It might surprise you to know that the history of New Year’s resolutions is often attributed to the ancient Babylonians who made promises to their Gods – often resolving to get out of debt! Just goes to show that things haven’t changed much financially for over 4,000 years.
The New Year provides the opportunity for a fresh start, but resolutions are difficult to stick to. How many of us have already fallen off the horse? How do we make sure we keep our promises to ourselves way past January? Here are some great tips to make your resolutions stick.
Take your goal and write it down. Your goals could be as simple as saving for a holiday, paying off your credit card, or educating yourself about your finances such as superannuation. List the things you want to achieve, starting with the ones that are the easiest – think baby steps, and make them realistic. Then, put them somewhere you can see it every day or tell someone who can remind you of your goal.
Understand your finances. Look through your bank statements so you are aware of your cash flow. It’s impossible to gain control of your money unless you know where it’s all going. A money diary might help here because you may find it hard to remember where you spend those quick few dollars that disappear out of your wallet. The reality is it all adds up.
Work out what needs to change for you to achieve your goal. This is probably the hardest part. Tallying up the debt is daunting, but can free your mind up to start brainstorming a solution. Or if your goal is to save, you could make your lunch and take it to work, buy generic branded groceries and/or put your coins into a jar at the end of each day. Over time you will notice the savings!
Implement! Don’t procrastinate, do it! If you need to save $400 a month for 6 months so you can take that holiday, then make a budget and start a savings plan. Or, direct debit a little bit away each month and put any extra money (such as a tax refund or bonus) into your savings account.
Acknowledge your achievements. Pat yourself on the back when you deserve it. If you’ve managed to decrease your credit card debt, or save $100 every week for a month, be proud of yourself and let it motivate you to keep going.
Never, ever give up. Don’t get disheartened if you don’t achieve your goal. Take another look – perhaps it was unrealistic in the first place, perhaps you didn’t give yourself enough time, but always have another go!
Want more practical tips on saving money, paying off debts and working towards your goals? A Vision Super financial advisor can help. For more information go to visionsuper.com.au/advice or contact us on 1300 300 820 to book an appointment.