Published January 16. 2021 06:20AM
The new year is like turning a blank page. If you wake up with breath in your lungs, you’ve got an opportunity to do a little bit better than the day before. All you’ve got to do is decide to change. To help you with a fresh start, here are five ways you can reset your money goals in 2021.
1Start with the end in mind
What do you want to accomplish by changing your money habits? Is this the year you finally become debt-free? Are you saving up for college for your kids? Are you getting serious about funding your dream retirement? Take some time to dream in high definition about your goals so you can have something concrete to work toward.
2Evaluate your spending habits
Get your bank statements out (even if it hurts to look at them) and take a long, hard look at where you’re spending money. When I finally got serious about controlling my money and making a budget, I went through all my bank statements and I asked myself: Where is my money actually going? Guess what? It was going to the grocery store – those places were getting rich off of me. I was spending $1,200 every single month on groceries! I wouldn’t have realized that if I’d just kept cruising along on autopilot, not paying attention to where I was spending my hard-earned income.
3Make a zero-based budget
A zero-based budget is, hands down, the best way to budget. It’s a method of planning your spending at the beginning of every month so that your total income minus your total expenses equals zero. It means you give every dollar a job to do in the budget. And once you’ve made your budget, I want you to really pay attention and track your spending by keeping a record of your transactions throughout the month.
4Beef up your emergency fund
If you’ve got consumer debt, build up an emergency fund of $1,000 to act as a buffer between you and life. Once you’re out of debt, though, build that emergency fund up to have enough money in savings to cover 3 to 6 months of expenses. That way, you can pay cash for life’s emergencies instead of turning to debt.
5Track your progress
I like to tell people that building wealth is a marathon, not a sprint. Since it’s a long-term game, it’s important to track your progress along the way. I want you to visualize and celebrate the small wins so you stay fired up for the long haul. Use an app such as Ramsey+ to track your progress.