One of the most frequent items people list in their New Year’s resolutions is “get control of my spending.” However, good intentions can slip away pretty quickly. Not many people love to make a budget or do financial planning for the future. It can sound complicated, especially if math is not your thing. If your child’s special needs put pressure on your resources, financial anxiety can make a tough situation worse.
Small Steps, Big Results
Financial experts say that starting small is the most effective way to make progress. You can get a grip on your spending patterns without creating a detailed budget. The most important first step is to put together an overall financial picture of your basic monthly income and expenses. Just seeing where your money goes can suggest ways to spend less. Does your internet bill look too big? There might be a way to change providers or downscale to fewer services. Surprised at how much you spend per month on workday lunches? You can try bringing lunch for a week or two and see how it goes.
Track More, Stress Less
The ability to track what you spend can actually lower your anxiety about money and help you start developing goals based on your priorities. It could be saving for a big purchase or reducing your debts. It could be having a cushion of funds on hand to cover unexpected expenses such as car repair or a medical bill. Information is power. It gives you more control over your life. Check out our “My Financial Picture” worksheet to help you create a financial picture for you and/or your family.