An open letter to myself, by anonymous
So 2016 flew by in a flash and we’re entering a new year with a fresh start. When it comes to resolutions, this isn’t the year I’m going to try to lose weight or save up to go backpacking in Europe. Instead, I am going to work on something I’ve avoided for as long as I possibly could: my money situation. It’s not the most glamorous and definitely not the most fun thing to resolve to change, but it’s about time I stop lying to myself and whip things into shape.
Here are some ways I can take action to be more financially responsible in 2017:
Tackle my debt.
First things first: I’ll need to stop pretending that I have no debt and conveniently shoving it underneath the proverbial rug. I need to stop resigning myself to the idea that I may go to my grave with my debt, and the collectors will go looking for me when I am six feet under. Let’s be honest: I will only get rid of my debt if I stare at it square in the face and do something about it. I’ll need to come up with a solid repayment plan, and cut back on the spending. Essentially 2016 will resemble less like Sex and the City and more like Two Broke Girls.
Clean up my credit
This goes hand in hand with getting a handle on my debt. I’ll probably need to order a copy of my credit report—I don’t want to get dinged from errors, after all. And of course I’ll need to make it a priority to pay my bills on time. It also wouldn’t hurt to look into ways I can improve my not-so-stellar credit score.
Stick to a budget
There are way too many budgeting apps out there for me to fail at this. I know there will be times when I fall off the wagon, but I don’t know where I can cut back until I start tracking my spending. I will make an effort to monitor my progress at least once a month and make changes as necessary.
Say “no” to more social outings
I mean, how many late-night binges at bars and concerts do I really need to go to before I take a peep at the balance on my account? Nobody wants to be a wet blanket, but at the end of the day, I’m the one that has to pay. Maybe I’ll step up and be honest with my friends, and let them know I’m trying to save money. There’s nothing wrong with being the one to suggest equally cool yet cheaper things to do.
Take more public transit
When it comes to car expenses, my set of wheels doesn’t only guzzle gas, it requires maintenance, repairs, and insurance. Sure, I could look into cheaper auto insurance policies, but in the meantime I’ll make a conscious effort to bike, walk, or take public transit more often.
Pay myself first
And what I mean by this isn’t weekly trips to the corner liquor mart in hopes that I’ll win the upcoming Powerball jackpot. This means doing what I can to make sure my long-term goals aren’t buried underneath every day demands. I can start by creating a savings plan, finding a buddy to keep me in check, or to set up an automatic deposit into my savings account to sock away say, 1 percent of my income every three months. I
Practice more restraint with my Starbucks Card
Instead of reloading my Starbucks card every week, I can skip the latte and muffin and make a go of the coffee at the office. I mean, is it really a good thing with the baristas know your name and your usual order? That’s a telltale sign of being a java junkie, right?
This year, I’ll focus on improving my money situation. Next year: Mount Everest.
Editor’s note: This post was previously published on January 25, 2016 and has been updated.