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5 steps to achieving your New Year’s Resolution

Published on December 9, 2015 11:09 am, by

2016 is nearly here!  Happy Christmas.  We’ve created a “how to” achieve your New Year’s Resolutions guide as a gift to you.

Ringing in the New Year inspires us to think about change.  It’s a line in the sand between the old you and the new you.  It’s the number 1 day of the year where people set goals and articulate the things they want to achieve.

Unfortunately for many these resolutions are just a memory by February.  The gym membership isn’t being used, the bikini bod isn’t happening, and by the middle of January alcohol and caffeine was back on the menu.

The other unfortunate thing is that the beginning of the New Year often comes with a Christmas Hangover.  This isn’t just about your liver asking for a rest, it’s about the credit card balance, the tight pants and sleep deprivation being a way of life.

At MoneyBrilliant we’re all about wellness, specifically financial wellness.  We want to help you use your money to achieve your goals in life.  With that in mind we’ve created a strategy to work out the monetary value of your goal, and give you tips on using our service to help you get there.

The life cycle of achieving a financial goal:

  1. Clear the credit card debt
  2. Work out how much you need to save
  3. Understand your income & fixed expenses
  4. Have a bills calendar & alerts (no more late fees)
  5. Set up automatic payments on pay day to repay debt or put in your savings account
  6. Track your spending
  7. If your spending is “in the green” shift some more money across to meet your goal earlier

Here’s how we do it:

#1 work out what we want

First up – articulate your goal.

What do you want to achieve or be ready for in the next 12 months?

  • Go on a holiday
  • Save for a purchase – house deposit, car
  • Save for a life event – wedding, baby
  • Get a new bod – be healthy, fit and all round amazingly energetic
  • Pay off your debt – house, car, credit card

Write your goal down.  Decorate it.  Find a photo or material item that represents where you want to be and stick it somewhere you can see it.

#2 translate this to a financial goal

If you have credit card or higher purchase debt, this needs to always be the first thing you clear before starting to save.  Why pay 20% interest on your credit card when you only earn 2% on your savings account.  It’s crazy to have savings when you have high interest debt.

For example I want to go on a holiday in November, this is what I need to do –

  • Repay $5,000 debt on credit card by March
  • Start saving for a holiday in April, save $8,000 by October

#3 work out how much you have to save/not spend

  • To get to what you want how much do you need to contribute each pay period
  • Will this take $300 per week or $800 per fortnight or perhaps $2,000 per month?

Use the below template to write your goal down and translate it in to an amount per pay period for you to save.

My Goal will take this much per pay period to achieve:

#1 What I want:

When do I want it:

How many pay periods to I have:

#2 Translate to a financial goal: 
1. $
2. $
3. $
4. $
Total: $
#3 How much do I need to save/not spend each pay period? 
Divide number of pay periods in to your Total $

Set up an automatic payment to sweep the funds out of your transaction account in to your debt or savings account

**we recommend having a separate savings account that is difficult to access – this removes temptation

NB: We’ve included an example of a money plan on the last page for reference.

#4 update your budget on MoneyBrilliant

1: Ensure your accounts are all linked & your transactions are categorised correctly

2: Make sure your income is reflecting accurately

3: Check your bills set up, make sure you have included everything

4: Reset or check your budget figures that are drawn through from your accounts, you can change these manually if there are some areas you can spend less

5: See if you have enough left over to meet your savings commitment and reach your goal.  If you don’t go back to your goal & see if you can achieve it with less, or if you need to expand the time frame you’ve allocated.  It may be a good time to check your services and negotiate that phone, electricity or insurance bill down.

For IOS users, make sure you have downloaded the iPhone app and set up Safe Spending.  Plan the activities you can do based your on you Safe Spending* amount

#5 commit to checking in

  • How often will you log in to MoneyBrilliant and see how you’re going?
  • Are your accounts set up for success?
  • Do you have an iPhone, can you check your Safe Spending amount before you go shopping or out to lunch?

I check Safe Spending around lunch time each Friday, before I confirm my weekend plans.  I check again on Monday morning to see if I can still afford my daily coffee and Thursday afternoon wine.  Some people find it helpful to check on the weekends.

I log in to the desktop app either on the weekend or one night during the week.  This gives me an overview of my finances, I check the categorisation and look at my spending reports.  I like to check how much I’ve spent on groceries as well as little odds and ends through the week.

Other things to think about

  • Is it possible that I will get caught with an unexpected expense? Should I create an emergency amount, for example add $50 per week to my bills account?
  • What am I going to put in place so I don’t overspend? How many social events will I allow myself?
  • Is there anything I do day to day that might impact my spending – lunch out, Friday night drinks, weekend brunches? Can I limit these or make them cheaper?  

 An example plan for your reference:  

#1 What I want: I want to go on a 3 week trip to America

When do I want it: March 2017

How many pay periods to I have: I get paid fortnightly – so I have 31 fortnights

#2 Translate to a financial goal: 
1.       Book & pay for flights $1,500
2.       Pay for accommodation before I go $2,500
3.       Clear credit card debt before I go $4,300
4.       Have $3,000 spending money for my trip $3,000
Total: $11,300
#3 How much do I need to save/not spend each pay period?
Divide number of pay periods in to your Total

11,300 / 31 = $365

I need to take in to account credit card interest – round up to $400 per fortnight 

$400

#4 create a budget (the MoneyBrilliant app calculates this for me!)

  • When I load my bills to MoneyBrilliant it will make all expenses in line with my pay period
  • Rent = $500, groceries = $120
  • Bills (fortnightly): Utilities = $100, Phone = $30, Internet = $30, Netflix = $6, Public transport = $60, Insurances (car, health, contents) = $120, Car costs (rego, services, CTP) = $60, Gym = $40.  Total = $446
  • Automatic payment set up to pay off credit card first = $400 per fortnight
  • Subtract $1,466 from fortnightly income of $2,000
  • Safe spending = $534 per fortnight

#5 commit to checking in

  • I’m going to link my accounts to MoneyBrilliant and use their app to track my Safe Spending amount
  • I’ll check Safe Spending before I go to the shops as well as on Friday afternoon & Monday mornings

Other things to think about

  • Car needs new tyres, approx. $600, will add $20 per fortnight to bills
  • Sunday morning brunch – will suggest beach walk with juice & muffin instead
  • Going out – will go out one weekend night & one week night instead of whenever I want
  • Will limit myself to 1 coffee a day at work, maybe 2 on a Friday

 

Related Articles –
Safe Spending: What? Why? How?
Bank Fees: How to Avoid them
Your account balance is lying to you

 

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Jen is an experienced banking professional who loves wine, coffee, finding a bargain and of course her three beautiful children. Since Jen's first budget led her to buy a home at 20, Jen has passionately helped others to make better decisions with their money.

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