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How to Set Better Personal Finance Goals for 2019

Find out how to create financial goals you can stick with and achieve. Money Girl Laura Adams offers essential tips plus her 7 personal finance resolutions in 2019.

By
Laura Adams, MBA,
Episode #577
How to Set Better Personal Finance Goals for 2019

Resolution #6: Review Subscriptions and Automatic Payments

Having certain payments on automatic renewal is convenient. But the downside is that you can forget who and how much you’re paying.

The New Year is a great time to review your recurring charges and cancel any that you aren’t using, such as gym memberships, entertainment streaming, magazines, or business services. It’ll feel good to review and clean those up.

Resolution #7: Use What I Have

One goal that I’m going to work on this year is using up what I already have before buying something new. For instance, I love buying cosmetics and hair products, but I already have buckets of them. I’m going to use up that bottle of serum before buying a new one.

My financial goals are pretty similar from year to year. I want to save as much as possible and make sure that my debt levels go down.

Because I max out my retirement accounts each year and have a cash reserve, I don’t follow a budget. I have a top-down approach where I fund my goals first and then live on the rest. However, creating a budget may be an important goal for you that will keep all your other financial goals on track.

If you’ve never created a budget, try using Mint, which is a free app that aggregates your transactions from any linked account and allows you to set a budget. Quicken is a more robust financial program that allows you to create and monitor a budget, create reports, track investments, and many advanced functions.

If you don’t enjoy monitoring your cash flow by specific categories, one technique is to use a 50/30/20 spending plan. With this approach, you lump a variety of expenses into one of three categories: fixed expenses, variable expenses, and savings.

You’d spend 50% of your take-home pay for fixed expenses, such as housing, food, transportation, insurance, and debt payments. These are your necessities and everyday living expenses.

You might spend 30% on variable expenses, such dining out, entertainment, and clothes. These are nice to have, but not essential. And the remaining 20% would go toward retirement savings and building an emergency fund.

If this simple technique helps you get started with a spending plan and watch your cash flow more closely, it’s a win. Then you can refine your budget later on if you decide that you want to measure specifics, such as how much you spend at Starbucks, on makeup, or on drinks out with friends.

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Smart goal setting image courtesy of Shutterstock

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