Turning Resolutions Into Reality in Five Steps

by Kelly · 6 comments

in Living Frugally

lookIt’s the season of resolutions and goals; as you can surely tell. A new year, a new start- I know that I for one am always full of good intentions at the beginning of the year… the trick is sustaining them! Some people prefer to talk about goals, but to me a resolution is a goal and a goal is a resolution. They both embody the desire to change something in your life.

I asked for your financial resolutions for 2009 for a reason, not just so you’d have something to write in the comments to enter the contest. And you came up with some fantastic ones! Paying off a credit card (maybe your last one), saving money for a house, putting away $1000 a month, bulking up the emergency fund.

How will you transform your idea into reality? Here’s what works for me.

Step One. Make a concrete goal (or two). I want to save €1500 this year: €1000 in my emergency fund and €500 towards my retirement. I also pledged not to take on any new debt in 2009. Saying that you want to save money, or make more money, or live more frugally is not going to help- you have to be specific.

Step Two. Make the goal attainable. If my goal is too ambitious, I am only setting myself up for failure. This is why gyms are full of people at the beginning of January and back to their regular attendance by mid-March. €1500 in a year is equal to €125 per month, or, even better, €4.11 per day. I do believe that I will be able to meet this goal- that’s why I made the resolution.

Not taking on new debt in 2009 will be more difficult, as I’m only earning about half my previous salary (already not an extravagant amount) while I’m in school. We are really going to have to cut back on our spending, mostly in the eating out and extra spending areas of our budget. (I’ll be talking next week of how I plan to cut back spending and increase savings at the same time.)

lightningStep Three. Make the goal exciting, and worthwhile. Are you really enthusiastic about saving money, or are you just resolving to do so because that’s what you’re supposed to say on January 1st? My resolution last year was to get my finances under control; I started this blog to help me along the way. Almost Frugal has helped me meet my resolution and I’ve learned so much along the way. I’ve kept my resolution because I was excited about the work I was doing and I felt it was a good use of my time.

Step Four. Make a plan. Take little steps. As I said above, €1500 is only €125 a month. I’ll be talking more next week about how I plan to put this money aside every month, but suffice it to say that I have a plan!

Step Five. Give reasons. Of course I would like to be able to spend money whenever I want, on whatever I want. I would like to update my work wardrobe. I want to go out to eat, and often. But I want to have financial security more than I want to do any of the above; the first step in reaching that larger goal is to build my emergency fund. I also feel that it is more important for me to build my emergency fund than to pay extra on my debt. This is both for the psychological comfort zone of having a basic emergency fund in place in case and the fact that most of my loans are on automatic repayment status and it is therefore difficult to pay extra.

You’ve talked about your financial resolutions for 2009, now share how you plan to meet them! What’s your plan?


1 Nicki at Domestic Cents January 7, 2009

We have several smaller goals that will be achieved with automatic transfers to our ING account. I really like to set smaller benchmarks for larger goals because they make me feel like I’m making progress, not like I’ve failed unless I reach the ultimate goal.

Nicki at Domestic Cents´s last blog post..The Timeless Art Of Sewing

2 Vintage Mommy January 7, 2009

How about Step Six: Do Your Homework!

I realized after setting my goal of living on just my husband’s income that I hadn’t done the math to figure out if we can actually do that! I got carried away . . . but we absolutely can save a consistent amount of my salary every month and once I figure out how much that will be, I’ll have my attainable goal.

Vintage Mommy´s last blog post..A Big Milestone and a Small Milestone

3 Vintage Mommy January 7, 2009

Thanks for the pingback – just found it 🙂

Vintage Mommy´s last blog post..A Big Milestone and a Small Milestone

4 Courtney January 7, 2009

Really great tips (and thinks for the link!). I think, for me, Step Five is the most difficult and the most important. If I’m not constantly reminding myself why I’m doing what I’m doing I can very easily slip back into old habits. Change isn’t easy, but by putting all your ideas into practice hopefully it can become less hard.

Courtney´s last blog post..Go ahead and make your resolutions, just don’t annoy anyone with them

5 Eponine January 7, 2009

I think I should be making an extra $100/month (more or less), because I don’t believe the school district has been paying me my master’s degree bonus. So I’m going to talk to someone in payroll about that this week. (I like the idea of getting more money for doing exactly what I’ve already been doing!) I’m also going to try working for at least part of the summer this year, either by doing translations at home, teaching a class at a community college, or just getting a regular ol’ job. Between those two things, I should be able to finally pay off my credit cards and (hopefully) save enough money to take a great vacation without having to go into debt.

Eponine´s last blog post..First Day Back

6 Jerry January 9, 2009

This is a great post for the new year. Resolutions often lead to frustration for many folks but if you follow the tips you outlined it will make your goals more easy to reach. During these uncertain times, we all look for some insurance for our future. We all need to just relax and follow through on our plans.

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