Your goals are meant to change lives for the better. The person who wants to get in shape desires better health. The person who wants to get a job wants stability and money. Everyone wants money. That's why "Save Money" is on a large number of lists, including one made by the U.S. government at USA.gov. People tend to think of goals as separate entities, but why not hit two birds with one stone? Why not nail the whole flock? You want money, right? So make your next goal save you money.
Take Stock of Your Finances
Grab yourself a journal, pen, and calculator. For your journal, you might want to spring for something nice, because you'll be using it all year.
When you come up with your goals, think of how much money you would save by achieving them. Think of the money you're spending now. If one of your next goals is to stop drinking, find out how much money you're currently spending on alcohol. Look for receipts. Tally up your daily and weekly alcohol expenses and write them down in your journal.
Now pull out your thinking cap. It's obvious how a New Year's resolution like "Stop Drinking" could save you money, but what if your goal is "Help Others?" How could that save you money? You have to dig a little deeper. First, how can you help people? You can hold a door open for someone, give a neighbor a ride to work, or volunteer at a homeless shelter. And these are all great things you should do regardless of whether they save you money!
But maybe they can save you money. Think about what you'd be doing if you weren't volunteering. Maybe you usually have drinks with a buddy on Wednesday nights, and you go to clubs on Fridays and Saturdays. Write down your usual expenses. If you choose one of these nights to volunteer, you'll be fulfilling your goal of helping others, while also saving money.
Open Up a Savings Account (If You Don't Already Have One)
If you don't already have one, open up a savings account. As you fulfill your goals in ways that save you money, you should immediately put your savings into your account. If you don't, you'll be tempted to spend the money on something frivolous or insignificant, and you may not even realize you spent it. Money goes fast. Plus, this account is your end-of-the-year prize. It's the light at the end of the tunnel. When you struggle with your goals, think of the monetary reward you'll get at the end of the year. And the more money you save, the bigger your reward.
Now it's time to start wokring on your goals. Never let go of your journal. If your next goal is to lose weight, you already listed the different foods you buy, and how many times a week you go to the store, buy fast food, or go to a restaurant. And you wrote down how much all of this generally costs. Now it's time to get healthier and richer.
You don't have to spend a fortune on healthy food, despite what certain diet food companies would lead you to believe. You can find a bag of boneless chicken breasts for $3.50 and apples for $0.65 each. There are plenty of inexpensive healthy foods out there, and chances are, the next time you go grocery shopping, you'll spend less money on these foods than you might have had in the past on potato chips, frozen pizzas, and Pepsi.
But don't just assume. The next time you're dropping items into your shopping basket, keep an eye out for anything you might have bought in the past and jot the price down in your journal. When you're done shopping, compare the money you just spent with the money you might have spent in the past. If your next goal to lose weight saved you any money at all, put the amount you saved into your savings account.
Keeping up with your goals can give you such a huge feeling of accomplishment. That in itself is rewarding enough, but the promise of a tangible prize can give you the drive you need to get you through this tough 365-day journey. And making your New Year's resolutions save you money will not only help you conquer your yearly goals, but also create your own shining gold medal.
Check out another article related to saving: "Stay on Track With Money Milestones"