Resolving to Save Money
By Shannon M. Medisky
Ah, a new year, and another chance to set new goals including those of the financial sort. I have spent the final few months of 2009 crafting and creating a financial program for 2010, and now I’m excited to share it with you. This 12-step financial program does not promise overnight success, but it will promise more financial breathing room as well as better control of all your current assets. And who says you can’t get something for free? After all, saving money shouldn’t cost you money. In addition to the entire 12-step financial program appearing here for free, I will also provide links to free, downloadable worksheets, guides and tools for you to print and use on your quest to discover and recover your hidden abundance. So, grab a binder or a folder (to store all your upcoming freebies), muster up all your motivation and keep reading for the first step in the series:
Do No Financial Harm
Have you ever noticed that if you squint at fine print, it all blends together into a fuzzy shade of gray? If that’s not a warning sign, I don’t know what is. If there has to be that many disclaimers and “extras,” then it’s certainly worth a second and maybe even a third look.
Admittedly, things in life aren’t always clear-cut, black or white, but when it comes to your finances, they should be. Either you have the money to afford a purchase or you don’t. A purchase is either a “need” or a “want.” As much as it may be tempting to blur those lines and feign ignorance, it only comes back to bite you where it will hurt-your bottom line!
That brings us to the first step in the 12-step program to discovering your financial abundance: First do no (financial) harm. Most decisions – financial and otherwise – that later come back to haunt us, and worse, harm us are snap decisions made on the spur of or heat of the moment. It only makes good sense to protect your resources by resolving to first, do no harm. Keep reading to find out ways to avoid just that.
Whether you’re married or single, avoid making a major financial decision without the input of someone you trust. Two heads are almost always better than one and 2 pairs of eyes reading over that patch of fine print can help avoid major problems down the road. Asking for input and opinions is not a sign of weakness. Quite the contrary, it’s a sign of someone who’s smart enough to seek wise counsel, including when that means paying a professional a consulting fee for their expertise.
Be defensive when it comes to forking over your cash. You work hard for your money, so work just as hard to keep as much of it as possible. This includes protecting it. If you consistently make purchases online, make sure you do so using a Visa or Mastercard that offers online fraud protection. If you opt for a credit card that additionally offers a reward, loyalty or points program, make sure it’s not costing you more money in the long run in the form of higher interest rates or yearly fees.
Budget for your necessary expenses and create a set allowance for what you want. All work and no play may make Jack and Jill a dull boy and girl, but strip them of the niceties in life and they’ll be very bored, too! Forget telling yourself “No!” and instead tell yourself “Yes, but in time.” Find balance and avoid financial frustration by affording your needs upfront and then figuring out how to purchase the items you want in the future either by saving up or selling things you no longer need. Just because you may not be able to afford something now does not mean that will always be the case. Whatever you do, avoid the temptation of charging non-necessities to a credit card to pay off later. If you’ll eventually have the money later, just wait until then to make the purchase entirely. You’ll end up saving yourself money and you’ll, first, do no financial harm.
Photo credit: Matt McGee
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