Spend Less, Save More in 2016!

Happy New Year to everyone! As we embark on 2016, you may have created a list of resolutions or committed to activities that will add some value to your lives. I wanted to start this year with good habits: eat better, continue to exercise and be more conscious of my spending habits.

Over the last months of 2015 I spent more than I typically would. Feeling slightly guilty on the last day of the year I decided to join a January 31 day Money Diet.

I randomly stumbled upon this website btw.  It encourages a 31day break from non-essential spending. Most of the spending that I am trying to recover from are non-essential items. I am not one to make a budget of ANY kind and that’s because I have certain checks and balances in place to ensure that I don’t come close to exhausting my resources and that I am saving adequately.

For a financial overview, I like using Mint.com to keep track of my monthly money activities. I don’t log in daily but every few weeks I browse to make sure monies in and monies out are accurately reflected. There are other similar websites now which, with your approval, will gather your financial detail into a one view portfolio. Find a website you are comfortable with. Most do have excellent security system, but I like Mint.com because it does not allow direct deposits/withdrawals  (move money around) but you can set up bill payments. There is also an app for your phone which makes it very easy to check on the go.

 On my desk and in my purse, I have a Filofax planner where I track daily spending and also keep log of my bill payments. There are apps for this type of manual logging as well but I am an old fashion kinda gal who still carries a checkbook around, so I like to write things down on paper.  As an independent contractor, sometimes I am on multiple assignments, so also in my planner, I track  payment from various payees. It’s helps me cross check and make sure payments are accurate.

Since it’s easier to spend, I dedicate twice as much effort to save. I started my 401k plan with my first real job many years ago after I graduated college. I did not contribute in medical school and resumed again once in residency. My residency program had a few sponsored sessions with financial companies who provided info on investment opportunities (outside of an employer sponsored plan).  Terms such as stocks, bonds, municipal bonds, IRA, 401k, tax sheltering and mutual funds were often uttered during these sessions.

I am no financial expert, and despite countless readings of investment books and magazines,  I had to hire a financial planner to setup my accounts/portfolios. This really took the burden off my shoulders. I communicate with my financial planner frequently. He gets me, and he does not make any financial decisions without a sit down and a long long discussion.  If you seek an accountant or financial planner, I recommend that you feel comfortable with him/her,  they understand and respect you as a person and also your goals.

So, back to my January 31day Money diet challenge.  Each day of the challenge I will receive a task via email to complete.

JMD

January Money Diet

Day 1 started with giving 31 things away. These could be things I no longer needed, I can spend time with someone, offer a back rub, or teach something..etc. So far I have given away 1 physical item, + time. This will be a month long endeavor.

Today is day 7, and so far I have only purchased groceries this year. However, I am compiling a list of nonessential things I so badly want to buy or do. I.e- A much needed pedicure, waxing, beauty items..etc. The struggle is real!

 I will report back later in the month to give an update on the challenge.
Happy Savings! 😉
 ~Citrine