A lot of people talk about New Year’s Resolutions around this time of year. I think New Year’s Resolutions are great. However, resolutions are rarely held through the entire year. They’re more like “January Resolutions” or even “10 Days of January Resolutions.” You’re not going to remember yours by Valentine’s Day anyway. So why do you even make a resolution?
I’m recommending a new strategy- the New Month’s Resolution, or even better yet, the New Month’s Theme. 12 Themes/Resolutions per year that you can focus on and build upon. Here are some of mine, leave me a comment of what you think of this idea and what your resolutions and themes are going to be. Don't forget to share this with your friends on Facebook and follow me on Twitter (@JeffLeonard12)
Budget Management AND Monitoring
January is going to be the budget month. My January resolution is to reflect back on 2016 and see what I did wrong in finance. I already know that through 11 months, I’m cash flow negative. We had a baby on the 31st of December in 2015 and the expenses from that ate up all of my overflow cash in the first quarter of this year. At the end of the year, I had $6500 in hospital bills and I ended the year spending $3000 more than I made. I’m just like you, we’re learning this as we go. I’m going to focus on 2017’s budget and make sure that I don’t end up cash flow negative for the month of January.
How I calculate my cash flow:
I use Chase bank and I have all of my bank statements online. I log into my account with a pencil and paper handy.
At the top of the statement are the 4 numbers that I need: Deposits, Checks, Debits, and Electronic Withdrawals.
I take the “Deposits” number and write them in the “Income” section. Doesn’t matter if this was gift money, returns from taxes, gambling returns, or salary deposits- it’s all income.
Then I add the other 3 sections together to get my “Expenses” section.
I subtract the Expenses from the Income each month so I see how I did month to month.
Then I add all the income and all the expenses for the year and do the same subtraction to see how I did annually.
Kevin O’Leary (the guy from Shark Tank) says you should know your “90 Day Number” which is this exercise for the last 90 days. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/5-financial-resolutions-2017-kevin-o-leary
My wife is amazing. She cleans, does the laundry, irons, and makes dinner (and breakfast on Saturdays). She does the grocery shopping, gift shopping, and she manages the house. My relationship with her is the most important relationship in my life. I’ll take a month to focus on her and her needs. I’m not saying that I’ll rub her feet every night after work and make dinner and do all the chores… she and I both know that those things will never happen. But for the month, I’m going to do my best to understand her needs and meet them. I know she has bad days every month, but for the month of February I’m going to try my best to turn those bad days around for her. I want to make her the happiest wife of all time… for one money.
I’m not a terribly unhealthy person, but I’m also not incredibly healthy either. If you’ve read any of my other posts you know that I like 2 things, beer and football. But for at least one month, my theme is going to be getting healthier. I’m going to work with my buddy Vince Shirey at Shireylife.com (Shirey Life Youtube). He’s a health coach and he goes to my church… kind of a punk, but he’s healthy. I use some supplements from his brand and I’ve actually seen some incredible results. I took 7-Keto for 3 months (along with minor dietary changes) and I lost 10 pounds. Then I started on Creatine and Muscle Synergy and I put back on 8 pounds of muscle in the next 90 days. I work out about 2-5 days per week (who are we kidding? I work out 2-3 days per week on a good week). These supplements have helped give me results faster. I couldn’t have done it without Vince.
I’m not adventurous. I’m actually very conservative when it comes to adventure. But for some reason, in June I like to do crazy things. I’m sure it’s because I live in Ohio and it seems like winter is from October through May around here. June is the perfect month to do something adventurous. Last year I did something that you won’t think is adventurous, but I thought it was- I got my license to perform a marriage ceremony and then I performed a marriage ceremony. It was fun and made me a little nervous, but it was a fun nervous. I enjoyed that adventure… it didn’t hurt that the ceremony was on the beach in Destin, Florida either. I’m going to keep pushing myself to be adventurous. I’m sure I’ll never do anything that you think is a true adventure, but for me, adventure is really about doing something I’ve never done before. Not only did I perform a marriage ceremony, but I also started writing a blog. You can check it out here (www.stopbeingdumb.net) – damn it Jeff- that’s the link to the site I’m reading right now… sorry, it was too easy.
Did you know that August is one of the least productive months of the year according to http://fixthepitch.pellucid.com? I’m planning on turning that around… at least for myself. So for the month of August I’m going to look for cost savings everywhere I can. At work, I’m a Financial Analyst and Advisor to the VP of Operations. I work on a regular basis to find expense savings for his P&L. This is not my main job focus, but it’s a decent chunk and pays huge dividends. So, in one month (probably August), I’ll be hitting that piece of my job really hard.
I’m going to focus on contract negotiations at work (7 Steps to Flawless Negotiations)
I’m going to live frugally at home (21 Top Tips for a Frugal Life)
August is definitely not going to be a Cash-Flow Negative month for me.
A theme that you may hear a lot is that people want to count their blessings, or be thankful. I’m no different as I have been blessed beyond measure. I have a great family, an amazing job, and I get to lay next to an amazing woman every night. There needs to be time spent every year (if not every day) to reflect on all the great things we have. I am reminded of the song by Montgomery Gentry called “Lucky Man” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0iEVjXTkpY). There’s a line at the end of the first verse that says “I look around at what everyone has, and I forget about all I’ve got.” We all do it. Take time this year to remember all of the great things you have in life. Maybe you don’t have an amazing life, but there is good in it- you at least have an internet connection, right? You have food and water? You have a friend or two? Family? There are great things in your life. Be thankful for them.
Review the Year
One of the themes this year for me will be a review. I’m not great with scheduling, but I’m thinking this will happen in December. Take time to review the year. What financial decisions did you make? How did they end up? Should to shy away from those decisions in 2018 or repeat them? What relationship decisions did you make? Were they the right decisions? Are you spending too much time with someone, or too little time with someone? Can you fix it? Reflect on the year, hopefully it’s going to be a good one!
What are your themes going to be for 2017?