Here are some easy ways to make those resolutions and make them stick for the entire year:
• Know your income and outflow. Write it down. It’s called a budget. But you can call it a spending log or money diary, if it makes you feel better.
• Trim some of that outflow. Analyze your bills and credit card statements. What can be cut back? What can be eliminated? Call your cell phone carrier and tell them you are thinking of switching unless they give you a better deal.
• Save some of that inflow. In a safe place. Sew it, freeze it, hide it, but don’t dip into it. Label it as the “Vacation Fund,” the “New Car Fund” or the “Monthly Night Out Fund.”
• Visualize what the inflow can become. Put a photo of Tahiti or a sports car on your refrigerator.
• Tell a friend. Let someone hold you accountable. Ask for a phone call the first day of each month asking if you met your savings goal for the month.
• Find inexpensive replacements for hobbies, entertainment, and luxuries. Make it a game to find ways to enjoy for less. You can have your cake and eat it too. With frosting.
• Put your kids to work. They can earn their allowance. Ask them when they beg for a handout: Do you really need this? Or do you just want this?
• Tame the debt monkey before it climbs on your back. Sign a credit card-use contract with your spouse: You will not use a credit card without prior, specific permission from each other.
• Start small, with a mini-resolution. Save an easy amount the first month. Don’t set yourself up for discouragement. Get a taste of success. Build on it. Start bragging about it. Give yourself a small (inexpensive!)
These ideas are from a new book to help cope with economic hard times: TheSmartestWay™
The authors provide two distinct perspectives, and their stories encourage readers to face their economic situation realistically. They have gathered the best new ideas on how to spend less, save more, and feel good about it, including hundreds of practical suggestions to get quick results to make funds work harder. The book advocates aligning priorities with core values and overcoming psychological blocks to saving.
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Authors Samuel K. Freshman, Esq., and Heidi Clingen have published TheSmartestWay to Save, Why You Can't Hang onto Money and What to Do About It. Freshman is a Stanford University Law School-educated businessman, is chairman of Standard Management Company, which manages more than $400 million of real estate assets and business enterprises. Journalist and editor Heidi Clingen has been on the staff of The Wall Street Journal and Apparel News Group. She holds degrees in journalism, screenwriting, and grant writing. They publish a weekly newspaper column, “Dear Smarties|Living TheSmartestWay.”