Keep the momentum with February’s financial to-do list
In this post, I’ll give you 5 helpful tasks to keep you on track with your 2021 financial goals.
So, how are you doing with those 2021 goals? You know, the ones you wrote down in December.
Maybe you started January full of hope and enthusiasm. Maybe you got through some of the tasks on the January financial checklist.
If so, *excellent*!
But, your motivation train might be running out of steam right about now. That’s okay – I’ve got you covered!
For this February financial checklist, I’m going to give you 5 ways you can boost your motivation and refocus on improving your financial health. This to-do list will get you on track and keep moving you forward on your journey toward financial freedom.
Check out all of these monthly financial checklists, one for every month of the year. Each list is meant to help you be more intentional with your finances and achieve the progress you need to reach your goals.
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1. Kickstart (or boost) your emergency fund
Is starting an emergency fund still one of those things you’re going to do *someday*?
If so, make that someday one day in February. Don’t keep putting it off. Save up a $1,000 cushion for those unexpected emergencies.
Or else, like Dave Ramsey says, that emergency will turn into a crisis.
Don’t be lulled into apathy just because all of your financial needs are met right now. If you would have to use a credit card or borrow money for any type of emergency, you are already in trouble.
Make your financial preparedness a priority and start an emergency fund as soon as possible. Start where you’re at and do what you can, even if it’s just $20 a week.
And if you’ve been building your emergency savings for a while, challenge yourself to increase your contributions to it every month. That way, you’ll reach your ideal balance faster, while building the self-discipline to delay gratification.
Related Post: How To Build A 6-Month Emergency Fund In 5 Simple Steps
2. Sell stuff you don’t need
Before you start your spring cleaning and haul stuff off to Goodwill, see if you can sell any household items that are just taking up space.
Go through your closets, cabinets, storage, and garage and pull out everything you haven’t worn, used, thought of, or looked at in the past year.
If anything in the pile is important or significant, find a proper place for it. For everything else, post an ad on Craigslist or a listing on eBay to try to make a little cash.
Even if you don’t think anyone would ever pay a dime for that old lampshade, put it up for sale anyway. You know the old saying: one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.
If you don’t feel like going through the effort of selling online, plan a yard sale. Choose a weekend with good weather, make a few signs, and sell off all that stuff that’s been cluttering up your home.
Then, take your earnings and put them in your emergency fund.
3. Make a debt payoff plan
So you’ve had it with debt. I totally get it. I’ve been in some degree of debt myself ever since I was 17.
Maybe you look at your budget and can’t find any extra money to pay it down, so you end up paying the minimum every month. At that rate, you’ll probably be in debt for the rest of your life.
It’s time to get aggressive. It’s time to stop all the excuses and find a way.
You need to make a plan to get out of debt. Maybe it’s credit cards, or student loans, or borrowed money that you’re chained to. Heck, maybe it’s all of them.
Pick one balance and write out a timeline for paying it off. Throw every spare cent towards that debt. Generate a little extra income with a part-time job or side gig that you can apply towards it.
Set a goal date for when you want it paid off. Challenge yourself to pursue every avenue to meet that deadline. Commit to your plan!
And once that first balance is paid off, focus on the next balance. Create a timeline, set a goal date, and attack that balance with everything you’ve got.
2021 is your year to crush the burden of debt you’ve been carrying for too long. Make a plan, and make it happen!
4. Start using a financial app
If you’ve resisted using technology to help you meet your financial goals, I want to give you a little challenge.
Pick one part of your finances that you would like to see improvement in. Maybe it’s budgeting, or investing, or saving.
Then, find an app that can support you in this area (you can check out these 14 money tools for inspiration). Download the app to your phone and sign up for an account.
Commit to using the app for 30 days to see how it works for you. If you don’t like it, just uninstall the app and try something else.
Open yourself up to the resources that are available to help you with your financial goals. Give yourself time to learn something new, so you can determine whether it’s a good fit or not.
Who knows? You might wonder how you ever got along without it.
5. Open a Roth IRA
Dave Ramsey recommends signing up with your company’s 401(k) and contributing up to the matching percent.
So, if your company will match a maximum of 3%, be sure to have 3% of your check going into it every pay period. That way, you are getting the most free money possible. And free is good. Always take the free.
But if you can give even more, Dave says the best thing to do is put any extra retirement savings into a Roth IRA. This is because a Roth IRA is funded with money that’s already been taxed. So, when you start withdrawing after you’re 59-1/2 or older, you’re not taxed on those withdrawals.
If you’re putting more in your 401(k) than what your employer is matching, consider investing any funds over the match into a Roth IRA instead. This way, you’ll have some income in your retirement years that won’t be reduced by taxes.
Related Post: The 401(k) and the IRA: Which Is Better?
Make your goals a priority
Okay, now you need to start putting yourself first. Make your goals a priority.
Don’t just write down a list – add it to your calendar. Assign each item a date, so you don’t just rely on chance to get them done.
Then – guard your time. Commit to those appointments you’ve made with yourself.
If you want to achieve your goals – whether they’re financial, professional, personal, etc. – you have to make them a priority. Maybe that means getting up an hour earlier. Or locking yourself in a room with a Do Not Disturb sign on it.
It’s not enough to write down what you need to do. If you have kids, or a job, or kids and a job, you know it’s not all just going to happen naturally. You have to schedule the tactics that will help you reach your goals, and make sure you guard that time in your calendar like it’s the priority it is.
Because someday, when the kids are gone and the house is empty, you don’t want to regret not working toward your dream life sooner.
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