There is no time better than the start of a new year to initiate a new plan. The new year brings a clean slate. It is a whole new playing field where you have the chance to accomplish things you pushed to the back burner in the past. The new year brings new opportunities, where you can push yourself to the next level - whether it's your physical condition, your career, your own personal development, or your finances.
What it takes is a little inspiration and a lot of dedication. Sometimes, inspiration comes from small places - like realizing how much money you truly spent on the holidays, or stepping onto the scale and noticing the holidays did no good for the numbers. Sometimes, inspiration takes an Aha! moment.
To get you inspired, I have compiled a couple of financial stories - success stories - to show just how far a little inspiration can get you. If you have been dreaming of starting your own business, or just saving more money, now is the time! Check out these inspirational stories to start your 2015 off on the right foot! You're not as far from your goals as you might think!
"I realized...I'd be paying student loans at age 51." - Chenell Tull, 27, e-business coordinator
The Aha! moment. Chenell had been listening to podcasts about finances - specifically, about debt. At the time, she was about $50,000 in debt from her student loans. But, she was making the minimum payments, so she wasn't worried. However, when she learned about fixed vs. variable interest, she panicked. She used a debt calculator, and realized that she would be paying back on student loans until she was 51 years old, with potential that the loan amount would increase!
The plan of action. She analyzed what she was spending on eating out and socializing, and realized that it was excessive. "Right away, I cut 75% from this budget and gradually worked toward my current output of $40 a month on 'fun.' I remind myself that sacrificing now will allow me to live the life I want in the future." Since March, Chenell was able to pay $9,942 - or $6,742 more than if she didn't change her attitude about debt repayment.
"I realized....I was overspending on my car" - Brian Millburn, 30, college lecturer
The Aha! moment. Brian realized he was dishing out a large portion of his income on his car. Normally an avid cyclist, the harsh winter interrupted his routine. In the winter, he drove his car to and from work, and came home frustrated. Not only were the traffic hold-ups irritating, but so was the cost of gas, maintenance, inspection registration and insurance.
The plan of action. Brain decided enough was enough. He was sick of dumping his dollars on a vehicle, so he switched to an electronic bicycle, which cost about $1,500. Investing in the e-bicycle was a good choice for Brian because he to him, there was less stress involved and less financial output in the future. Side trips after work - like to the grocery store - ended up being a money-saver for Brian. "I've learned to be more prudent and conscious of my spending, making sure I can fit all my purchases into my backpack."
Have you had an Aha! moment that helped you to make a smart financial decision? Share your story! I would love to hear it!
Happy New Year!