Written by Christine Sharma
Monday, January 8th, 2018
In January 2017, I set four financial resolutions for the year.
In July, I recapped how I'd been doing with those resolutions, and adjusted them to fit my financial status. One year later, I've found that a mid-year check-in was incredibly useful, and I'm able to manage my money much better now than I could last January.
When I initially set specific, measurable and realistic goals to better understand my finances and make better money decisions, I didn't expect to fall off the wagon so much.
Here Were My Initial Resolutions in January:
1. Keep my credit card bill under $300 per month all year
2. Learn one new thing about personal finances every month
3. Increase my student loan payment from $300 to $500 per month by August
4. Be able to afford a car by December
By July, while some of these were working for me, some of them proved too ambitious.
My Revised Resolutions in July and How I've Been Doing Since:
1. Keep my credit card bill under $400 a month, allowing me more freedom and less pressure
I found this difficult but doable. The only month I went over $400 was when I took an acting class that cost just over $300 in October. I'm still also a regular rideshare user, so that adds up. Verdict: Not bad!
2. Learn one new thing about how I spend money over the next six months, because I didn't manage to learn something new every month
I did learn one major thing about how I spend money since July: I splurge when I'm stressed, which is a lot! Now that I'm aware of the fact, when I feel a splurge coming, I'm able to hold off for a few days and decide whether that new jacket I have to have is a want or a need. Verdict: Completed!
3. Increase my student loan payment from $500 to $700 by December, because if I did it once, I can do it again
As ambitious as this was, I realized I have quite a few other expenses (like saving for a car), and it's okay if I take a little longer to pay off my student loans. Verdict: Holding off on increasing my payments is a good idea for now. I'm paying more than the minimum every month already.
4. Be able to afford a car by December, because this is still relevant and seems possible to me
I did it! In December, I made the decision to make that big car purchase that I've been planning all year. I'm still shopping around, but it's happening. Verdict: Mission successful.
Overall, having financial resolutions was a great learning experience. I learned more about my spending habits and how to better manage my money, and was able to have a financial map to check on myself throughout the year.
If you've been keeping up with my financial journey, I hope you've made some financial resolutions of your own for 2018 and plan to check in regularly.
It'll definitely help you realize what you're capable of when it comes to managing your money.