02 January 2009

This is your year

January pops up on our calendars and we immediately assume, “It’s time to get the finances organized.” I know this is true because of the website traffic I receive each January when the hits increase. Is it because January is traditionally holiday time, the Christmas rush is over and the sultry, summer heat slows us down a little? Or is January a good time to choose your goals, set a mission statement and start bringing in the New Year with new resolutions and good intentions?

Yes—IF your Christmas tree is taken down, the Christmas decorations are put away and the house is restored from holiday parties and family gatherings.

No—IF you are still promising yourself to send out Christmas cards, you are still buying gifts that you need to send to people and the kitchen countertop is full of unfinished projects.

In other words, are you ready to take on another major project—which is what you are doing when you decide to change your habits and get control of your money?

Setting up rules for your spending plan is quite simple. Anyone with a bank account and an income can pop off at least 10 things you should do to get your finances in order. The problem is it’s hard to stay on that path of 10 things as the year becomes April and then June and life has interfered with your well-intentioned plans to use 2009 to improve your money habits. After all, you're only human and doing the best you can!

Cheer up! In case you’ve made the decision to try to get organized in 2009, I’ll pop off about 10 things you can do to get your finances in order and I won’t elaborate on them. You understand the routine. In fact, I’m sure you could pop off these 10 items if you read any magazines with ideas about “how to organize your money.” And if you can't just go to the Article Archive and read up.

• Bring together thoughts and dreams about your life and where you want to go.
• Set written financial goals for the year—plan where you are going and what you want to achieve.
• Procrastination will keep you from working towards success in 2009. Work on these goals throughout the year and don’t quit. Keep checking in the Member's Centre for support and inspiration.
• Be flexible enough to change or revise these goals throughout the year.
• Reward yourself for successes in achieving your goals and in changing ingrained habits of the spendthrift kind.
• Keep visiting the Member's Centre. Sometimes you need a friend to help you over some obstacles and you'll find plenty of help there.
• Start by tracking your spending and recording it in your spending plan to keep you on track.
• Also keep a schedule or calendar to tell you where you need to be.
• And don’t worry if you don’t always follow through. Try again tomorrow.

Those are 9 things you can do to get your finances organized. Since I told you I’d come up with 10 things, here's the tenth. It’s good to leave yourself some wiggle room for human frailty. Does that bother you? Don't let it, be kind and encouraging to yourself.

I believe you have what it takes to succeed because you have taken the plunge and joined the Cheapskates Club. We are here to support you, to encourage you and yes, even to give you the proverbial kick in the behind if needed.

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