Q: Why does it feel like managing my money is so much work? It's hard to stay focused. What can I do?
A: It takes work to manage your money, but sometimes all the motivation you need is a fresh perspective. Take the upcoming 2010 Winter Olympic Games. How did these athletes win the right to compete? Now think about it terms of your money:
DREAM: Your specific financial goals and what's important to you. Assign them due dates, dollar amounts and steps needed to achieve them:
- Short-term goals (within the next two years -- household or car repairs, a small holiday).
- Medium term goals (two to five years from now -- debt reduction, cars, school).
- Long-term goals (five years and beyond -- home ownership, retirement).
TRAINING: Build your skills and confidence:
- Get all the members of your household playing on the same team. Include them in setting and carrying out family goals.
- Gather money management tools and resources, like expense-tracking booklets or software -- a plain notebook works fine too.
- Seek advice from qualified financial experts or attend a budgeting seminar.
STARTING GUN: Time to just get started. Pick your date and try out what you've learned.
RACE: You win when you reach your goals!
RESULTS: Stop for a monthly "podium check." Is your bank account growing and your debt shrinking? Keep your spending in line and set money aside for emergencies.
THE CEREMONY: Reward yourself for achieving even small goals. Success can be very motivating.
You can be a financial athlete -- pull out all the stops and go for the gold!
You can take your first steps towards gold by attending one of our budgeting workshops. Click here to see our workshop schedule (they're free).