I recently hosted my first Twitter Chat with the ladies of the Frugal Fab 5 on money management basics. One of the obstacles that many of us still face is reigning in our spending and paying ourselves first. Get a head start on your 2014 financial goals by being proactive about what you do with your money for the remainder of 2013. You still have time to do all of the following:
Automate your Payments: One of my friends just told me that whenever she has extra cash lying around, she ends up spending it on silly, insignificant things. As a single mother of two, that money could be used for some many things. I recommended that she increase her retirement allocation by having the money automatically withdrawn from her check every month.
If you want to ensure that money is mindfully used toward savings or eliminating debt, take the human factor out of it and set up automatic payment…to yourself before the money runs through your fingers like water.
Get a Financial Advisor: Every one is not going to be a money guru, but every one will still be responsible for taking care of themselves in the present and in the future. One of the beauties about enlisting the support of a financial advisor or planner is that you have options. Some financial advisors charge a flat fee for their advisement, while others are paid a portion of your complete portfolio. Speak to the customer service representative at your bank about your options. Also, ask for referrals from your financially savvy friends.
Create Super Small, Specific Savings Goals. Saving has become like a hobby to me. Some people like collecting art;I like collecting money. But not everyone can save for savings sake. That is why it is important to create SMART (specific, measureable, accurate, realistic, and time-bound) goals and be clear about what you are saving for. Set a goal like, “In four months, I want to save $400 dollars so that I can pay off the remaining balance on my Macy’s charge card. So that means I have to save $100/month. $25/week. $5/day.” This is more likely to get you where you want to go with your financial bottom line than a vague goal like, “I want to save a lot of money quickly.”
Ditch all of your friends trying to keep up with the Joneses and the Kardashians because they are making you broke. The Social Mirror Theory states that people are not capable of anchoring their self-concept and self-perception without taking into account others’ viewpoints. Even though this theory speaks to general social interactions, we KNOW that this is applicable to how we spend money. If your friends are spending like it is en vogue, then you are more likely to pull out your wallet if you are not strong enough to stand your ground.
If you know that you are susceptible to following the crowd, then change the crowd: surround yourself with friends that are about their money so you can do the same. Check out meetup.com for free events to find more frugal friends.
Frugalistas: What can you do to save more and eliminate debt before the end of the year?
Saving your money and budgeting correctly are two of the foundational tasks needed to take control of your finances. If you need additional support, I invite you to check out my budgeting course and my savings course.