We love the New Year in Debt Free Diva land because this time of year is a constant reminder to renew, reflect, & restart. The trick is to build enough momentum to carry you beyond the fits and starts laying in wait throughout the rest of the year.
Let’s start 2012 off on solid ground. Every month, you hold a finance committee meeting (even if yours is a committee of 1). The first of the year is a good time for an annual strategy meeting (again, even if quorum is 1).
This strategy meeting should accomplish two high level objectives:
1. Break down your goals into action items with accountability markers (or deadlines). I’ll post more on creating S.M.A.R.T. goals next.
- I like to use quarterly milestones and realistically assign my goal completion to one of four quarters.
- Developing action items for each goal is a great way to turn a concept into concrete marching orders. This means you spend some time identifying exactly what steps are essential to accomplishing each goal.
2. Review any routine financial commitments.
- Shop your insurance plans to make sure the rates are still the most competitive. Are your limits still applicable to the insured items? Are you properly insured? Are you over insured? Make adjustments to deductibles based on your savings levels. insweb.com is a good place to start the aforementioned comparison.
- Re-evaluate any subscriptions and autopay commitments. We give vendors a license to debit our accounts monthly. Prices rise quietly under the cover of an innocuous email. Stay on top of every entity with their hand in your pockets. Reconsider the impact of subscriptions on your debt free journey. Every penny redirected to debt is time shaved off a life in servitude!
- Reduce the fees. Banks are looking for ways to separate you from your money. Make sure you are not handing over unnecessary fees for the privilege of housing your cash. If you have trial interest rates on credit cards, make sure you know when that trial period expires.
- Review your credit report. Peruse your credit report and correct any inaccuracies; even small things like name misspellings or incorrect addresses. Do you have outstanding bad debts? You’ll find out when you access a free credit report at annualcreditreport.com. When you know better you can do better.
What is your #1 goal for 2012?