Financial intentions include implementing lifestyle changes to align with your goals. Intentions involve the act of thinking more deeply about what you want your life to look like in the future. When looking at your finances and deciding what intentions you want to create, look at the bigger picture. Financial intentions will help you stay motivated with your finances and will help you to think positively about your money.
Your financial health
Setting financial intentions can help you with your overall financial health. If you don’t feel good about this aspect of your life, it will cause stress, which will impact your overall wellbeing. Money is something that you have to deal with your whole life and is, therefore, something you want to control, not to have money control you. Poor financial well-being can interfere with all aspects of your life and by establishing financial intentions, you’re safeguarding your financial health thereby minimizing stress.
Establishing financial intentions
Try creating a money mantra for yourself. A mantra is a short powerful statement that helps you feel good about what you do. By creating a money mantra you’re reminding yourself of your financial goals. This can help you remain focused and get you back on track as need be. Your mantra can be something as simple as “There is great reward in being good with my money”.
When setting your financial intentions, you also want to think about what areas you want to change in your finances and why. This could be increasing your credit score, or working on paying down your debt. Once you’ve determined the financial area you want to focus on, think about why you want to change it. Do you want to pay down debt so you can be financially free? Do you want to increase your credit score to qualify for a big purchase loan? Once you have your goal and your why, you’ll be able to focus on that financial intention.
It’s important to be mindful of your money goals. Thinking about your spending before you spend is a great way to be mindful. Many people spend without intentionally thinking about it. If you see something you’d like to buy, try the 24-hour rule. Instead of impulsively purchasing it, think about it for 24 hours. If you really want it after that time period, then go ahead and get it. Often you’ll forget about the item or why you wanted it so badly after the 24 hours and this is a sure sign that you didn’t really need it in the first place.
Make your intentions SMART
Making your financial intentions SMART will make you more likely to achieve them. Having a SMART goal or intentions means it’s Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. By using this method you’ll be able to see the progress you’re making, which will help you feel more motivated. This method keeps you more organized and focused. You’ll have a more specific plan for your financial plans instead of keeping things vague. For example, instead of saying “I want to save money” your intention should be “I want to save $1,000 by March 1st for new shades in my house.” By having that exact amount, specific date, and reason, you’re more likely to achieve this goal.
Read More: How To Make Your SMART Goal, SMARTER
Hold yourself financially accountable
Financial accountability is the responsibility for the way money is used and managed. The best way to hold yourself financially accountable is to have a budget in place. A budget is a plan and helps keep your finances in check. A budget also lets you see where your money is going and that helps you make financial decisions. There are so many ways you can keep a budget nowadays. You can always handwrite your budget if you’re more of a visual person or you can go digital by downloading a budgeting app to help you customize your budget. Many apps will let you connect your bank account and credit card to it so it can automatically notify you if you’re going over budget in a certain category. Turn on push notifications so you can be alerted right away if you’re budget is going off track. Starting a budget, like anything else in life, can be difficult. Once you incorporate your budget into your routine, you won’t be able to imagine your life without a budget.
Read More: Budgeting For Every Dollar
Not only should you have a budget to be financially accountable, but you should also track your spending. Track your spending each week to see what you’re spending money on. Then, at the end of the month get an overview of what you’ve spent the most money on and determine if there are any changes that could be made. By tracking your expenses you’ll be able to see if there’s anything you’re spending money on that you might not even realize. You could still be subscribed to a monthly subscription you don’t use anymore. Cancel these and save that money every month and it will add up to greater savings.
Be mindful with your money
Practicing money mindfulness is another way you can stay on top of your financial intentions for the year. Money mindfulness is the state of being aware of your money and being conscious of your spending. It’s also noticing what you’re doing with your money and feeling good about the money choices you’re making. In order to be in control of your finances you need to be aware of your spending. By practicing money mindfulness you’ll be aware if you’re spending as it is happening and then be in a position to gradually change your money habits.
You can practice money mindfulness by pausing your spending. As mentioned earlier, think about what you’re spending before you spend. Try to only bring cash with you when going out with friends or shopping at a store. When you’re out you’ll only be able to spend the amount of cash you brought. Leave the credit cards at home so you’re not tempted to spend more than you budgeted for.
You can also be mindful with your money by planning your purchases. Make an effort to plan your meals for the week and go to the store to get those specific items. By having your meals planned and ingredients already in the house, you’re less likely to spend extra money on take-out food. Practicing money mindfulness is easier than you may think, and once you’ve implemented these small lifestyle changes you won’t be able to live without them.
Setting financial intentions and practicing money mindfulness are two significant ways to get your finances on track this year. Check-in with your overall financial status every three months, this includes checking your savings and debt. You should also run your credit report during this time. Checking your credit report will alert you to any fraudulent charges on your accounts. Fraudulent charges cannot only put you in debt, but they can also ruin your credit score. Re-evaluate your budget every month to see if there needs to be any changes made to your spending. Having financial intentions will help you make the right financial lifestyle changes you need to put you in control of your own finances.