No matter how good you are with money, there is always room to grow. Taking charge of your finances, whether you’re taking on new debt, paying off old loans, or setting savings goals for yourself, can really make you feel like you have your act together. Making plans to get your finances in order is one thing, but actually doing it is another. To make sure you’re financially fit, try the “3 C’s” method.
See your debt for what it is, rather than starting the process with a defeated attitude. If you think to yourself “I’m bad with money” or “There’s no way I’ll ever be able to pay all this off,” you’re limiting yourself before you even start.
Instead, separate the facts of your debt from your interpretation. List exactly the amount of money you owe and where it needs to go. Then, go through your current expenses and see where you can cut down to start making payments towards your debt. Keeping everything factual and businesslike will keep you from spiraling emotionally during what can be a stressful process.
Now that you’ve gained some clarity about what is fact and what is interpretation, it’s time to commit to your financial goals. Ask yourself, “What financial project am I passionate about? What am I really committed to?”
Jot down your specific goals and the timeframe you want to achieve them in. The Corporate Financial Institute suggests making your financial goals SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. Using these goal-setting guidelines focuses your efforts and increases your chance of success.
You might want to pay off all of your credit card debt, slash your debt by 25 percent, or even just start a savings plan. Choose a goal that inspires you, then hold yourself accountable by telling someone else about it.
Finally, after you’ve got your clarity and commitment, it’s time to take action. Just like any other project, you’ll need to schedule strict deadlines for yourself to ensure you stick to your plan. Make notes of specific milestones on your calendar so you’re not tempted to procrastinate.
According to David Cunningham of the Landmark Forum reviews and reminders can make or break your success. Set up reminders on your phone or write on a wall calendar so you won’t forget to make progress towards your goals. Because everyone slips up sometimes, though, use auto-billing and auto-pay options when you can. It’s super easy and you won’t forget to make payments!
Healthy finances are never out of reach. Set SMART goals, hold yourself accountable, and stop getting in your own way. You’ll get your finances in order before you know it!