Christmas is over, and 2011 is staring us in the face. It’s the time of the year when people are making New Year’s Resolutions. I’m not a big fan of resolutions, as most people tend to fail by the end of January.
I am, however, a big fan of reasonable goals. Goals that are achievable. Goals that are measurable. Goals that are beneficial. If you’re looking for a goal (or two or three) to help you be more frugal in 2011, look no further! Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Eliminate One Debt
If you are in debt, it would be nice to finally pay off what you owe, wouldn’t it? But you’ll never get there without a plan! Set a goal to eliminate one debt this year. Maybe it’s a credit card. Maybe it’s a car loan. Just pick one, and work like crazy until it’s paid off.
If your debts are too big to pay off in one year, pick a number. Say you’ll reduce your student loan debt by $6000 before 2011 is over. Then do it.
Designating one month of the year as a no-spend month is a great way to kick start your savings. Determine to only spend money on groceries, gas, and necessary bills.
For one month, don’t buy anything new. Don’t eat out. Don’t go to the movies. Use the money you save toward something productive like paying off debt or savings.
Save More Money
The problem with saving money is that most people try to save only after they’ve paid the rest of their bills. When they find nothing is left at the end of the month, they save nothing.
Make 2011 the year to pay yourself first. Settle on a percent of your income to save. Ten percent would be great, but even if you can only save one percent of your income, it’s a start. Make a plan to have the money automatically transferred to your savings account before you see it. By the end of the year, you’ll have saved a substantial amount.
Change Your Habits One by One
If you’re trying to begin living more frugally, it can seem overwhelming at first. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. Instead of trying to go “all-frugal” at the beginning of the year, pick a habit to change each month. One month practice living on a budget. Another month make it a point to look at thrift stores and Craigslist before buying anything. Pick one month to practice using less electricity. You’re in charge! In December, you’ll be able to look back at the year and see how much your habits have changed.
No matter what you’d like to change in 2011, make sure your goals are manageable and measurable. Biting off more than you can chew only ensures failure. Make changes a little at a time, and you’re bound to succeed!