I’ve never been the “New Years Resolution” type, until last year. My blog and my Instagram was my New Years project last year and while I didn’t quite accomplish everything I set out to do, I did learn a lot to set me up to continue to grow and learn in this process.
This year, I have more of a personal goal to work on and it checks ALL of the SMART goal boxes. For those who aren’t aware, a SMART goal is a goal that is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. By setting specific intentions, you are able to focus your attention. You need to be able to measure progress on your goal and it’s discouraging to set goals you’ll never be able to reach. You also want something that fits into your life and a year is the perfect amount of time to tackle something big.
My goal is to pay $15k towards my debt load. I have student loans, a car payment, and credit cards that I would like to pay off, and while I would not be able to do it all in a year, this is definitely an achievable number. It will take some sacrifice to find extra money in my budget, but here are the steps I plan on taking to do that!
I love to cook so I don’t mind eating more meals at home, but it pains me to throw out wasted food from buying too much or forgetting about something. Previously, when I would grocery shop, I would maybe have a list but also buy other stuff if it was on sale, without a plan for it. It led to throwing out leftovers that got left over for too long or produce forgotten in the back of the fridge. Also our freezer became overfilled with on sale meat with no plans.
To solve this problem (and cut our grocery budget!) we decided to plan out our meals for the week based on the grocery circulars that come in the mail on Tuesday. We make specific grocery lists based on what we’re eating (and the sales) and shop our pantry and fridge before going to the store. Our weekly grocery trip was averaging around $60-80/week for 2 people and our first trip of the new year was $38!
I shop a lot! I love bringing new things into my closet, but I also want to buy a house and reach my debt goals, so I need to save money. I’m not going to not buy anything new this year, things will need to be replaced, but I will be shopping more intentionally when I do. Sometimes, I get the urge to go to a store to shop as an activity, so I plan on going to thrift or second hand stores so less damage is done to my wallet – and the environment.
In the spirit of being more intentional with my wardrobe, I also plan to find money in my budget by generating revenue by purging my closet on poshmark. My plan is to Marie Kondo my closet over a weekend and sell what I can and donate the rest and put my earnings immediately towards extra loan or credit card payments.
Find cost saving alternatives
Instead of going to Ulta to get highlights done, I’m going to go to a beauty school. Want a massage? There’s a massage school I can go to as well. I don’t have to give up luxuries in my life in order to save money, but I can use things like training schools or groupon to save some cash on them! If you haven’t used groupon, you are definitely missing out on some great deals for beauty treatments, meals and activities.
I also plan on trying to find ways to save throughout the year by renegotiating phone plans or internet and working on combining subscription services Jack and I both have into household or dual memberships. My Costco membership is being split with him this year, so that’s an immediate $30 savings!
Save specifically for the holidays
Finally, my last savings method won’t start until July, but the holidays are EXPENSIVE and if you aren’t prepared, you end up putting things on your credit card and it adds up. To offset holiday expenses, Jack and I will be doing a joint “Christmas fund” this year. Starting 12 paychecks before Black Friday, we will put aside $65 per check to help pay for food and gifts during the holiday season. I’m posting the graphic below that we’re basing ours off of and if you’re doing it by yourself, all you’d have to do it start now! We’ll be starting on June 26th
This year is going to be a year of challenging myself to live more frugally and making decisions that impact my budget with more thought behind them. I know that I can reach this goal and will put me in a good position financially for years to come. What are your resolutions? Let me know!
Happy New Year,