Now that it is the New Year I’ve been thinking about what I can do to make more money, you know, other than getting another job or my daughter and I giving up our weekly Starbucks. After all, we need our weekly Starbucks. **wink, wink**
(No really. We need our weekly Starbucks.)
The key to us keeping our weekly Starbucks I believe involves good planning. Here are a few new years resolutions that I have done in the past so that our sweet, delicious, liquid yummy gold stays plentiful.
Every Year’s Financial New Years Resolutions
1. Live on one salary. This was a hard one, especially when we were younger and our salaries weren’t much to speak of. We could really see the benefits, however, once we decided to have children. We had bought our home, we bought out cars, we vacationed, and we shopped as if I wasn’t bringing in any money. And when it was time to live on one salary out because I decided to quit my job to stay home with my babies, we didn’t feel the pinch except for when it came to our large nest egg. It used to grow at rapid speeds, but now grows much more slowly.
2. With the exception of our home and our cars, never finance anything. When we first got out of school my husband and I had some debt. But by following rule number one, we were able to use our second salary to pay off our college debt. Once it was paid off we really liked the feeling, so we vowed never to go to debt land again. So we never paid interest on anything, ever. Our rule was and is if we can’t pay cash for something, we don’t need it. Again this was a hard rule to follow, especially when we had emergencies such as car accidents, etc., but we did it and because of rule number one and two always being in play we were able to pay cash for our last car.
3. Bonuses, tax returns, or any surprise money goes into savings. I used to work at a company that gave pretty regular bonuses. One year, the first time in many, many years, the company had to cut bonuses. A woman I worked with said, “How am I supposed to pay for Christmas this year?”I found her question as odd until I realized that she had treated her bonus as part of her salary. This is a pretty dangerous assumption to think that one is going to get a bonus. Many friends I know have gotten themselves in trouble thinking that their yearly bonuses will bail them out of any debt they may have accrued over the year. That is why my husband and I have always treated bonuses as just that…a bonus. And straight into savings the bonus goes to use for a family emergencies or that flat screen television that we insist upon paying cash for.
4. Max out our 401K to our company’s matching limit. I’m not giving up the chance to make free money, and that is exactly what a matching program is…free money.
5. Never pay full price for most anything. Whether I use a coupon, hit a 60% off sale, or my personal favorite a 60% off sale in which I have a coupon for an additional percentage off I never pay full price for most anything. I plan my grocery shopping around sales, I plan ahead and buy all of my clothes on sale, I even buy household appliances at some sort of discounted rate even if it means I become that crazy lady who talks the sales guy down 15% because he just doesn’t want me back in the store bugging him any more. I look at this rule as another free money rule. The amount of time I spend getting my bargains is far outweighed by the money I save in the process. So why wouldn’t I follow this rule?
Financial New years Resolutions for 2012
So these are all pretty tough rules that I follow to make sure that I can continue to have cash for my weekly Starbucks treats. It seems like a lot, so you might be asking yourself, “What else could I be doing?” Well for me my financial resolutions for 2012 involve some detail work. In thinking about what is going to be happening for my family for the next year, I’m trying to figure out how I can do in in the most cost effective way. Here are my plans so far for 2012.
- We need new carpet. My house is over 12 years old and has 12 year old nasty carpet. Unfortunately I overspent at Christmas, and we don’t have enough money for the sales that happen every January for carpet. So, for next year I am going to try to save more money for carpet.
- Eat at home more. I really, really, really, really, really hate to cook. So my family’s biggest weakness is eating out. But carpet money has to come from somewhere, and I’ve pretty much maxed out the savings on how to eat out for less. So, I’m going to try to save money by cooking at home more. My family and my carpets will thank me.
- Buy Ski Gear for next year at the end of this year’s ski season. We usually take a family trip skiing every year. We didn’t go this year as we decided to go to Disney World instead (yay!), but I can still plan ahead anticipating that my kids will have grown out of their ski gear by next year.
- Track our medical spending more carefully. Every year we add more to our cafeteria plan, but we always run out of money. This year I’m going to track what we’re spending specifically to try to more accurately figure out what we might need next year.
And there you go, my New Year’s resolutions for 2012. Have you made any financial resolutions? If so what are they?