One time, Mama Hogan looked at me and said, “Christopher”—she had my attention when she said my full name—“I don’t ever want you to be a ‘been’ brother.” I said, “Huh?” She explained: “A coulda been, shoulda been, woulda been kind of person. You have an opportunity to change some things and make progress.”
Here’s the good news. The new year is like turning a blank page. If you wake up with breath in your lungs, you’ve got an opportunity to do a little bit better than the day before. All you’ve got to do is decide to change. To help you with a fresh start, here are five ways you can reset your money goals in 2021.
What do you want to accomplish by changing your money habits? Is this the year you finally become debt-free? Are you saving up for college for your kids? Are you getting serious about funding your dream retirement? Take some time to dream in high definition about your goals so you can have something concrete to work toward.
A zero-based budget is, hands down, the best way to budget. It’s a method of planning your spending at the beginning of every month so that your total income minus your total expenses equals zero. It means you give every dollar a job to do in the budget. And once you’ve made your budget, I want you to really pay attention and track your spending by keeping a record of your transactions throughout the month.
If you’ve got consumer debt, build up an emergency fund of $1,000 to act as a buffer between you and life. Once you’re out of debt, though, build that emergency fund up to have enough money in savings to cover a 3 to 6 months of expenses. That way, you can pay cash for life’s emergencies instead of turning to debt.
I believe in you. And I know you can make 2021 your best year yet!