use that time to refocus my life AND my spirit. I am trying to renew hobbies that I am missing out of my life. For example, I love to read and I never had time to do that. I want to make that time for me because reading helps relieve stress and feeds my need to connect with myself.
Other things I would like to pick back up- doing Suduko, doing yoga, and reading things that feed my spirit.
5. Reach My Financial Goals- If you haven’t sat down and wrote out your financial goals for the year, there is no time like the present. Sit down and really think about what you hope to accomplish this year.
This year, my goal is to pay off the credit card. We have been working towards this goal for almost four years now and we are now under $2K. I will pay this off this year and we will be credit card free.
As we snowball our debt, we will move our credit card payment to the cars and get those paid off next. We are not that far away from owning them, but we do have some auto repairs that will need to be done this year. Our hope is to get these taken care of so that we can enjoy our first year (next year) car payment free.
These are just a few positive financial moves that we hope to make this year. I will be sharing five more positive goals you can make, in the upcoming week, and I hope that it will inspire you for making your resolutions and goals for 2008.