At the end of each year when the clock strikes midnight, all of us hope that the next year will be better than the last. We make resolutions in order to help ourselves achieve our goal of making this year the best yet. Typical resolutions are usually geared toward weight loss, going to the gym, flossing regularly, improving their relationships, travel more and starting a new with the year. While those resolutions are important, your number one resolution should be to improve your personal finances.
First you should look back to 2011 and evaluate your finances. Look to what went right for you financially this year and what went wrong. Did you overspend and accumulate credit card debt, did you pay bills late, did you save money this year, and did you contribute or set up a retirement savings plan? Hopefully, when you are looking back at 2011 you made more positive personal finance choices than negative ones. We here at onesmartdollar.com hope that throughout this year you have been following some of the finance tips we have given you, so that you can continue to work on and improve your finances in 2012.
If you have made some financial mistakes in 2011, now is the time to work on fixing them. Procrastination is not your friend when it comes to money. If you are late on bills or accumulated some credit card debt, the amount you owe will only increase as the months go by. You need to address these mistakes and contact the companies you owe money to and try to work out a payment plan in order to help fix the problem. Pay down your debt this year and try to eliminate some of the burden of the future. Work to pay your bills on time to avoid late fees. Try to think differently about your personal finances this year and make smart and productive choices for your future.
This year, try to spend and shop smarter. We here at onesmartdollar.com have presented you with numerous articles about impulse spending, emotions and personal finance as well as extreme couponing. You may be still able to buy the things you want and need if you shop smarter. Before making purchases, make sure you shop around in order to get the best price for the item. Be sure to look at store advertisement flyers, online sales and for coupons. That shirt you have been wanting may be on sale at one store and by shopping around you may be able to find a great deal. Use coupons at the grocery store each year. Even if you are only using a few coupons for each trip to the grocery store, you are still saving money. This year it may help your personal finances to purchase many of your items when they are on sale, and will get you into a habit of not always paying full price.
One of my personal finance resolutions is to stick to my budget. As I have previously blogged about, one of my favorite sites for budgeting is Mint.com. It quickly helps you figure out where and how you spend your money. It not only analyzes your spending in dollars and cents, but also shows you visually through graphs and charts how and where you spend your money. Having a budget does not mean you cannot do the things you want to do. It just helps you to live within your means and not overspend. Mint.com has helped me see where, how and when I spend my money and helps point out obvious areas in which you can save. Once you figure out how much you spend on a category such as entertainment a month, you may realize you can cut spending from that category and spend less and save more.
This year think do it yourself (DIY). There are lots of DIY websites and tutorials that can help you fix things yourself, build things yourself, reuse things or cook yourself or family a delicious meal. Recently one of the websites that I have been getting into that is very helpful with DIY projects is Pintrest.com. This website allows you to look at ideas other users have in categories such as home improvements, recipes, gifts, decorating, health, beauty and fitness tips, reusing products and how to make your own homemade version of popular products and restaurant dishes. So far the website has saved me money within the first week of using it. I broke my bronzer compact, which retails for about $35.00. I have done this before and in the past, I went out and purchased a new one, thinking the old one was broken and useless. The website showed me a simple solution using rubbing alcohol that I already had in my home that would fix the makeup. I was skeptical at first, but was willing to try it and well it worked like a charm. The website has extensive DIY ideas and tutorials that will get you thinking more creatively and if you follow some of the ideas, you will save money.
This year, use your social media to help you save money. Many companies and stores offer deals via social media outlets. By liking a company on Facebook or following a store on Twitter, you may have access to promotions, sales and deals that you would have not known about. This tip takes a few seconds to do and you could have access to promotional codes or items that will help you save money and get a great deal. You may also find that some of these companies and stores have giveaways and contests for their Facebook fans and Twitter followers, and who knows maybe you will win something great for free this year!
2012 can be the start of transforming your personal finances. One of the reason many people drop their resolutions by February is because their goals are too unrealistic or they are unwilling to put the time in to see the results of that goal. Set small personal finance goals for yourself and you can achieve them. Your goals may be on a daily basis, weekly basis or a monthly basis and each personal finance goal can have a different timeframe. Make your goals and resolutions realistic so you can see the results and realize that you are in fact transforming and improving your personal finances. You may have set backs in your path to personal finance happiness, but you should always try to stick to those resolutions, work towards that goal and modify the goal if need be.