What's Next
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What's Next

At the end of each year I really like to write a Christmas letter because that helps me to review the past months.  Looking at the calendar reminds me of the events that have occurred as well as some of the things that have been accomplished (or failed) and putting everything in writing seems to be a good way to summarize.

Over the Christmas holidays, I tend to watch videos that challenge me for the upcoming year.  It is always good to gain perspectives of those who focus on finances, precious metals, cryptocurrencies, and other investments.  I certainly don’t invest (or believe) in everything that is suggested but like to learn about trends and possibilities.  All of these areas involve investing your money in things that you hope will grow over time.

I am really fascinated, however, by those who do video presentations about how they save money.  Some explain how they paid off a mortgage in 5 years or fed a family of four on $20.00 a week.  Amazing

Here are some of the strategies and principals that they embrace:

  1. Get rid of all debt. Borrowing means that you are spending more than you earn and are willing to pay interest to others to maintain this lifestyle.  When you buy things and then put them on credit, the cost of them increases dramatically. Stop going into debt and attack the debt you do have with a vengeance!
  2. Be willing to sacrifice. It can be difficult to say “no” to people and events but those who are determined to pay off debt usually choose no or low-cost ways to live.
  3. Buy second-hand. If you shop bargain rather than retail, you will usually make excellent purchases for a fraction of the cost.  You may be surprised but you can find clothing, furniture, tools, and other household items are often still in the box or only slightly used.
  4. Repair rather than replace. Often you can learn how to fix an item with a little effort and some ingenuity.  In fact, sometimes you might even find or purchase an item for a small price, fix it up and then sell it for a good profit.
  5. Look for freebies. Use your library rather than purchasing books, movies and music.  Visit a park rather than buying an expensive concert ticket.  Use the gifts you have received from others in the past rather than merely storing them in a cupboard.
  6. Take control of your eating habits. Inventory the food in your house.  Shop with a list.  Look for sale items.  Use coupons.  Learn new recipes.  Make and carry coffee in a thermos.  Stop eating out and going through drive-throughs.
  7. Write down every cent that you spend in a book every day. Reality hits when you actively do this rather than just waiting until the bank statement arrives and then wondering what happened.
  8. Look for less expensive services and reduce your output. Cancel memberships, subscriptions and eliminate entertainment packages.  Turn off lights, unplug appliances and reduce the number of loads of laundry/dishes as much as possible.
  9. Use cash. When your pocket is empty then you know that you are done spending for the day!
  10. Make a specific plan to wisely divide your discretionary money into categories with limits for things you view as necessities. Some people use jars or envelopes to specify specific amounts for specific expenses.
  11. Set clear goals that include plans for what you will do with money you have saved from your frugality. (Hopefully, you will put savings against debt to reduce it).
  12. Learn from others. You too can watch videos on the internet to garner wisdom from those who have expertise.  Also, ask family and friends what they do to reduce expenses and/or increase their income with a side hustle.

Well, by now you know that I strongly believe in writing things down and so I confess that by the first of January I had a list of reasonable, achievable goals for the upcoming months.

It isn’t that hard to do this.  Just review the past year. Think about what you want to change and then make a written plan.

Happy New Year, everyone!

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