In a few weeks we’ll be ringing in the New Year. Many of you have already started making your New Year’s resolutions. Others may wait until January 1st to commit. And there are some of you who refuse to make New Year’s resolutions. Whichever group you fall into, isn’t it time to take control of your money? Let 2016 be that year for you. Here are 7 easy things to do in 2016 to take control of your money.
1- Use visual reminders to remind yourself what you’re saving for – whether it’s an experience (e.g., travel to Bora Bora) or to buy something (e.g., Maserati). Find pictures of what you’re saving for and tape them to your wallet/credit card. Also, save these pictures as your screen saver on your mobile phone and laptop. If you can’t find a picture, then write a note and tape it to your credit card. In this way, every time you think about spending money you are reminded of what you really want to do with your money.
2- Commit to paying in full every month any new credit card purchases. By committing to pay in full any new charges, you will minimize the growth of your credit card debt AND establish a very good habit.
3- Find ways to spend your time other than shopping. The best way to stop spending is to stop going to stores – physically and online. Whether you’re an impulsive buyer of electronic gadgets or of the latest fashion … STOP shopping. Use your time for other things – volunteer, read a book, exercise. Find a more productive and less expensive way to use your time.
4- Set-up direct deposit to deposit a portion of your income into a savings account. Speak with your company’s Human Resources department to find out how to make this change.
5- Allocate to savings any merit increases or bonus. This means not increasing your spending when your pay goes up.
6- Say “no” to purchasing online discounts you pay upfront for – Groupon, LivingSocial, Angie’s List, etc. Just add up how much you wasted buying these purchases and never used. That amount of wasted money should motivate you to stop purchasing these discounts upfront.
7- Cancel unused monthly subscriptions which charge you every month whether or not you accept the recommended product. Monthly subscriptions are deceivingly inexpensive because they break the annual cost into smaller amounts. It’s easy to sign up for something that costs only $50 per month – but remember that cost is $600 per year. It may be worthwhile if you use the products. But then again, it may be wasting money.
Start 2016 by taking control of your money. It’s not easy but the above suggestions are a start.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Niv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA™, CRPC®, is the Founder of Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Life is more than money. It’s about living the lifestyle you want and can afford. For that reason, Niv consults with clients on money, life and work. Her approach capitalizes on techniques she learned throughout her career, including as a management consultant, executive recruiter and financial adviser. Her services include spending plan, financial plan, divorce financial review, life strategy and professional progression. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me’.”