This post is part of a sponsored collaboration with Bloggin’ Mamas and the Florida Prepaid College Board as part of the Florida Prepaid Mama’Bassador Program. As always, all thoughts, opinions, and text are my own.
Each January I take a good hard look at our family finances. I look for interest rates that have increased but gone unnoticed, utility/service bills that have crept up during the year, and various other expenditures that can be cut altogether (I’m embarrassed to tell you how many apps I pay for that the kids haven’t played with in months). I typically find hundreds of dollars that can be saved…except, that money never really gets saved. Instead, it ends up staying in our checking account and spent elsewhere. Twelve months later I know that I technically “saved” money, but I have nothing to show for it.
So this year as I sit down to review my finances, I’m not just looking at ways that I can cut spending, I’m focusing on where to channel the money I’m not spending so I will have something to show for it at the end of the year. If you’re looking for some saving goals for 2018, here are a few ideas:
Set a short term goal. This is the fun one! First, identify something that you’d like to spend money on this year. For me, that’s a family vacation late this year, but it could be anything (down payment for a new car, a specific item or collectible, anything!). Next, figure out how much you’ll need to reach that goal and try to identify a bill that’s around the same amount. We recently cancelled our home phone, and all of that money (nearly $100 per month!) will be going to our short term goal. Remember, this is only a short term goal and it should be reached within the year. Reaching your goal and spending money you’ve saved for a particular purchase can serve as great motivation if you’ve plateaued in other savings areas.
Save for the Future. Student loan debt has reached $1 trillion among Americans. That’s trillion, with a “t”. Luckily, Florida Prepaid can help! With a variety of plans for every budget, Florida Prepaid is the way to plan for your child’s future and set them up to be debt free upon college graduation. Even better, by enrolling you lock in college prices, so you know exactly what you’re going to spend regardless of how much the cost of education may increase by the time your kids attend.
The price of the 1-year Florida University Plan is actually so affordable that simply cutting cable, eliminating your interest on high-rate cards by transferring balances to low or no interest cards, or cancelling that gym membership you haven’t used in months – but haven’t managed to find time to cancel – could make significant dent the monthly payment (payments for this plan depend on your child’s birth date, find out what your payment would be by visiting Florida Prepaid). And right now you can jump start the process by saving $25 off the application fee. But hurry! Open enrollment ends February 28, 2018!
Be Ready for an Emergency. Did you know that you’re supposed to have 6 months of expenses in an emergency fund? That can sound like a pretty daunting figure, but saving doesn’t have to be hard. If you’re able to eliminate just one bill this year, try diverting that money that you would be spending into your emergency fund. If that doesn’t work for you, try saving just 1 dollar for the first week of the year, $2 for the second week, $3 for the third week, etc. Using that method will add over $1,300 to your emergency fund by the end of the year. To save more, you could try having a percentage of your income automatically withdrawn from your account on the day that your paid so the money goes directly to your rainy day fund and won’t be missed.
Have you set any savings goals for 2018? What are they?