Balancing your financial goals, wants and needs isn't easy. There always seems to be something else popping up, keeping you from setting aside the money you intended to save at the beginning of the month. If you're trying to reach a money milestone - like saving up $10,000, for instance - here are some strategies that can help.
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If there’s one truism when it comes to your money, it’d be not to let your emotions get the best of you: You don’t want to sell when the market’s tanking, splurge on something you can’t afford when you’re in a bad mood, or continually give money to a loved one with no strings attached.
But giving into your emotions can actually be a boon to your finances in the right circumstances. Here’s why.
I'm very good at wanting to buy things. I want to buy a new sound system, for example. This would mean ripping five speakers out of my walls, patching up the holes, and buying a $900 soundbar. My wife points out that the current system works well, and asked me why I want to replace it. And I had to admit why: I have to control the sound system with a second remote, which I hate. My wife pointed out that solving this is not worth $900 and a weekend project. So instead I'm buying a $60 universal remote. This is a better way to reach my real goal, which is feeling in control of my gadgets.
Actors have a saying: You don't get 100 per cent of the parts you don't audition for. If you're an artistic type, or a writerly type, or even just someone who's looking for a job, you may have found rejections to be so painful that you've just stopped applying for things. Social media and streaming TV is so soothing - why would you put yourself out there for stuff you aren't going to get anyway?
Do you feel as though your social life is out of control? Maybe you (or your kids) have events every evening, when all you want to do is spend a quiet night at home. Maybe you feel like you're spending too much time "touching base" and "picking brains" with people you aren't close to, and not enough time with your friends. Maybe your in-laws want you to spend every Sunday having dinner with them, and you... don't.
Buddying up can help you reach your fitness resolutions - or whatever goal you happen to be chasing. But you don't have to work out together to help each other (couples, breathe a sigh of relief).
Just as important as setting New Year's resolutions is figuring out how we reach them, and not getting so bogged down in work that we forget to take care of ourselves. On the podcast Call Your Girlfriend, hosted by the journalist Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow, co-founder of Tech Lady Mafia, human rights technologist Sabrina Hersi Issa advises scheduling a Personal Inventory Day each month as a way to regularly take stock of where your time is going.
New Year's resolutions are usually centred around a big aspirational goal: I'll work out every day, I'll write a book, I'll never eat junk food. But most of us fail at our resolutions. One problem is that we're setting our goals too high. If you want to reach a huge goal, first you have to set a small one.
From across the coffee shop, I noticed a gentleman walking in with a computer. Not a laptop, mind you. With both hands, he carried a full-on desktop, monitor and console included. Surely he's not ... I thought to myself -- but I was wrong. He plopped the machinery down on a table, plugged in, and ordered his coffee while the rest of us looked on in horror.
January 1, 2018 is no different than December 31, 2017. You probably woke up with big plans to "really make some changes this year," but you know what? It's not going to work. Why? Because you've already decided that waiting until the new year to become the new and improved you is the right course of action.