It’s everyone’s favorite time of year. Time for renewal. Time to start over. New Year New You!! How many people do you know who drink and eat excessively all through the holidays, then, guilt-racked by their overindulgence, come up with grand plans to turn things around completely starting January 1st. THIS will be the year I finally clean up my diet, pay off my debt and give up throwing tomato sauce at my friends through the window as I drive by they say.
(Ok, maybe that last one refers only to one specific person. A person whom I will never forgive!)
You don’t need me to tell you what happens next. After brown bagging their lunch for the first week back in the office, they splurge and blow all the money saved on lunch (and more) by drinking it away with dinner and Sunday Funday! over the first weekend.
People fail their resolutions. They fail them hardcore. Something like 97% of resolutions fail. They fail for a variety of reasons, but one of the biggest is that people set these pie in the sky goals without any plan in place to make the goal happen.
That’s not a recipe for a New You. That’s a recipe for disaster. In fact, unrealistic optimism is a recipe for feeling miserable!
So, How Do I Stick to My New Year’s Plan?
Financially, the best way to stick to your plans is to start small and make things manageable. If you haven’t been saving anything to this point, don’t try to all of a sudden save 20% of your paycheck. Good luck keeping that up! You’ll be back to burning through money faster than you can say “I just don’t have enough money to save.”
Start with small things. Start with short time frames. Don’t try to not buy lunch for the entire year. See if you can go the month of January without buying alcohol or dessert with dinner and put all of the money you would have spent into a savings account. You can do anything for month, right?
Three 30-Day Challenges to Try This Year
Try going a month doing one of the challenges below. Or use them as inspiration to come up with some of your own. You know your situation and vices better than me. I’d love to hear any of your money saving challenges!
- No Alcohol – This ones self-explanatory. Go an entire month without buying alcohol. Not only is this great for your health, but it’s fantastic for your pocket book. That’s a fancy name for your wallet. Which is a place people keep their non-bitcoin money. [Not me actually….fun fact about me, I don’t use a wallet. I just keep a credit card in my pocket!]
- Only Order Appetizers – Love going out to eat but still want to save money? Try one month of only ordering off the appetizer menu. Much less expensive than an entree, drink and dessert, and often can be more than enough food for a full meal. Portion control anyone?
- No Purchases Over ($xx) Without a 3-Day Waiting Period – How often have you been cruising along with your spending plan when WHAM! You walk in to Target for some toilet paper then accidentally walk out with a shopping cart full of trinkets and $200 less in your bank account? Impulse spending can be a killer. How about going a month without making purchases above, say, $20 (or whatever is appropriate for your situation), unless you wait 3 or more days. Write down the expense with today’s date when it comes to mind. Then look at it 3 days later and decide if you still want to purchase it. It’s amazing how often something that seemed “must have” in the moment bores you in a few days.
I don’t know about you, but some of those sounded, dare I say…..fun. Did we just make saving money fun?! I think we did.
Want to hear more? Join The Modern Day Millionaire newsletter for weekly emails when new blog posts are up, news about current events and how they impact your finances, and special offers. I promise, no spam ever and you can opt out any time!