How to Set Yourself Money Goals for 2017

Whether we love it or hate it, money is a necessity and the better we manage it the better we find life to be.

Setting money goals is no different to setting other goals say around losing weight, starting to exercise and eat healthier or getting a new job for example, but because we generally tend to think about money differently, we don’t always achieve our money goals. Often the thoughts we have around money affect how we behave with it – why otherwise do some people have lots of it and others don’t. Although you could say it is about how much you earn, what you do with it once you have it is what’s important – so what this means is that it wouldn’t matter how much you had if you always end up with none…it might take you longer but you would still end up in the same situation.

We have to change how we think about money before we can change how we manage it.

Setting one or two goals is better than setting lots. So although you might have lots of things you want when it comes to money, setting a couple of goals means you are more likely to achieve them than setting yourself lots and becoming overwhelmed.

Start Small!

Start small – if you haven’t been great with money in the past that doesn’t mean you can start now – and pat yourself on the back for wanting to start now and set yourself some money goals for 2017!

Like anything things start to snowball, so when you have achieved your first small money goal you will have lots of confidence to move on and set more goals. Taking actions in smaller steps are also easier to deal with – that’s why people always learn easier in smaller chunks too! We can deal with small steps but when we have much larger ones it becomes overwhelming and we can easily talk ourselves out of it.

Which Money Goals to Set

Everyone’s money goals will be different but a good goal to start with would be setting a budget. This will help you manage your money from the start and pave the way to being able to have spare money too. Really setting a budget is about looking at the income you have coming in and the expenses you have going out – just simple maths really of your Income minus your Expenditure leaving what you have left to spend or save. As well as working out what you have left, doing this exercise will also give you an opportunity to look at where your money is going. Are you in a lot of debt, do you pay money out on things that perhaps you don’t need. Setting a budget is all about this and so spending some quality time working on this is a great goal to set. The idea of a goal is really having the intention – which is truly just the commitment to wanting to make it happen and then taking the action steps to achieve it. What’s also important is setting a time limit on it, so you work towards it. Otherwise you might just keep putting it off. Writing it down also makes it seem more real and there is something more real about putting pen to paper so get yourself a little notebook or something to jot your goals and actions down in. Doesn’t need to be anything fancy, just something you write any notes or thoughts around your goals in. So our first goal might look something like this:

GOAL #1 – WORK OUT A BUDGET

Timescale – 1 month, by February 11th 2017

Actions

  1. Read through the Money Advice Service Budget Planner Guide (there is actually one here)
  2. Decide where I can make changes to the things I pay out for so that I have more money left each month
  3. Work out how much money I owe.

There may be other actions you have too but the goal is simply to achieve a budget – so you know how much you have coming in, what is going out and to where and how much you have left. You could then move on to your next goal which might be to make a plan for paying off your debt. If you have a lot of debt that might take some time – it doesn’t matter how long it takes, the fact that you are working towards it means you will achieve it. Don’t forget, you don’t have to do this alone. There are lots of organisations out there who can offer free advice and help you with paying off debt. Work out your debt in the same way that you worked out the budget by putting the overall goal, which would be to create a ‘Paying off  Debt’ and then list the actions you need to take to do that. You can also set timescales for each action. So using our example of working out a budget, you might set yourself an action step each week.

Something else that really works and this is used by people  who manage army operations so it definitely works, is to work backwards. So if your goal is to  pay off your debt you start with that goal as your end result and then work backwards. So think to yourself it is February 2018 (or when you would like that goal to be achieved by) and I have paid off my debt and then work backwards taking all the action steps you would need to take to get there – you then have a list of things to do that lead you back to now….

Remember the Hare and the Tortoise

You might have read the Aesops Fable story about the Hare and Tortoise – racing off doesn’t always mean you will finish first and in that story the tortoise won the race by plodding along. The point here is to keep moving – take small steps towards your goal but keep going forwards and you will achieve it. Once you have achieved one goal it makes it much easier to achieve another and another and before you realise it you will be one of those people that others look at and say, he/she is great at managing their money, I wish I could be like that. You have everything you need right now to start managing your money better – set the intention (the goal), write down the actions (the steps) and start taking them!

Good luck and we hope that 2017 brings lots of good things for you around money and managing it better!

Categories: BLOG.

10 Ways You Are Wasting Money Without Knowing It

One of the ways to help manage your money better is to start tracking your spending. If you do this over the period of a month you might be surprised at where your money is actually going! For some people it might seem obvious. For example, you may think you spend most of your money on groceries and food or petrol and travelling. It is a very useful and worthwhile exercise because it allows you to see what you spend your money on, where you can save and then work towards managing your money better.

