Have you ever made the New Year's resolution that this is the year that you are going to start taking control of your money and really accomplish your goals?
Is 2022 gonna be the year where you have a huge financial transformation?
It could be...
Here are some ways that you might have unintentionally stopped yourself from being successful in the past and how you can course correct for the future!
1. Making your budget the same every month and not making it dynamic:
Every month comes with it's own expenses and events. Each month you have to plan and predict what exciting events will be taking place and plan around those events and how you are going to pay for them.
For example, Christmas has a lot of expenses compared to January when everyone is cutting back on things and when you have less take home money in your paycheque because the government starts taking off EI and CPP again (if you maxed out during the previous year).
Are there school fees to be paid, extra curricular activities, birthdays or end of year teacher gifts from your kids?
Look at the calendar for the whole month and see what activities are coming up. It's amazing what you will discover and how full your calendar really is! Then add those activities and corresponding expenses into your budget for the month. I love using the Cozi Calendar to plan my life, check out how to utilize the Cozi app for free.
2. Not paying attention to your spending habits or patterns and making adjustments
Be aware and track your impulse spending!
Pay attention to emotional triggers such as stressful weeks at work leading to "retail therapy." Then, after being aware of those emotional triggers or patterns, consciously deciding whether those are important items that you value and want to continue spending money on, or are those spending habits controlling you.
Who is in control? Your emotions or you?
Make a budget category for impulse spending or habits, so that you have freedom within the budget to make those purchases and still achieve your financial goals.
3. Not Starting with the End in Mind or not having a goal?
Honestly, if you have no goal for your money and what you want to do with it, then budgeting is pretty much useless. You always have to have a why in order to reach your goals. Even if your goal, is to stay out of debt, that is reason enough. Otherwise, without a budget, you will likely go into debt just like the average person. If you are wealthy enough to "out-earn" your spending, than count yourself lucky, because you are likely part of the elite wealthy, 5-10% of the world's population.
What kind of significant impact could I be making in the world, if I was more intentional with my spending?
Is there a cause or charity that you are really passionate about and could be allocating more of your funds towards? You never know what the results of your generosity will be!
4. Not having a proper tracking system for your budget that works best for you.
Find an automated budget system via either an app or a spreadsheet or envelope system. Our memories are horrible including my own. That's why I love using Mint and it automatically updates me on any transactions including unusual fees. I hate paying fees! Especially those pesky re-occurring fees for subscriptions that you thought you cancelled. Without an automated system that updates you on all of your transactions, you might spend hundreds of dollars on fees that you didn't know about. It's amazing how much we miss by just doing a rough estimate of how much we think we spend versus the reality of our actual spending.
What method is going to work best for me? Not what method works best for my friend.
Take the time to set up a good system that works well for you and it doesn't have to be pricey. The Mint app is free!
5. Not paying your future self first
Make sure that once you have your goal, that you break down the timeline of how much you need to save each month, in order to reach your target amount by your target date. That way you can categorize your spending categories in your budget around your fixed expenses and then around your goal and then lastly the extras.
For example: if your goal total income for the month is $3500 and reaching your goal requires setting aside $500/month towards your goal and your fixed expenses are $2500 of your total, then you only have $500 left towards fun things and extra.
Rather than the reverse where you set aside money towards fun things first and then maybe only have $50 left over towards your goal.
It will take you a lot longer to reach your goal and likely you will lose momentum and maybe even give up the dream of your goal altogether.
Again, what is the why of your goal and what do you value most? Is it mindless fun and frivolous events or actually achieving your goals?
Start with your fixed expenses and goal first, then add in the fun extras!
Now Go and Be Intentional with your Budget!