When the rush of gift giving slows down and we edge closer to the end of December, many of us shift our focus to our New Year’s resolutions. The two most common of these involve getting either our bodies or our finances in shape.
Financially the most effective and fundamental habit that we should pledge to adopt is that of making a budget. But what about all those resolutions we’ve made before and haven’t kept? What will make implementing a budget stick when other good intentions haven’t?
There are three important steps to ensuring your resolution will gain traction and become an everyday part of your life:
- Setting a goal – Determine what you want and when you want it. You can’t hit a target you haven’t made. Be sure your goal is super important to you or you may not have the motivation to stay the course.
- Automate your goal – Any goal that is too complicated will likely fail. With today’s technological advances, there is no need to do things by hand. Look online for ways to automate your budget and keeps things simple and hassle-free.
- Check your progress – Stay on top of your budget with one of the many free budget tracking apps. It will keep you in touch with what’s going on in your financial world and will give you real-time feedback so you can make adjustments on the fly.
The bottom line is that budgets are only as good as the thoughtfulness we put into them. New Year’s resolutions are doable, but wishful thinking isn’t enough. Be sure to plan, stay focused, and make adjustments and you will be well on your way to a bright financial future.