By Carlo Versano
With a new year upon us, what better time to finally make that resolution to get your financial house in order?
Ashley Feinstein Gerstley, author of "The 30-Day Money Cleanse," joined Cheddar Wednesday with some tips for doing just that.
Week 1: Reconnect with your spending Gerstley likes to divide all expenses into three buckets: needs, frivolous, and not sure. Then she says to let go of everything in the "frivolous" bucket for a week, and spend on the rest in cash. "Most of us have no idea where our money is going," she said, and the best way to change that is to use good old-fashioned cash when making purchases. She also instructs people to keep a journal ー in longhand, preferably ー to help raise awareness of what's going out the door versus what's coming in.
Week 2: Create new habits "I hate the word budget," Gerstley said. So she devised a new term ー "happiness allocation" ー to replace it. This week is all about building that happiness allocation. Test three free or inexpensive strategies for fulfilling any experience-based goals and experiment with alternative ways to fulfill the "frivolous" needs you got rid of in week one. Don't underestimate the power of "frugal joys" either ー what Gerstley calls anything like a good cup of coffee to a Netflix binge-watch to a warm bath or an outdoor walk.
Week 3: Align spending with values This is the point at which you create your ultimate values statement. Then rank each expense from your budget ー er, your happiness allocation ー according to its inherent value. From there, examine the opportunity cost of each and every expense. If you put saving for a big vacation at the top of your value chart, then you can better prioritize what you can eliminate in terms of value to save for it.
Week 4: Create systems for success Now is the time to review your most coveted goals and the motivation for your money cleanse. Put together a "dream team" of supporters ー friends, family, your spouse ー anyone who will help you stay on track. And finally, mitigate the environmental toxins in your life: the people, places, and things that don't help you reach your goals. That's good advice for the new year ー and all year.
For full interview click here.