January Money Challenge

The holidays are over. The New Year’s resolutions are fresh in our mind. That means only one thing!

It’s time for the January Money Challenge!

I had a hard time thinking about what the challenge should be for this month. If you’re anything like me, your wallet might have taken a bigger hit in December than you meant for. You’re also probably feeling a little stuffed and sick of eating cookies and eggnog.

So what should a good money goal be for the month of January? In the past, my usual plan is to work on eating through the pantry and freezer. But that doesn’t really work too well for me, personally, this year since we just bought a new fridge and I was forced to clean out the freezer in preparation for that.

If it sounds good to you though – check out my post on the pantry challenge and let me know how it works for you.

No, I need something different this January.

I’ve been reading a lot about resolutions and habit tracking and all of that good stuff. The philosophy of why we do or do not stick to any goals we set for ourselves is really interesting to me.

One of the things I read about was that the way we phrase our resolutions can have help determine whether or not we will succeed or fail at them. Here’s a great article that spells that out for you, but the gist of it is – we need to phrase our resolutions positively in order to make them stick.

So according to my research, my resolution should not be “Post in my blog every single weekday in 2018.”

That’s setting me up for failure. That’s just really hard to do. I’m only a single person and while OneSheet helps out sometimes, that’s still a lot of writing.

Instead, I should positively phrase my resolution like this: “Each week, I will spend 4 hours working on my blog.”

Going back just two days, this is a SMART goal. It’s specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time oriented. It’s pretty easy to split 4 hours up throughout an entire week, too, so it’s not crazy or anything. And it’s exciting because my blog is something I want to work on, so hopefully it won’t be too difficult of a resolution.

But Basic Bitch that’s not a fucking money challenge. Why are you wasting our time?

Yeah, okay, you’re right. That’s not a money challenge. That is my personal New Year’s resolution. So, here’s your money challenge for the month of January.

I want you to start a budget spreadsheet. If you already have one, great. If you don’t have one, you can borrow mine. But I want you to spend 30 minutes each week for the next four weeks working on this budget spreadsheet.

The purpose of this goal is to make sure that we’re starting 2018 with a clear financial picture of where we stand. Only when we know that, only when we understand exactly where our money is going every month can we start to make decisions about if we want to work on saving more for retirement this year. If we want to shoot for paying off our student loans. If we want to stop going to Starbucks every morning.

This accurate picture is IMPORTANT. Because in February, we’re actually going to set up a real goal for ourselves – but we cannot do that until we’ve been really honest with ourselves and our financial situation.

Can you do it? Are you in?

 

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