NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Success with Money

Success with Money

                Do you have a money goal you’re trying to reach?  Pay off a loan?  Buy a new car?  Take a trip?   Setting money goals isn’t too difficult but achieving them can be.  The following steps can help in reaching your goal.

                Target one or two problem areas at a time. Once you see where your money goes it is often tempting to try to make drastic changes in your spending habits. Drastic changes rarely last. You are much more likely to be successful if you focus on one or two areas at a time. Work on those areas for several months. Once your new spending habits become an established part of your routine you can tackle additional problem areas.

                Involve everyone in the household. Making changes is hard when you feel like you are the only one putting forth any effort. You are more likely to be successful when everyone in the household participates toward accomplishing the same goal. Talking about the family budget and how to reduce spending for a particular expense will also help to prepare your children to successfully manage their own finances.

                Ask family members for suggestions about how to improve in the targeted areas. Encourage everyone in the household to come up with one or two suggestions for how to cut spending for the targeted expense. Other family members feel like part of the decision-making process, they are more likely to work with you to accomplish what you set out to do.

                Develop your action plan. Review the suggestions your family came up with and select several you can implement. In general, finding cheaper alternatives works better than giving something up all together. For example, rather than giving up a weekly family trip to the movie theater to save money, instead rent a DVD, make your own popcorn, and watch a movie at home.

                Post your plan where everyone in the household will see it. Post your action plan as a constant reminder to everyone that you are all working towards a common goal.  Keeping the plan in sight helps everyone to stay focused on the task at hand.

                Evaluate your plan and your overall spending periodically. Every few weeks sit down with family members to see how you are doing. Is your plan working? Are changes needed to make it work better? If you have been successful, is it time to develop a new action plan for another expense or problem area?

                Make sure everyone in the family enjoys the rewards! Decide upfront what you will do with the money your family saves by reducing spending for a particular expense. Family members will be more committed to the task when they know what the reward will be and how the savings will be used.

                Making the effort now and getting into the habit of monitoring your spending can pay off not just today, but for many years to come.

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