Today is January 5th. Many people started off, 4 days ago, stating a resolution for 2013…and they’ve probably already abandoned it. I know because I’ve been one of those people. Just ask someone what their resolution was last year and whether they achieved it. If they can remember it!
The top ten resolutions for 2012, according to StatisticBrain.com are as follows:
- Lose weight
- Get organized
- Spend less, save more (make note of this one as you read ahead)
- Enjoy life
- Stay fit and healthy
- Learn something exciting
- Quit smoking
- Help others in their dreams
- Fall in love
- Spend more time with family.
45% of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions. The percentage of people who actually achieve their resolution?
And only 64% of those who made a resolution actually stayed true for at least a month.
Social media has become an excellent resource for connecting with people of like interests. This week, my cousin posted a 52 Week Money Challenge a friend shared with her on Facebook. Each week, participants deposit money in an account. Each week, the amount increases by $1. So the last deposit made to the account is $52 in the last week of December. If participants are disciplined, they will have accumulated $1,378.00 by the end of the year. That’s a lot of money. Depending on your situation, that’s a paycheck…or two. That’s a mortgage payment for some. For others, $1300 may be food for 3 months.
The genesis of this challenge seems to have come from Kassondra Perry-Moreland. She is a single mother who decided she was working too long and hard not to have something to show for it. She came up with the challenge chart and started a Facebook group.
Here are some points to consider if this interests you:
- Feasibility: Is it financially possible for you to do this without affecting your essentials (food, energy, gas, etc.)? Be realistic. Don’t commit to this goal if you can’t afford it. Saving this money may be used to reduce your debt and funneled directly into reducing your credit debt or paying off a bill. But it’s also good to make sure you are paying your bills FIRST before putting aside this money.
- Motivation: What is your reason for wanting to save this money? Is it to pay off debt? Save money for a trip? Your reason for saving this money is your motivation. It will keep you focused on the goal. Whatever the reason is, write it down and tape it on a mirror or refrigerator so you will frequently be reminded. Or if you are using this money for a trip, create a vision board composed of pictures of your chosen destination.
- Deposit: Where are you going to put the money? If you already have a savings account, you can use it. If you don’t, you may need to open one. If you bank online, perhaps you can transfer money each week or month to a separate savings account. Whatever you decide, it needs to be a separate account other than your checking account or debit account.
- Sacrifice: Personally, I’m giving up my weekly lunch at Whole Foods. I recently realized that since March, those weekly lunches have cost me over $150! You may have to give up something to achieve this goal. Can you skip eating out once a month or week to save this money? Or maybe commit to giving up a pack of cigarettes each week. Whatever you give up, it should be something that COSTS you something. Give up a habit that costs you money…or maybe your health.
- Rewards: Each month you should reward yourself for reaching your goal. On a piece of paper, write down each month of the year. Beside each month, write down a reward you will give to yourself for reaching that month’s goal. It should be something that doesn’t cost money and something that will enrich your life.
- Penalties: Another tool to keep you on track is to set up penalties for NOT achieving your weekly goal. The simplest rule would be to play catch-up; if you miss a week, you make up for it the next week. Another rule might be that you have to do DOUBLE if you miss a week. For instance, if you miss depositing $7 in week 7, then in week 8, you must deposit $16 (2 times $8). Of if you really want an incentive not to miss a week, you may institute a rule were you have to pay double what you missed PLUS the deposit for that week! You need at least ONE rule as an incentive to keep you on track each week.
- Time: Pick a day each week to remind yourself to deposit the money. Write it on a calendar or schedule it on your phone or tablet.
- Support: Right now, my support in this effort is my cousin, Shawnta. You may pick a friend, family member, co-worker, etc. to help keep you on track. Or you may consider Kassondra’s FB group or one of the others out there in social media. However, if you choose to join one of these groups, my caution to you would be NOT to share personal or financial information online. Don’t reveal too much information about where you live, where you bank, or show your bank statement. The intention of the organizer and most participants may be good but there may be someone else in the group who has a different objective.
- Commitment: Write down your motivation, your penalties, your rewards…do this on a sheet or maybe create a journal to document your year in saving money. If you choose to journal, write down what you are giving up, how you feel about the experience, any frustrations…this could be a valuable lesson for you in saving money, setting goals and achieving them.
I’ve already got the first month covered. And I have a Word document with my penalties, motivation, etc.
So, are you inspired to do this? This may be your only goal you set this year. As I said, I’m partnering with my cousin but if you’d be interested in setting up something on my CLIC life coaching page, let me know. I can send out weekly reminders and help keep participants on track.
With our current economy and a confusing and uncertain financial horizon up ahead, this challenge might be one of the best steps towards your future.
Be Blessed and Stay Committed!