Summer is in full swing and many people are taking vacations and enjoying what seems to be the hottest weather of the year. Some have the tendency to apply these laissez-faire ways to their financial situations. It’s time to think of this season in a different light for financial reasons, use it as a benchmark to analyze your growth or lack thereof in personal matters. The middle of 2018 has gotten here quickly and the end of the year is not far behind. Are you where you need to be in your financial plan for the year? Has the dust settled on your motivation that was so prevalent in January? Have you dropped the ball after watching the infamous ball drop? Did you have a financial plan at all? All of these questions can help you salvage your goals or track your successes.
Half of the year is gone and some may find that their money has disappeared too. Don’t fret; checking out your financial health at the midpoint of the year is a good way to start becoming accountable for your finances. The first and usually the easiest ways to check are as follows. Try to write out all of your income in increments that you receive money. If you are paid bi-weekly make your list in that format. If you have multiple income streams with multiple amounts or times, list it out monthly and do an average at the end of your analysis. Once you list out the income for the last six months total all of it up and find the average by dividing it by six. Next you will list out all of your outgoing payments for the last six months and find your average the same way. Third, list out the amount of money that has gone to savings and record the outcome as well. After you have these figures you can begin a simple analysis of where you stand financially. Are you bringing in more than you pay out? Are you saving at least 30% of your total income on average? Are you successful during some months and things are not as good in other months? That’s why it’s important to average the totals out to paint a more accurate picture.
If you are having trouble with this type of analysis of raw data, don’t hesitate to utilize the free resources that are available to everyone via the World Wide Web. Some examples are Forbes.com, UsNews.com and Fidelity.com. These systems have user-friendly applications to help ease the stress of finding the raw data and analyzing it on your own.
FINANCIAL GOALS: Meet or Beat
It is important to have a visual for the goals we set for ourselves. Make a vision board with things you want to accomplish and include your financial goals on it. There’s always pen and paper or your electronic device to write out or type a timeless list of short and long-term financial goals. If you don’t have a vision for your financial goals, now is the time to start. Make a short-term goal for years end and follow up by listing out future long-term goals, too.
If you already have a list, did you reach your goals or are you on track to reach any of your goals set for 2018? Have you reached any of your financial milestones for the year? Be honest with yourself and track any progress made, even the slightest positive change can put you in a better financial position. If you find that you are not meeting your goal, update your original goal to ensure that you beat your desired goal by the end of the year!
EARN EXTRA INCOME
Some will find that they have not saved money like they imagined at the beginning of the year. Research shows that earning extra funds is more manageable during the summer hours. Daylight Savings Time has changed and we have more daylight. Use the extended light to do common jobs. The top 5 things to do to make extra cash are garage sales, online marketplaces, mowing yards/leaf blowing, babysitting/house-sitting and a snow cone or lemonade stand.
Money discussions are scary and finding out how we deal with it personally is more terrifying. The fear of budgeting and having accountability for the debt we created has to be diminished. If the financial picture you see is disturbing; look for ways and resources to help you turn it around. It won’t be easy but it is possible. Most importantly don’t stress; remember Matthew 6:31-34 “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” We need to be prepare and be good stewards of our blessings but all believers know that God will provide!