And just like that, 2019 is here! Happy New Year!
I can’t tell you how many times I have read or been tagged on social media posts that focus on healthy recipes and tips on dieting/fasting. Every year around this time, millions of Americans commit to making changes in their eating and exercise habits. If only there was this much excitement when it comes to making healthy changes in our finances. Well, consider this column my attempt to up the enthusiasm!
To kick off the first month of the year, I am challenging you to a financial fast. Yes, a fast! Just like with food, this fast will entail giving up or modifying certain habits with an ultimate focus on advancing your financial goals. Here we go!
- Nix any credit card use. I know this may sound hard, but for the next 30 days, try not to make any credit card purchases. If you can’t pay for it from your debit card or in cash, then don’t make the purchase. This practice offers the chance to think over your spending habits and cut down on impulse buys just because something is on sale or you think that you “need” this item or service. As a bonus, you will save on the interest costs if you wait to make the purchase when you actually have the money.
- Refrain from eating out. With the holidays behind us, perhaps it may be a little easier to cut back on all of the fancy restaurants and celebrations. Cook a little more and save those extra dollars while you’re at it!
- Reduce your trips to the ATM. Making random trips to the cash machine can easily lead to over spending. At the beginning of each week, take out the cash you anticipate needing for the next 7 days. Once that cash is gone, you’re done for the week (and don’t go back)! Trust me. This practice will cause you to be much more mindful of your spending habits.
- Pay off a credit card. You know that great feeling of stepping on the scale and seeing that you’ve dropped a few pounds? Well, you can achieve the same feeling by going ahead and paying off that credit card balance from a retail store and freezing the card or putting it away for emergencies. Think about it. Do you really need it with you all the time? A zero balance is definitely weight off your shoulders.
- Give up one guilty pleasure. We already covered cutting back on fast food, but what about your other guilty pleasures? Maybe it’s a trip to the bar or casino, cigarettes, clothes shopping, a massage…whatever it is, give it up this month and see what extra income it yields.
If the above list seems like too much of a challenge to tackle all at once, then pick one or two to try. Any effort represents a start on your road to financial fitness. Who knows? You may even keep the trends going well into the next month, quarter or the entire year.
I am rooting for you, so if you need help or encouragement from a financial advisor, I’m just a phone call or email away!
Connect with Delta Jones-Walker and Atled Financial on Facebook, Twitter: @Atled_Financial and LinkedIn! To schedule a complimentary consultation or a presentation to your group or organization, call 219-513-3710 or email [email protected] and mention this column. Topic ideas for this column are welcome!
*Securities and advisory services offered through Woodbury Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Insurance services offered through Atled Financial Group 717 B Main Street Schererville, IN 46375 which is not affiliated with Woodbury Financial.