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.

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Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

Stacy Francis is the Founder, CEO and President of Francis Financial, Inc., a Wealth Management and Financial Planning firm. With over 18 years of experience in the financial industry, she is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®), a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ (CDFA™), and a Certified Estate Planning Specialist (CES™). She is the Co-Director of the Association of Divorce Financial Planners’ (ADFP) Greater New York Metro Chapter and a member of the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) and an honoree member of the Private Risk Management Association (PRMA). A nationally recognized financial expert, Stacy has appeared on ABC News, CNBC, CNN, PBS Nightly Business Report, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fine Living Network, and The O’Reilly Factor. Stacy attended the New York University Center for Finance, Law and Taxation.