Most of us would like to get our financial plans and budget in better shape, but it can be difficult to change old habits. In many cases, it’s our approach that is faulty. We tend to set vague goals, such as “pay off debts” or “control my spending”. But without a concrete definition of what those goals really mean, how can we put a plan into action?

Instead, consider everyday scenarios to see what those goals look like in real life. How can your actions match up with your intentions? The following 20 steps are good examples of ways that you can take action toward a more stable financial plan.

  • Pay more than the minimum payments on your credit card bills every month
  • Or, completely pay off card balances each month (this is even better)
  • Start saving for the holidays now, so that you don’t use credit cards this December
  • Establish a weekly menu, make a list, grocery shop, and avoid expensive restaurant meals
  • Avoid late payment penalties by setting up auto-pay for your bills
  • Establish email or text reminders with billers
  • Review all of your monthly subscriptions and expenses, and cancel the ones you don’t really need or use
  • Tackle one item each week: Compare rates on car insurance, homeowners insurance, internet service, cell phone plans, and so on until you’ve lowered all of your monthly bills
  • If you usually receive an income tax refund, adjust your withholding to hang onto more of your money throughout the year
  • Declare regular “no-spend days” and avoid making any purchases on those days
  • Use only cash for “fun” purchases, according to a budget that you set
  • Research the job market, identify skills that you need to develop, build your resume, and then ask for a raise or apply for higher-earning jobs this year
  • Bump up your retirement savings rate and establish automatic contributions straight from your paycheck
  • To save for an important purchase, contribute to a savings account from your paycheck
  • Set up a health savings account and regular contributions, if you’re eligible, to help manage healthcare spending
  • Check your credit report annually and report discrepancies
  • Update beneficiaries on life insurance, retirement plans, bank accounts, and so on
  • Commit to long-term and short-term goals in writing to hold yourself accountable
  • Meet with an estate planning attorney to create an estate plan
  • Schedule an appointment with us to discuss your portfolio and retirement plan.

We can help with that last item. Call us to schedule an appointment, so that we can discuss your short- and long-term goals. Then, together we will put together a plan to make those dreams a reality.