Financially planning... sounds as fun as a root canal without pain killers. I know, I know. But listen, I really advocate for these next few tips:
- Make a list. Jot it down, ladies! I know it sounds elementary, but putting down your goals can help you stayed focus. Think about your long term goals (saving for retirement, paying down credit card debt, buying a new car) and your short term ones (holiday shopping, a flight to Mexico in a few months, new clothes for the season). Having them down will help you identify what you are putting your money toward. And that will help you...
- Pay yourself. Change your attitude about savings. It's not that locking money is getting rid of it. It just means you can't swipe your debit card and pay for those shoes that are sale for only $168. It does mean that you are putting money away so that you can live a better life in the future. Sipping 'ritas in Cozumel, not worrying about that debt that's hanging over your head sounds dreamy, doesn't it?
- What's $5? Start thinking about each dollar as a unit that can go toward your goal. Maybe $8 for lunch at that cute bistro doesn't sound like a lot now, but if applied to your travel fund, it can add up soon. If you're saving for the holidays, think about what that $8 can buy you during holiday sales (a nice sweater, a spa gift set, maybe even 3 or 4 DVDs!). Assign your dollar amount to a goal. For a week, apply that thinking: "Sure that latte is $3, but I could use that money toward those heels," or "I'd rather put that $8 toward this Christmas," and "I know that top looks cute now, but for $22, I bet I'd rather have that money go toward my trip next summer." Add it up; that's already $33! You'll see a difference soon.
- Have fun. Don't strap yourself so tight that you don't feel like you can have a good time. It's okay to go out to dinner or buy some new make-up. But keep it to a minimum. You're more likely to save if you feel like you can still let loose and you aren't just putting away until you die.