A Spring Makeover for Your Finances

by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

Now that spring has officially sprung you might be making plans to stash those dull winter clothes away and reveal your swanky spring digs. Most of us have perfected this yearly wardrobe ritual, but many of us have a lot to learn about cleaning out our money closet.

Trim those spending splurges
Track your expenses for at least one month. Record what you pay right down to the newspaper, bagel and mocha latte you grab on your way to work. If trimming these expenses will save $10 a day, you’ll be saving $300 a month, and be nearly $4,000 ahead by the end of the year.

Spruce up your savings
If you don’t have direct deposit already, talk to your HR department and have 5% to 10% of your paycheck deposited directly to your savings account, mutual fund or retirement account. Saving regularly and using a payroll deduction plan makes saving less painful.

Write your goals in stone. Or at least on paper.
Put your top five goals in writing. Study after study has shown that writing goals makes it much more likely that you will achieve them. Decide which are most important to you, how much you need to accumulate to meet this goal, and then take immediate action to turn your dreams into reality. If you do not start moving towards your goal now, you never will. This can be as simple as going on the Internet and researching houses, loan consolidation or mutual funds.

Make learning about finances a “girl thing.”
Get a group of girls together and have a “Girls Night Out” and go to a Savvy Ladies seminar. Or have a Savvy Ladies seminar come to you at your office or favorite girls gathering place. In no time you will be dishing about where you are stashing your extra cash at the water cooler or offering your latest budgeting tips while sipping that oh-so-cool Cosmo at Light.

Follow these easy steps for a makeover of your money closet.

Stacy Francis is president and CEO of Francis Financial, Inc., a fee-only wealth management practice dedicated to investment advisory services for women, couples and those experiencing divorce. She is also the founder of Savvy Ladies®, a nonprofit organization that educates and empowers women to take control of their finances.

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