I’m a brand-new mom of a 4-month-old and I work at home part-time. I’m also a disorganized and a recovering procrastinator and money-waster. I’m thrilled to have found your blog, but I discovered it at a time in my life when I hardly have a free minute to spare.
I desperately want to change, but being so new to this lifestyle, so set in my bad habits and so extremely busy, I have no idea how to go about it. Do you have any suggestions for an overwhelmed newbie? Thanks in advance! -Deanne
Excellent question, Deanne! I was hoping to answer it in one post, but as I started outlining the post on paper (as I usually do with lengthier posts), I realized there was no way I could cover everything I wanted to cover in just one post.
So I’m going to do a series over the next few days with some step-by-step help for you and others who have just discovered this blog and are feeling overwhelmed at where to start in getting your finances in order.
1. Streamline Your Life
Saving money is going to take some time and effort. There’s no way around that. If it were effortless to live beneath your means or save 65% on all your grocery bills, everyone would be doing it!
It doesn’t have to take hours and days of your week, but if you want to change your finances, you first need to be willing to commit to put forth the time and effort required.
It will be worth it, but it won’t always be easy. However, the long-term benefits of short-term sacrifices can be amazing.
You can’t do it all. When you say “yes” to one thing, you must say “no” to another.
So if you really want to see some significant changes in your finances but you’re feeling completely overwhelmed and busy with your current responsibilities, you’re going to need to cut some things out of your life in order to make time to spend getting your finances in order.
2. Set Short-term and Long-term Goals
Once you’ve decided to streamline your life and put forth some effort when it comes to getting your finances in order, it’s time to get down to business! The first thing I recommend is to set goals.
Take a few hours during a quiet afternoon to sit and think (I highly recommend doing this exercise with your husband for those who are married). Where do you hope to be in five years and ten years from now? Don’t be intimidated! Just write down whatever comes to your mind. It’s okay to dream big dreams — even if they seem impossibly out of your reach.
Once you’ve scribbled down a lot of big ideas, choose which ones you really want to shoot for. I say to pick no more than three long-term goals. If you’re not out of debt, that should be at the top of your list. It’s hard to get any financial traction if you’re dragging the bondage of payments around with you wherever you go!
Now, break these big long-term goals down into smaller, bite-sized pieces. For instance, let’s say you have $12,000 in credit card debt and you’d like to have it paid off in two years. That means you need to have a goal of paying $6,000 off per year which translates to $500 per month, or about $125 per week. So there you have one of your concrete goals: you need to find an extra $125 in your budget each week in order to have all your credit cards paid off within two years.
Come back tomorrow and I’ll be sharing some tips and ideas for maximizing the mileage of your limited time and money!
Readers: What suggestions do you have for Deanne or other brand-new readers here who are feeling overwhelmed with where to start? I’d love to hear what has helped you!
photo by Katie@