January seems to be the popular time to make financial goals and plans for the upcoming year, but where do you start? Every person, every family, every financial situation is different. A goal to pay off debt may or may not apply to you, and a goal to save more money may not be an option if you’ve got a heavy load of debt over your head. Here are three financial goals, however, that, if taken advantage of, can benefit everyone.
Financial Goals 101: A Net Worth Increase Challenge
The first financial goal that can benefit everyone is to make a Net Worth Increase Goal. Even if you have no assets and owe loads of money to creditors, every dime you pay back to those creditors means an increase in net worth. Sometime between now and January 1st, calculate your current net worth (assets such as cars, homes, savings vehicles minus liabilities such as loans and credit card debt). Then, pick a percentage amount in which you want to increase your net worth by before the end of 2015. Make the increase percentage reasonable, yet challenging, so that you’re not tempted to simply make minimum payments to debt or savings in order to skimp by.
Find Those Budget Leaks
Nearly every budget has budget leaks. Make a commitment in 2015 to track your spending and find those budget leaks. Then determine how to plug those leaks. Second, look at necessary expenses, and scrutinize them thoroughly to determine if they really are necessary. For instance, can you find cheaper car insurance? Is it possible, with a little more menu planning and discipline, to spend less on groceries? Some budget leaks are obvious, some take a little more detective work to find, but either way, there’s a plug for every single budget leak, provided you’re willing to put the work in to find the leak and commit to the discipline it takes to spend less.
Commit to Spending Less
Every time money comes into your bank account, assess your expenses and see how you can work things to spend as little as possible. You might have a small entertainment fund, for instance, but can you make it even smaller? Or can you commit to only utilizing free forms of entertainment? When looking at buying new clothes, are those clothes a true need, or can you go without and still be just fine. Can you make your favorite restaurant meals at home instead of going out to eat? Sites like the Food Network and similar sites have a large list of restaurant copycat recipes. One of our favorites to make at home? This copycat recipe of Olive Garden’s Alfredo Sauce – it gets rave reviews from family and friends when we serve it.
The take-away for this goal is to work to spend less in every area of life, while still enjoying life.
Even if your financial picture is bright and sunny, you can still use goals like the ones above to paint an even brighter picture, so hop on board this 2015 challenge and see how you might be able to turn your financial goals into financial successes!
What is the main change you’d like to make to your personal finances next year? Can you tell about a time when you set a big goal and achieved it? What is one thing you’re going to work on in order to increase your net worth next year?
Photo courtesy of Mzximvs VdB