The holiday bills might be paid, or they might be mounting up in a pile. January is the new year, though, and a new opportunity to get on the right foot financially. Becoming financially stable sometimes means mapping out a plan to attack debt and save more for the future.
Visualizing our future success can help that plan become a reality. The mind is powerful, but it’s not magical. Creating a vision of what we want for our future is essentially keeping our hopes and goals in our eye line.
Here are a few ways to visualize your financial success in 2020.
Print Out a Budget
Everyone should have a budget. Our budgets track what we plan to spend each month, and, hopefully, this provides a bit of accountability. Your budget should list all your expenses. If your budget is sitting on your computer, though, you might lose sight of it.
Instead, print out that budget and hang it somewhere you can see it (but not somewhere that guests might glimpse it). Every week review your projected budget and compare it to your actual expenditures.
Make 2020 the “Year of the Lists”
Budgets keep us accountable in our spending goals, but weekly lists help us stay on track in other ways. Think of your budget as the ‘novel of your financial life’ while supporting lists are chapters in that life.
So, what kind of lists are we talking about? Grocery and task lists, of course!
To stay on budget, you need to avoid impulse purchases and stay on task with each store you visit. Before you go to the grocery store, make a list of everything you need. Don’t veer from the list!
If you’re heading to a retail store like Target or Walmart, lists are essential. Bigger stores provide more ways to get sidetracked with other purchases. Don’t let the cute leggings suck you in, though! If you don’t need them, don’t buy them!
What other lists are essential? Task lists are great reminders about what we need to do each day. This includes paying any necessary bills. Create task lists in your phone and set up reminders about loan payments or other bill due dates.
Create a Goal Board
You can buy a cork board to create a visualized goal board. What you put on that board is entirely up to you. Maybe the board can include a loan you wish to pay off this year or a savings goal. You can also put up positive quotes to keep your mind always looking on the bright side.
See the Savings
For most of us, savings accounts are digital. That is, the money we have in savings is nothing more than numbers on our bank’s web page. Maybe you don’t have savings, but you desperately want to start an account.
This year, start a visual savings account. Use a big clear glass jar and start stashing away all your loose change or single dollars. Vow not to touch this jar for an entire year—2021.
Seeing the money accumulated will be tempting, but you absolutely cannot touch this jar. Savings is important for emergency expenses or to build up to pay off a big bill. The goal is to ensure that you’re working hard to create a nest egg—even if that amount isn’t huge, it’s still savings.
Watching the money accumulate also will be rewarding. Every time you add a few coins, you can watch the savings grow. Parents can encourage kids to start their own jar.
Count Down the Payoff Date—or the Payoff Amount
Loans and bills can seem overwhelming. If there is one major bill you wish to pay off—that perhaps you’re tackling in payments—create a visualized countdown so you can see your results. Have 100 days until the payoff date? Start a 100-day countdown. Make a tear off calendar of 100 days and rip one day off each day until the payoff date.
Maybe you’re paying a little principal at a time and you just don’t see how you’re making a dent. Visualize the payoff by creating a ladder to the top. Create a financial graphic related to your bill or loan. For every payment, color in how much you have paid off the total. You can watch your progress and see how close you are to paying off that bill. Your picture can be a thermometer-type design, a ladder or whatever you want.
Journal about Your Finances
Life and finances are stressful. Things go wrong, but things go right, too. If you find that you’re overwhelmed about your finances, take control by starting a budget and focusing on how to allocate your money each month.
While you can create lists to stay on target and keep your spending limited, you also can journal about your financial progress. Track your finances in a journal. You can talk about what you spent each week, and you can focus your journal on what you hope to accomplish.
You could write about any pitfalls of the day—maybe you splurged on an impulse buy. Keeping a financial journal for a year may help you discover bad habits…and good habits, too.
Keep a Positive Outlook
Finances can bring us down very quickly, but stress is toxic for the body, so try to find ways to decompress.
To keep your mind from dwelling too much, you can embrace positive advice by reading books or listening to soothing music. Meditation also could help you gain a sense of peace and help you stay in the moment.
Journaling, again, can come into play to help ease our worries. Write down your concerns, all those worries. This can help you zero in on what you need to attack. In the morning, you can review the list and find ways to solve those problems.
This year, resolve to get your finances on track and visualize your financial success. Create a budget, print it out and make sure that it’s posted where you can see it daily. Make grocery lists and task lists so you don’t overspend or lose sight of goals. Journal about your finances and your worries. And try to see your savings accumulate by filling a jar every day with coins or dollars. If bill balances are overwhelming, design a payoff graphic so you can understand how much of the balance remains; you can create a tear-off calendar to countdown the days until your last payment, too. When the mind becomes overwhelmed, create visual cues and reminders to keep your sight focused on the light at the end of the tunnel.
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