'Tis the season for New Year's resolutions!
But first, how did you do with your 2013 resolutions? Oh, you didn't lose weight, exercise more often, spend more time with family and friends, save more money, go to church more often, get organized and become a perfect person? Join the crowd!
Baby Steps for the New Year
Let's keep it simple and take baby steps in 2014:
- Identify one way you know you spend too much money and eliminate it or cut it back. Are you forgetting to use restaurant coupons, clicking on Amazon too frequently, or buying clothes you rarely wear or stuff you rarely use? Pick one bad habit and kick it.
- Increase your 401(k) or retirement plan contribution by 1%. Better yet, increase it by more than that, but make the increase at least 1%. Pledge to do this every year and your retirement goals will become much more achievable.
- Save mother earth and your green cash by doing at least one environmentally friendly thing. Reduce, reuse, recycle. Install a timer thermostat, check the setting on your water heater, or weather strip a door or window. Reduce your driving and let up on the lead foot. Don't let the water run and be prudent with your landscape watering. Take care of your trees and plant a new one. Start a compost pile. Pick one thing and do it.
- Take control of your "daily money management" by exploring technology to simplify it and help you track your spending. Use Quicken or Mint.com to see where your money goes, use your bank's online bill pay to save postage, and automate as many routine transactions as possible. Start using a password management program. Pledge to check and compare your income and expenses once a month.
- Increase your financial peace of mind. Recognize the difference between what you can control and what you cannot control and don't worry about the latter. Concentrate on what you can control: maximize your income and minimize your income taxes and expenses. Have realistic expectations. Take a baby step (or more than one) towards financial peace of mind.
Live a Life of Gratitude
In closing, live a life of gratitude in 2014. No matter how bad or difficult you think things may be, there are many people who are not as fortunate as you. Ironically, in many cases, people who live in poverty are happier than people who live in abundance. They don't have much, but they are thankful for what they have and don't worry about what they don't have.
Keep it simple in 2014, take baby steps, and have a happy New Year!