Happy new year, everyone! Translation: happy goal setting. Looking back, I feel like all of my new year’s resolutions in the past have centered around diet and exercise. And I never manage to stick to them past February. But I think that’s just because my goals at the beginning of the year are always too lofty. Goal setting is tricky, and really all about balance. You have to challenge yourself without setting yourself up for failure.
For me, Thanksgiving is always a turning point, mentally. Fall quarter is almost over, the holiday spirit is kicking in, and food becomes…an overwhelming routine. Does anyone else experience the food thing? I always overeat during Thanksgiving dinner, and we always have leftovers so the same thing happens the next day. And the day after. Then the last two weeks of school kick in and stress eating takes over. Then you have Christmas and New Years feasts. By the 27th of December, I’m hating myself for the abuse I’ve put my stomach through, but because there are only 4 days left in the year, I decide it’s not worth starting to seriously cut back and exercise. So I wait…until the last day of the year, and come up with ridiculous goals built on a foundation of short-term frustration.
This year, though, I decided to do things a little differently. I decided to give myself a week to get back into the swing of things (in terms of eating and exercise) so that I feel better about myself and can set more realistic goals going forward. I also decided to set a few financial goals. I’m officially done with school (as of December, YAY), and money is something I have to seriously start paying attention to as I transition into the “real world.” With the help of some lovely folks at Earnest, I’ve created a Money Saving Challenge for 2017.
Key things that I plan to focus on:
- Figuring out what I’m spending on in the first place: You can’t fix what you don’t understand. And for me, the first step is figuring out where my money is going. I think I’ve avoided tracking my spending for so long because I was afraid of what I might find. But it’s time to rip the bandaid off. And depending on what I find, necessary adjustments will have to be made! Unfortunately, I feel like eating out will be the first thing to go 🙁
- Start budgeting: Small things add up really quickly, and I’ve realized it’s important to have a game plan. Setting up a food budget is at the top of my list. It’ll help me eat out less and push me take a closer look at how much I’m spending when I do eat out.
- Start looking ahead: This is sort of like budgeting, but more future-oriented. I really want to go on a trip to Thailand at some point this year, and I know I need to start saving ahead of time. Retirement is also something I have to start considering, even though it is like…40 years away. But time flies, yo. And right now, I can afford to max out my 401k contributions.
So here’s to a year of wiser financial decisions! And thanks again to Earnest for helping me put together this Money Saving Challenge. For those of you who don’t know, Earnest specializes in student and personal loans and enhances the borrowing experience by using data that traditional lenders don’t (savings patterns, investments, career trajectory, etc.). Which translates to you getting the rate you deserve. So if you’ve got student loans to pay back, see if Earnest can help with their refinancing options! And try out some of their tips in the money saving challenge above. Small changes can make a world’s difference, and it’s never too late to start 🙂