So it’s already February, and I have to ask: how are those New Years’ Resolutions and 2009 goals going? Most people fall off the wagon 6 weeks into the New Year. Don’t let it be you!
Most of us (me included) set goals to get financially AND physically fit this year. It’s not as easy as it seems, is it?! Well, I’m here to be the annoying person who gives you your February “Reality Check” to help you stay on track.
I was scanning my book shelf the other day to gather ideas for this post and came across Jean Chatzky’s book, “Pay it Down,” which I purchased at the peak of my over-spending days. The book is based around the idea that you can get out of debt on $10 a day.
I’m a huge believer that debt and overspending can be traced back to psychological factors and/or personal insecurities. So before we get to the part where we find that $10 per day, I must ask: How did you get into debt in the first place?
For many women, the reason is simple: we needed to fill the gap of what we make and what we need to live. For many others, we had inadequate savings to bail us out of an emergency. Lastly, many women have a spending problem. Although society constantly makes jokes out of shopping too much, i.e. the new movie “Confessions of a Shopaholic,” it is a serious problem for many. Retail Therapy is a topic that deserves its own post, but in the meantime consider if you may be guilty of this “disease.” Regardless of your reason, identify it so you can stop history from repeating itself in your life!
Did you follow my advice and get out ALL of those icky credit card statements at the end of 2008? What did you see? If you haven’t done this yet, you need to. You should know exactly how much debt you have, and how much debt you’d like to end 2009 with. Yes, a number is required here. You aren’t allowed to say “I want to have less debt and more savings” because that is not a clear goal that you can work towards.
Back to finding an extra $10 a day. The obvious answer is to cut lattes and going out to lunch but for many American’s, this isn’t the answer. We like to get out of the office and we have a Starbucks addiction, fair enough. $10 a day is about $300 per month. I took inventory of my own spending habits and wanted to share ways that I found an extra $300 per month to put towards debt or savings:
- Going out. My biggest spending weakness. I’m not at ALL saying don’t go out. Live it up, have fun but just keep an eye on it and maybe limit the # of nights you go to the bars if it’s cutting into your pay check too much.
- Books. I can’t stop buying books on amazon.com! I suppose this is a healthy way to spend money, but I’ll admit sometimes I buy more books before I’ve even started reading books from my last order. Perhaps I should consider going to the library for FREE…
- Gym Membership. Jean Chatzky says that if you use your gym 0-1 times per week, then it may be time to cancel it because you are wasting money. This is a matter of personal values and choice. For me, I can’t imagine life without my gym, but if you aren’t using yours consider cutting it.
- Travel. Don’t go unless you can pay for your ticket in full.
- Hair. Platinum blonde is super expensive.
- Manicures/Pedicures. Do you really need them every week?
You get my drift. In order to reach goals, you will need to identify your weaknesses and hang up’s. I don’t want you to start living like a pauper who wears ugly clothes, has roots and never goes out-gross! I don’t think that is realistic. Find out what you value, and maybe have less of it. If you really can’t part with being blonde, for example, find a way to spend less on being blonde, or better yet find a way to make more money (yes, part time jobs are GREAT!) so that trips to the salon are no longer a burden you need to charge on your credit card.
I’d love to hear more of your ideas on how you can save $10 a day (or $300 per month) because I know there must be a thousand ways to do it. I could use the advice just as much as any other girl could. Please share your thoughts!