The New Year brings notions of new beginnings. New Year Resolutions flood the timelines on social media and takes over conversations worldwide. The promise of a new era, a second chance or a “do over” excites the masses and often motivates people to tackle a certain goal or goals. According to a recent newscast on the most common New Year resolutions, “spending less money or saving more” is among the top 5 (www.abc7.com). It may be commonly said but how often is this goal reached? In fact, the same data showing the most common resolutions also shows the gross lack of follow-through. Why not make this year different? Proper preparation for achieving financial goals can almost assure success. Creating a strategy is the key to unlocking your financial dreams. A career in financial assistance has inspired me to design a simple plan for saving, called C.A.S.H. Calculating, applying, saving, then helping the next person is a roadmap for any financial goal.
Don’t be afraid to calculate what money you need to save for your specific goal. It can be a very specific ambition such as saving $3000 for a vacation or as broad as saving $500k for retirement. It can be as aggressive as trying to invest or as simple as wanting to start an emergency fund account. The goal to simply start saving only requires one calculation, finding out the amount you should save each month. Look at your net salary or wages per pay period. Take the amount and multiply that by 10% and the total is what you can use to save each period. For example, John D sees that he takes home $1000 per check. He multiplies 1000 X 0.10 and that equals $100. John D will put $100 into savings each pay period. Financial analysts agree that individuals should save between ten and twenty percent of their net income. You can adjust the percentage to whichever amount you’re comfortable with.
After settling on the percentage amount, make mental and physical notes it. John D has figured he would stick to the 10% and writes down $100 in his checkbook. He also tells his spouse about his new goal; unofficially asking her to be his accountability partner. Once the amount has been solidified in writing, you should the decide on a time period to track your progress. After the time period lapses, check your savings and be amazed at the amount you accumulate in a short period of time. John and his wife decide that he should try this percentage for at least 90 days.
You have calculated how much to save and how long to save it for progress, now it’s time to put the plan to action. Next, you should decide on where to place the savings. You can open a savings account, put into a safe deposit box, or hide it away in a secret stash. As you get started, make sure you pay into your savings plan first. We often worry about paying other bills with the funds if the money isn’t stored away first. Treat your savings plan as if it were another utility bill and don’t forget to track your progress. John D gets paid bi-weekly which caused him to save $200 in 30 days and $600 in just 90 days! This motivates him to stay with the plan and solidifies his new quest to save.
Now that you have conquered the art of saving, it’s time to share the information with your friends and family. Share your successes and struggles (if you have any) with them. Matthew 5:16 states, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (KJV)
John D’s success energizes his spouse to start saving. They also implement a new family tradition and teach their children the C.A.S.H. plan when they get their first jobs. The plan can start with one person and actually strengthen the financial health of the entire family.
If “saving more money” has become a struggle; try something new this New Year. Adopt the C.A.S.H. plan and use it to enhance the new YOU!