Too many times, I think we treat our financial decisions like we treat our new year’s resolutions. We might make a half-hearted attempt at “doing things right” financially, only to fall off the wagon weeks or months into the process. The problem is, our resolutions are too lofty and too ambiguous to be lived out. It’s like saying, “I am going to lose weight.” And yet, that statement in itself does very little to help us actually lose weight. We need a plan. We have to turn our resolutions into real solutions. Here is a list of ideas on how to do that where your money is concerned:
Resolution: I am not going to go into credit card debt anymore.
Real Solution: I am going to cut up my credit cards and cancel my accounts so I cannot make charges.
Resolution: I am going to be a better steward of my money.
Real Solution: I am going to be accountable to someone and pray before spending money.
Resolution: I am not going to make impulse purchases.
Real Solution: I am going to wait at least three days to make all purchases. If I still want the item after that time, then I will go back.
Resolution: I am going to spend less money somehow.
Real Solution: I am going to commit to looking for used items before buying the same thing new. I am also going to cut coupons and only buy things on sale. I am going to pray for God to provide all my needs—even if it means waiting longer to buy something I really want.
Resolution: I am going to manage my money better.
Real Solution: I am going to take a class at my church or read a book that will help me learn how to manage my money.
Resolution: I am going to save money.
Real Solution: I am going to start a savings account for a certain amount of money per month through my bank or employer.
Resolution: I am going to keep track of my spending.
Real Solution: I am going to create a budget with expense categories to help me see where my money is going.
Resolution: I am going to stop wasting money.
Real Solution: I am going to assess my spending habits and cut out those things that aren’t necessary or don’t line up with my priorities.
Resolution: I am going to talk to my spouse about money.
Real Solution: I am going to set up a weekly time to go over our calendars and any upcoming expenses. We can also discuss our budget and take a look at our account at that time if needed.
Resolution: I am going to be debt free.
Real Solution: I will make an appointment with a financial counselor or read a book to help me map out a plan for getting out of debt.
Have you made financial resolutions this year about being a better steward, getting out of debt, or being more intentional with your money? Spend some time this month determining how to transform your resolutions into real solutions, then find someone to hold you accountable to follow through with the parameters you have set for yourself.
©2009, Marybeth Whalen