February 9, 2015 - 4:36pm -- Anonymous

Each week that passes, we are closer to spring!  I love the beauty of new fallen snow, but I’m anxiously awaiting the songs of the birds with more sunshine and green grass.   This is the time of year that everyone is thinking about their taxes and what they are going to do with their money if they are receiving a refund.  What are you planning for in 2015? 

One of my favorite sayings is “If you don’t control your money, your money will control you.”  If we continue to use the same methods but it’s not helping us reach our goals, then it’s time to re-visit the plan and see what we can change to become more in control.  One of the first things we talk about in class is to set our goals for the year.  Before you say,” Yeah, Melinda, I know I should, but I don’t ever achieve them so why should I do it?” here are some tips… to make your goals successful, make them SMART.

S = specific.  When you are thinking about what you want, be very specific.  Don’t say, “I want to save money”, how much money do you want to save?

M = measurable.  How are you going to break it down to make it work with your money that is available?  Is it $10 a month or $10 a week to achieve your goal? 

A = attainable.  What ways are you going to make this work?  Is it as simple as just paying yourself first before you spend other money or will you need to really look at your spending and find things to give up?

R = realistic.  Sometimes our budget is really tight and it’s hard to think about where I can allocate for one more things.  Talk with your family about what the goal is and make sure everyone is on the same page; we are all going to work on this together.  Can we have a garage sale?  Can we limit eating out?  What can we work together on to make this goal happen?

T = time bound.  When will you achieve your goal?  It might be good to start small, for example I want to save $25 in the next 2 months.  So by April 3, I will have $25 in my savings.  That means $12.50 a month or about $3.12 a week.  Is that doable?  If I can do that in 2 months, then in a year I can have $150 and in five years I can have $750 plus interest. 

When you set your goals in this manner, you can be successful.  Start small and short term so you can build on your success.  Then put one or two words on several cards or post it notes and place your reminder where you will see it every day.  Also put one in your wallet, so that every time you go to spend money, you can ask yourself “is this spending, helping me to reach my goals, do I really need this?”

 If you would like a work sheet or additional materials, please contact me at the office at 330-264-8722 or hill.14@osu.edu.

Melinda Hill is an OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722.