So it's February, and most of us have already failed at following through on our New Year's resolutions. And that's too bad, because based on a YouGov poll, the most common goals were to eat healthier, to get more exercise, and to save more money - all good things to aspire to. Well just because you haven't been perfect doesn't mean that it is too late to make a positive change in your life. To that end, today marks the first of four articles on getting back on track with regards to making positive change in your life. First up, saving money.
Step One - Determine Your Goals. As with most things, goal setting is critical in becoming financially fit. Why? Having something tangible to work toward will help you during the inevitable times of "short-term crisis"... you know when you want to spend money on something fun but ultimately empty.
When it comes to goal setting, start with a long term goal and then break it down into short term goals. For instance, you may have a goal of saving enough money for a nice, week-long trip to Paris but your bank account is on negative. Well, writing down the goal is the first step. If it is a trip to Paris you want, put pictures of the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and Notre Dame Cathedral in places you will see constantly, like on your mirror, on your refrigerator, and perhaps in your wallet.
After you have established a long term goal, think through a time frame. In my opinion, the best to visit Paris is in May, so let's decide that you plan to take your trip in May of 2019 or 15 months from today. Then determine how much money you will need to take your dream trip. It's tough to predict airfare and hotel 15 months out but you will want to come up with a number just so you have something concrete to base the rest of your plan on. You can probably get to Paris and get a hotel for $1500 to $2000. You will also want some money to spend while you are there so add another $500 on top of that. Ok, so you will need about $2000 or $2500 to make this happen. Starting from zero. Ok, we got this.
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