Jump Start Your Savings in 2011

December 14, 2010

When the year is about to end, parties often come to mind. There are important issues, though, that are worth considering beyond the festivities. The end of the year is a great time to go through your finances and find just what you need to do and work on for the coming year. When you do, you’ll be better prepared for the upcoming year.

You can save money and pay off debt, even if you make the same amount you made last year. There are usually ways to cut spending, save more money or pay down debt. Sometimes, that requires a serious analysis of the money coming in and the money going out to see how to make changes. Here is some advice to jump start your savings in 2011.

  • Look closely at your money situation. Set up a budget if you haven’t already. See exactly where you’re spending. It’s not just your bills. It’s the cups of coffee before work and the lunches out. You’ll probably be surprised to find the amount of waste in your spending.
  • Take a good, close look at your budget. How much you’re bringing in matters, of course, but so does how much you’re paying out. If you’re spending frivolously, a close look at the money going out will show you where changes need to be made.
  • Cut back. When you’re examining what you’re doing with your money, consider how you can cut back on some of those little things. They might not seem like much, but they really add up. Even a few dollars a day can mean hundreds or thousands of dollars over the course of the year.
  • Use that money for something more important, like savings or paying down debt. Turn wasteful spending into fuel for achieving your financial dreams.
  • Plan carefully for 2011. If you make New Year’s resolutions, at least one of them could be financial. Follow up your goal setting with an action plan, and begin to take action toward the successful financial future you deserve.
  • As you plan, consider all of the issues you’re facing. Are you due for a raise? Is overtime going to be cut? Is there something you need to plan for? Take your life into account as much as you’re able. As you create your 2011 plan for your finances, consider:

  • How much you have in savings and where you’d like to be at year’s end
  • Ways you could reduce your bills to more manageable levels
  • What little expenses you could cut out of your budget
  • What debts you have and how quickly you want to pay them off
  • What kind of fund you’d like to have for unexpected expenses
  • Long-range goals like college, retirement, or a vacation home
  • It might seem a little overwhelming, but it’s really not when you break it down and come up with a plan that you can use long-term. Remember, you don’t have to do everything in one day. A plan is just that – and it’s not designed to be all done at once. It can also be adjusted as your life changes.

    Financial plans are valuable, and sticking to them can help you reach your goals. Be flexible enough to re-think and re-adjust if you need to, though. Make adjustments as necessary until your financial dreams become a reality.

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