A new year is always a great reason to make some much needed changes and get a personal tune-up whether it be physically, mentally, emotionally, or maybe a little of all three. Whatever it is that you have planed for 2012, be sure to take it one step at a time. A New Year's resolution is a commitment and promise to yourself. This year, instead of biting off more than I could handle in the "wish and hope" department, I actually thought about what I planned to change and created a game plan. Having a goal is important, but studies have shown that one is more likely to see the task through if they let others know of their plan and if they receive support from family and friends. So here we go...
- $ave,$ave, $ave: Setting money aside is important and it's never too late to start saving for the future. Even if it's just $5 or $10 here and there, it all adds up. Open a separate bank account, where money automatically gets deposited into savings. Having direct deposit ensures money gets put away. The trick is to limit access to this account, so either cut up your bank card linked to this account or keep it hidden at home. The less access you have, the less likely you are to use this account.
- Honesty: That's right. Being honest about the amount of debt you have is the best way to face your financial future head on. Pretending debts and bills don't exist, will only cause stress and possibly more expenses later on. This may take some time, but it is well worth it. What you'll need for this is a journal to list all your expenses, a calendar, and organizer or file folder. Start by listing all your bills and debts and the total amount owed and the date each bill/debt needs to be paid by (cue calendar). Paying bills on time is critical, since many companies will charge hefty late fees. Schedule time to review your finances (at least once a month). If possible call and see if you can have payment dates scheduled around your ability to pay them. For those of you on a busy schedule, set-up automatic bill pay linked to your account. Call creditors and request a lower interest. Most importantly do not hide from your bills or debts. If it feels a little too overwhelming, get help from a financial adviser.
- Just say NO: Whatever you do, be honest about what you owe and STOP spending money you don't have. How many pairs of shoes can one human own anyway? If possible, cut out, or limit your time in places that cause you to spend money ie. malls, casinos, e-bay, expensive brunches with friends, and so forth. I have taken an oath to not spend money on things I do not absolutely need and to give myself at least 24-hours before making any big purchases. Stepping away from the situation gives you time to think about your purchase and having buyers remorse.
- Options are Awesome: Everyone loves a great deal, find ways to save money and do it! LivingSocial and Groupon are just a few ways to get amazing deals on the cheap. Magazine subscriptions are a great way to save money. I'm a huge fan of health and fitness magazines, but at almost $5 each, my reality check meter went off. I opted to get a subscription, thanks to a great LivingSocial deal, I received a 1-year subscription for ONLY $8. I'm not a math wiz, but spending $8 opposed to $60 sounds like a good deal!
- Don't Let Food or Money Go to Waste: Depending on your family size, you may want to rethink buying in bulk. I use to shop in bulk, but soon found that there's only so much one person can eat in a week before it expires.So, Before setting out on your grocery trip DO NOT leave home without doing three things, which are 1. Make a menu for the week 2. After reviewing what you already have in your cabinets, make your grocery list 3. Don't shop on an empty stomach. This tip has really helped me from over-buying and staying within healthy limits. These three tips have helped me to save money, plan my meals for the week, and make sure no food goes bad. Instead of shopping for the entire month, I go once a week (Sunday) and only shop for the week ahead.
- Coffee Addicts Beware: Hello, my name is Ane, and I'm a coffee addict. I love coffee, but spending $4 a day adds up fast. A recent article I read helped put this habit into perspective, by revealing that buying a cup of coffee daily, for 10-years, would equal to buying a brand new car! Whoa mama! So, here's my new plan: 1. Get a coffee pot and store bought coffee creamer. 2. Make coffee at home at least four times a week. I love International Delight's Caramel Macchiato coffee creamer. In fact, here's a link for fifty-five cents off your next purchase Coffee Creamer Coupon (click on link). Now, this doesn't mean I'm giving up coffee shops. I'll just frequent them a little less.
- Physical Health: What would any resolution be without the want to be fit? Being fit is essential to our physical, emotional, and mental health. Getting to the gym is tough, especially at the end of a long work day. This year I've made a plan to go at least 3-4 times a week for 45 minutes. If I can do this, then I will allow myself one cheat day each week. I've started packing a weeks worth of workout clothes in my trunk. I also make sure to include magazines/books and my headphones in there. This allows me to hit the gym before heading home without any excuses!
- Create a plan: It is not enough to say you're going to lose weight, but how do you actually plan on obtaining this goal? My overall goal is to not gain any weight this year. While my monthly goal is to lose at least 3 lbs a week. This may not sound like much right away, but in the long run comes out to almost 12 lbs lost in 4 months. This is a more realistic goal for me, rather than saying I want to just lose weight. And c'mon now, looking like a Victoria Secret model or my old Miss America swimsuit photo would be awesome, but I don't want to be a VS model, nor do I foresee walking on-stage in my swimsuit any time soon, so therefore I refuse to allow my personal goals to be clouded by ideals. Feeling good about myself and having the energy to keep up with everything going on in my life is what I'm focused on and what makes me happy. The key here is to take baby steps and not give up. While we're on the subject, there's nothing more annoying than reading about a celeb who had her baby and two weeks later is prancing around in a two-piece. Seriously? I'm convinced that these women must be half superhuman, because after a weekend of eating hot wings, I need another week just to recover, or so it seems :). Yes, I proudly once had uber rad abs, but then again it was during a different time in my life, which came equipped with two things 1. A personal trainer and 2. Knowing millions of people would be watching on Tv. Different situations call for different measures. :)
- Making healthy food choices makes me feel better physically and mentally.Yet, allowing myself to enjoy a Coca-Cola now also keeps me from depriving myself of things I like. It's all about moderation. Cooking at home and drinking more water are on my list. I'm proud to say that 2012 has started off without the fire alarm going off! I just may become a chef soon (don't hold your breath haha).
- Mental Health: Allowing myself at least 10-15 minutes every night to relax, read, or just reflect on my day. Preparing mentally for the day ahead allows me to focus on what I need to do and not feel so overwhelmed the next morning. Simple tools such as preparing my lunch for the next day and what I'm going to wear does a lot for my mental health. I now have time each morning to finish drinking my coffee.
- Emotional Health: Make time for what matters most and that which will help lead to your goals. Surround yourself with positive people who are uplifting and truly care about you as a person. Listen to your gut and stay true to yourself. Do not allow for anyone to rob you of your spirit and most importantly always believe in yourself. Know when to say no. Stand your ground and do not stray from what matters to you most. Do not allow for the words or actions of others to determine your future or emotions, this is your life!
Whatever plans you have for the new year, I wish you much success! Looking forward to all that 2012 has in store and of course submitting more posts! Peace, love, and joy to you.