COLUMNISTS

Have you kept your resolutions?

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Farm Forum

Once again it is the time of the year when everyone has made New Year’s resolutions. Have you kept yours so far? History shows that your resolutions usually die a quiet death sometime in February or March. Perhaps this is the year to re-think how you set them!

The key: resolutions should be very clear and specific.

For example, you made a resolution that you were going to get out of debt. A better way to state that so you would keep it going would be to say – When I pay my credit card bills, I am going to pay everything I charged during the month plus and extra $100 each month until paid off. Or better yet, if possible – I am going to pay my credit card bill in full each month.

Another example, you made a resolution that you were going to save more money. A better way to state that would be that you are going to increase your 401k contribution by 1% of your income. Or better yet, say I am going to save $20/week by bringing your lunch to work at least 4 days a week and actually depositing the $20 in your savings account every week.

You may recognize this strategy as part of the SMART goal-setting strategy that I refer to quite often. Resolutions or any goal should be Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, and Time-defined. Setting financial goals is an important first step in developing an effective spending plan and managing money. Without goals, impulse purchases can take over and make it impossible to save for future purchases.

Check out my Smart Goals publication at http://bit.ly/19ERkHG. There are also lots of other resources on improving your finances in 2014 at iGrow.org under Healthy Families/Personal & Family Finances. Set the stage now to move forward in 2014 and have a Happy New Year!

Reach Karen Slunecka at 605-626-2870 or karen.slunecka@sdstate.edu.