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Spark your financial resolutions

FRANKLIN LIVING—New Year’s is the perfect time for all kinds of resolutions. To be successful, whether you’re trying to losing weight “physically” or “fiscally,” making a real plan is the key to success. Just saying you want to work on your finances will only have you ending up in the same place this time next year. Making a real plan and setting actionable steps is what will get you to your goal.

First of all, you have to ask yourself, “What am I actually wanting to achieve?” Save more? Spend less? Reduce debt? Establish this goal first and foremost, then start laying out the actionable steps that make the most sense for you.

So, what are the keys to being successful in your financial resolutions? Here are five tips that will help you stay on track, be more money-minded and get to your financial finish line.

  • Keep in mind some money goals take a lot longer than others – and that is totally OK! Maybe you have long-term goals like retirement, paying off student debt or buying a vacation home. Those can take a little longer than saving $10 here and there.
  • Spend less money. Simple, right? Pretty much no matter what your goal, you’ll be taking money from one thing and putting it toward another. Get yourself in the habit of just spending less altogether. Practice a “no swipe day” – a day where you do not swipe your card, or use it online, at all! Get one day under your belt, then try doing three days. Practice makes perfect, and less swiping in today’s society equates to less spending.
  • Start following some financial gurus to learn about financially healthy habits. There are numerous blogs, podcasts, social media groups, Instagram profiles and more by people who specialize in ways to create smart money habits. Go follow some. Seeing those notions in your newsfeed will keep your goals front of mind.
  • Boring old budget! Like I’ve said before, whether it’s a cool app on your phone or laptop or simply old-fashioned pen and paper, laying out your budget is a cornerstone to any financial resolution you’ve got planned.
  • No pity parties allowed. We are human; we are going to mess up or fall short occasionally. Do yourself a favor and don’t throw all your hard work out the window when this happens. Hit the reset button and start again. Remember in the beginning to not set yourself up for failure by setting “all or nothing” goals – or you’ll be spending a lot of time wallowing in disappointment.

Emily Mays is vice president/senior marketing director at Community Spirit Bank in Red Bay, working in finance for 13 years. She is an enthusiastic social media marketer, financial literacy advocate and go local supporter. She lives in East Franklin and has one daughter, Lola, 10.