As of this week I’ve been budgeting and blogging for one year. Though I’m still relatively new to both activities (at least compared to some, like John), I finally feel like I’m getting the hang of them. 🙂
Unfortunately, I got nowhere close to my financial goals in 2014. I set some pretty lofty goals and I had no idea what to expect for my first year of budgeting and tracking my spending. Fortunately, we all get to wipe our slates clean for the New Year and I’m bound and determined to make 2015 more successful than 2014 was. Here are three ways I’m getting financially serious about improving my position in 2015.
Track, Track and Track Some More
As I mentioned, I started budgeting and tracking my spending just before the beginning of 2014. Since then I’ve faithfully put together a new budget for each month of the year and tracked most of my spending relative to the categories I set up.
One thing I didn’t do very well with was tracking how I used my “extra” income from my part-time job, online side hustles, etc. For 2015, my budget will most likely look a little more complex, but in reality it will be a lot easier for me to track how I spend ALL of my income, not just the money I get from my full-time job. By tracking how I use the money from all my income sources, I’ll be able to find my budget leaks more effectively and plug them.
Re-Evaluate Goals As Needed
I’ve always been a fan of having goals, but I’ve always looked at them as being static. Instead of having goals set in stone, I want to use my tracking system to re-evaluate my goals throughout the year. I think it will be more motivating to know that I can adjust my goals up or down as needed to make me more successful. This doesn’t mean I will be slacking off and lowering my goals all the time. Instead, I’m hoping to set realistic goals at the beginning and shoot for the stars with my efforts. If this works properly, hopefully I’ll actually have to increase my goals throughout the year.
Leave Plastic at Home
At the end of 2013 I took all the plastic out of my wallet except for my debit card and a single credit card “just in case”. Since then, I’ve been irresponsible with my one credit card, using it when it wasn’t really necessary just because I had it readily available. In 2015 I will no longer be carrying my credit card at all. If I ever feel the need to carry it (on a trip or something) I will seek guidance from my readers and supporters first. I think by only carrying cash and my debit card I will be less tempted by things I don’t truly need or haven’t budgeted for.
I’m going to make 2015 my most financially successful year so far by following these three self-imposed guidelines. I can’t wait to report back to you at the end of the year about how they turned out for me!
What are you doing to get serious about your finances in 2015? How often do you re-assess your goals? Do you carry solely cash, a credit card or both?
Photo courtesy of: NapInterrupted