The year 2012 is upon us, and itís a year
filled with hope, optimism, and opportunities! Many people
started off this year by telling themselves they are going
to do things differently financially ó get out of debt,
increase savings, or achieve some other financial goal. To
make your thoughts and goals happen, you have to take
measurable and sustained action! The good news is that if
you havenít started yet, or you are not pleased with your
progress so far, itís not too late to step up to the plate!
There are two small, but important, steps
that can be taken now, to start having more money in 2012,
and beyond, and can start achieving some of your financial
goals. First, remove every credit card from your wallet.
When you are out and about ó anywhere within one or two
hours of your home ó leave all of your credit cards at home!
Keeping credit cards with you is simply temptation to buy
something you donít need or cannot afford to pay for with
cash. However, if an emergency comes up while you are out,
you are within only two hours of home and friends and family
members are close enough to come and assist you. If you are
concerned about flat tires and other possible car issues,
contact your auto insurance company to see how much it costs
to add roadside assistance to your policy. You may also
want to stop any online credit card purchases. If you know
you lack self-control, freeze your credit cards in a large
container of water. By the time the block of ice around your
cards unthaws, hopefully you will have refocused on the
importance of your financial goals and overcome the
impulsive urge to spend!
The second action to take right now is to
discover exactly where all of your money goes Ė beginning
today! Buy a small notebook and keep it in your pocket
or purse. Every time you spend money, whether itís as
inexpensive as a gumball from a machine or a big expense
such as your rent or mortgage payment, write it down in your
At the end of every week, review all of
your spending and expenses listed in your notebook. First,
you want to identify, and then learn from, any spending
patterns you see. Next, you are looking for opportunities to
make adjustments that will allow you to spend less in the
next week. Examples of what you might find include
spending $5 each day for breakfast on the way to work ó
which adds up to $25 per week and $100 per month. This
adjustment could be as simple as getting up fifteen minutes
earlier to have breakfast at home or make breakfast to take
with you. You might see, in your notebook, money that is
being spent on books and magazines that are available at
your local library for free; or giving your children an
allowance and then spending your money on things they should
buy with their allowance.
When you make adjustments to your
spending, use half of the money you are saving to pay down
your bills or put it toward one of your goals. Put the other
half into a separate savings account so that you build up
your emergency fund or your retirement fund. Itís best to
transfer the money you are saving from your adjustments into
your savings account on a daily or weekly basis. This will
help ensure sure that you donít spend it on something else!
Use the notebook for at least 60 days in
order to track what you spend Ė and you want to get
started today. You can staple a few sheets of paper
together until you get your notebook. Procrastination and
excuses are two negative actions that help keep your wallet
empty! Everyone in your home, ages fifteen and up, should
have their own notebook and should be writing down their
spending! Yes Ė kids need to learn about money long before
they leave home at eighteen years of age!
Go to my website for free resources to
help everyone in your family learn more about money. If you
follow these two simple steps, you will have more money in
Author: Jennifer S. Matthews is a noted author, motivational
speaker, and is trained as a financial coach. She is the
author of the award-winning book 12 Ways to Put
Money in Your Pocket Every Month Without A Part Time Job.
The book shows readers how to create hundreds of dollars in
cash every month from within their existing income. Visit
Jennifer online at
www.MoneySmartBook.com and sign up for her newsletter.
While on the website, you can also purchase her book, take
advantage of free downloads, and much more.