As I close the door on 2017 and step into 2018, I want to acknowledge the money that flowed into and out of my life this year.
I’m eternally grateful to G-d for His continued provision and abundance.
And I thank my clients for their trust in my ability to serve and support them.
On the outflow side, my family and I had the regular sorts of expenses like food, housing, education and a much-needed summer vacation.
We wined and dined and went to the opera. We spent joyous, memorable time and money together. And jumped off bridges (yes, that’s me).
And there were unexpected expenses too.
Like the broken food processor, a plumbing job on the balcony, and the unexpected expenses cost of our daughter’s wedding dress.
Because life is kind of like that.
There are always things we can’t anticipate.
What enabled us to enjoy a family celebration, go on vacation, and not panic when the unexpected happened?
Money that was consciously earned and saved over the course of weeks and years.
Because Savings helps us cover the expected and the unexpected.
Savings facilitates dreams, enhances possibilities, and enables choice.
As I take stock of our money flow in 2017, I know that way too many people are living in the here and now. Enjoying immediate pleasures. Disconnected from the consequences of empty retirement plans and oppressive interest rates on credit card debt and overdraft.
They’re not thinking about financial freedom and independence.
Or maybe they know they should be thinking about the future but they’re not quite sure what to do about it or where to start.
Even smart, intelligent people can be scared or intimidated by financial planning and investing.
Or perhaps they’ve made money mistakes in the past and they hesitate to take control of their finances because they don’t want to get burned again.
Whatever the reason, I’m letting you know that 2018 can be your year to show yourself and your money some love, kindness and respect.
If you’re ready and willing to take action.
If you know that 2018 is the year to give your money leadership and direction…
If you know that 2018 is your year to be part of the 8 percent…
Here are FIVE immediate action steps you can take:
5 Ways to Save Money in 2018
1. Set Specific, Measurable Goals and Write Them Down.
Written goals force you to think clearly about exactly what you want.
The physical act of writing makes your goals concrete and real.
Written goals also give you a yard stick against which you can measure other opportunities that pop up into your life. Do they bring you closer to achieving your dreams? Or do they pull your further away?
Post your goals in a prominent place for continuous and frequent reminders. Set a daily reminder on your phone.
2. Create an Action Plan.
Break down your goals into the individual steps you need to take to keep you moving in the right direction.
Small actionable steps are especially important for the large and daunting things we want to achieve.
Knowing your next steps makes it more likely that you’ll take them.
3. Vision and visualize your goals. Some goals, like pay off credit card debt, are clear and specific. You know how much you need to pay off.
Saving for the down payment on a house, on the other hand, can be fuzzy. You can fiddle with the size of house, number of rooms, and neighborhood to find a home the fits your budget.
Very long-term goals, like Save for Retirement, can be super vague. They’re far in the future with so many unknowns.
It just doesn’t matter. Start where you are.
Spend 15 minutes sitting quietly and visioning what your future looks like. The house, the size of the lot and the neighborhood.
Have fun with this exercise and go into detail.
For retirement planning, think about babysitting your grandkids, playing with Lego and baking cookies. Maybe you prefer traveling and volunteering? Or all of the above?
Write down what you want your future to look like.
Even though your vision may shift many times over the years, having a vision today gives you focus and direction for your attention, energy and money right now.
BONUS: Create a vision board to help you ground your future in the present. In real life. And put it somewhere where you’ll see it every day.
Related Post:7 Steps to Transforming Your Money in the New Year
4. Develop strong habits. If you’re already saving regularly, fantastic. Do you know if your savings are sufficient to meet your immediate and future needs? Can they cover you in an emergency? Or enable you to take a spur of the moment holiday?
If not, what positive steps do you need to take to feel confident that your money can support you beautifully? Who do you need to speak with to help you run the numbers?
If you don’t have a firmly established saving habit, it’s time to start. Now. Even if you’re in debt. Because if you have nothing in Savings, then the next time you get a flat tire or need to repair the air conditioning you’re going to have to rely on your debt.
And you’ll end up right back where you started.
So start with something small, like 10 dollars a week. Just get the savings habit going.
Related Post: 7 Reasons You’re Not Saving Enough
5. Download my free Savings Challenge Worksheet. This worksheet is designed to help you track your savings and achieve specific goals in the next six months. Post your worksheet in a prominent place where you’ll see it every day and maintain the enthusiasm you need to keep on.
So there you have it, friends. A plan for 2018.
5 ways you can be part of the 8 percent.
5 ways to be more intentional and responsible with your finances.
5 ways to save money in 2018.
I’m sending you dear blessings for prosperity, wisdom and health this year.