Some people can be motivated by a huge project, but for most of us, we need small goals to achieve. Little milestones that you can concentrate on that will eventually get you to your ultimate goal of financial health. If you are one of those people, let’s take a quick look at some simple goals that you can set and ways that you can achieve them.
1. Zero Out One Credit Card
Instead of trying to think about all of your credit cards as a whole, look at one card and try to pay it down first. You might be 20,000 dollars in debt with credit cards but you can make things easy by concentrating on one individual card. Take your lowest balance card and start with it.
Doing this is actually a well known system called debt snowballing. The theory is that you take all of your cards and pay just the minimum. You then take your lowest balance card and pay as much as you can on it. This gives you a goal that is easier to reach than total debt elimination. It can help you stay motivated through the whole process. Once you have one card paid off, switch to the next lowest balance and so on and so on.
2. 30 Days Of Not Dining Out
Your food budget is a huge drag on your pocketbook, especially if you dine out a lot. Those trips to get fast food every day at work might not seem like much but they can add up in a hurry, as can diners out. Take the challenge of not dining out for 30 days and you will benefit in an number of ways.
First, you will obviously save a lot of money that you can put towards debt or savings. You could save an easy $200 now, in just a month by bringing your lunches to work and skipping the fast food or sit down restaurants. If you frequently eat dinner out, you can save even more, especially if you enjoy a cocktail, wine or beer with your meal.
Next, you will see the health benefits of not dining out. When you cook food at home, it will generally be much healthier, especially if you are replacing greasy burgers with grilled chicken breasts. Making your own meals can make you feel better, give you more energy and could help you lose a little weight as well.
Finally, if you complete this 30 day challenge, it can serve as a reset. You might go back to dining out a bit but you also might find that you do so less often. Once you feel and see the benefits of prepping your own healthy meals, you may just wish to do it more often.
3. Trim $100 Off Your Monthly Budget
Cutting a budget down to the bare minimum is tough but if you make small budget cutting goals, it is easily manageable.
If you do not have a budget, now is the time to get one. Take a few minutes and list all of your bills and your allotments for food, entertainment, etc. Now, take a look at where you can make cuts, $100 should be easy to do.
One great area to look at is car insurance. If you have not audited your policy in more than a year, it is a great time to do so. If you can reduce your annual premium by just $200 a year, that is almost $20 a month.
Another great place to save big every month is on your cable or satellite, if you still have it. The best idea is to completely eliminate the service and switch to streaming your entertainment with Hulu or Netflix. That would save you $100 a month, instantly allowing you to reach your goal. If you are not ready to cut the cord yet, you can still save by calling your service company or starting up an online chat session. Say you are considering dropping your service due to the cost. You might be surprised at the savings that come your way.
Besides the above items, there are a lot of ways to trim the fat on a budget. Start taking your lunch to work once a week, switch to a cheaper cell phone plan, etc, etc. Everyone’s budget is a bit different but you should still be able to find a way to cut just $100.
4. Give Up One Money Waster
We all buy things that are a total waist of money and it seems harmless but the damage caused is very measurable when you add them up altogether. That being said, it can be tough to cut out all of these tiny financial splurges all at once. Why not try one.
Stop getting that morning cup of coffee out and brew your own. Give up soda when dining out. Switch from matinee movies on the weekend to a dollar theater.
All of these things are minor expenses but when you consider the cost over the course of a month or even a year, it is substantial. That daily cup of coffee alone can be over 1000 dollars a year. That is money that could be used to boost your savings or pay off debt.
I am sure that you have hear the expression, “the longest journey start with a single step.” It is absolutely true, you have to start somewhere, so why not focus on one single step at time. Complete one simple money goal now, then another and then another. Before you now it, your journey will be done and you can say goodbye to bad credit and high debt. Your solid financial future is just a few steps away.