There are many things we spend money on that we don’t perhaps even give much thought to. Here’s 10 ways you’re wasting money without knowing it:

 

1. Designer Drinks

Although it is lovely to grab a cup of tea or coffee while you are out, drinks from Costa or Starbucks are expensive and buying them regularly means the cost is soon mounting up. Limit these to just a treat or get yourself a coffee mug and make your own to take with you!

 

2. Buying Sale or Promotional Items

Sales always seem to tempt us into buying things we really don’t need. We see the SALE sign and we must go in to look. Did we really need that pair of shoes, or that jacket? Probably not and we wouldn’t have bought it had we not seen the SALE sign. Similarly, ever been in the supermarket and noticed the buy two get the third free promotion? Same thing. We end up buying far more than we need or items that we never intended to buy in the first place. General rule of thumb could be that if you need something, then go find a SALE or promotion, but don’t be tempted in by them!

 

3. Credit Card Interest

The best way to manage a credit card is to purchase items on it and then pay it off each month. If you are living month to month paying minimum amounts on your credit card then firstly, you are living beyond your means and secondly, you are paying a ridiculous amount of interest! We understand it can be hard. Credit cards give you things you cannot afford otherwise, but that’s the lure! It is easy to spend the money, but can be difficult to pay it back. With the interest it becomes a money trap and you are simply wasting your money. If you do have credit card debt, try a balance transfer which can give you 0% interest if you pay it off within usually 6 months. Otherwise you could try debt consolidation to save yourself money each month.

 

4. Apps & Monthly Subscriptions

Free apps are brilliant but have you ever downloaded that app you love only to realise after 7 days that you have to pay a subscription? It may only be £5.99 a month after the free trial but when you have several of them going a month it soon mounts up and before you know it, you’re wasting a sizeable amount of money every month on your app subscriptions. Advertisers are clever and have got much cleverer about ways to hook you into paying monthly. There are some subscriptions where you can pay yearly and save quite a bit in doing so, but many ask you for the monthly payment. This isn’t just limited to apps on your phone either. Popular movie sites like Amazon Prime or Netflix have small monthly subscription charges that again seem manageable. Add them to your others though and they have mounted up. If you do have a few of these, ask yourself if you really need them, or maybe you could alternate between them.

 

5. Mobile Phone Plan

Mobile phones are too expensive for most people to buy outright. Plans help you get the latest phone and give you minutes, data and text. All that, however, comes at a price. The more you want, the more you’ll pay. If you are locked into a contract, there is little you can do to get out of it, unless you are going to pay off the remaining contract fees. The next time you are due to renew however, spend some time going over your previous year usage. If you don’t use the amount of data, texts or calls you are paying for then opt for a cheaper plan and save yourself some money!

 

6. Lunch

It’s lovely going out to eat but if you do this often, you’ll find that you are spending much more than you realise. Rather than buying sandwiches or lunch out, take the time to get the food in and make them at home. Be creative and spend a bit of time researching what you could make yourself for lunch. You’ll probably enjoy it much more too! Here’s some ideas http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/healthy-lunch

 

7. Expired Food

You are literally throwing your money away if you end up emptying your fridge of gone off food at the end of the week or throwing out expired food. Don’t overbuy at the grocery store. By planning your meals you can ensure you have everything you need without wasting. Good to Know has some great ideas for planning meals. http://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/recipes/meal-planner

 

8. Unplug Your Electronics

It might only seem like a small thing but it all adds up. Rather than keeping every electronic device in your house powered up, turn it off. Switch off the plugs too! You will be surprised at how much difference this makes to your annual energy bill. I didn’t realise either what a hum all that electricity makes, keeping the motors and fans whirring in those devices when switched on. When everything is switched off you will also enjoy the silence.

 

9. Shop Smarter

We are all too familiar with the price differences in supermarkets. Local stores or corner shops are even more expensive. Do some shopping around! Literally. Take the time to try a few different supermarkets to see which give you the best value for money. You can also look online at the comparisons available for these, but often the best way is just to shop yourself and see. Discounted stores like Aldi often have brand names too, so it isn’t just a case of having to go to larger supermarket chains for these either.

 

10. Finally…

…remember, this is about cutting back to save you money in the long run so that you have more money for the things you really want. Start considering your finances more seriously. What do you want in your life in the long term? How about the short term? Do you have savings? There are many things to consider when looking to improve your financial wellbeing. By starting out by cutting back where you can you will manage your money better and over time become a better saver.

 

 

Categories: BLOG.