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Is now the right time to start planning your 2021?

By: Ellie Burgueno

This is the time of year when marketing departments begin looking at their budgets for the coming year, and I think all people should do the same: start planning for the coming 2021. But with Covid-19 still running rampant and a presidential election on the horizon, planning for the coming year is well… unplannable, really. However, not planning is far worse.

Anyone’s number one goal should be planning to get complete control of their money or personal finances, especially with these uncertain times that seem endless.

I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a rough year. I’m not even sure rough is enough to describe what 2020 has become for all of us.

I’m sure you, like I, had many plans at the beginning of the year, that may have been prepared since near the end of 2019 that were totally ruined by the pandemic. For us, from several business projects to monthly distribution in print to our annual events, many of those were either ruined or had to be postponed or adapted to the current times.

It feels like we’ve been just sitting to see the year passed by us without being able to do anything, and the entire world just couldn’t catch a break all year. I’m sure most of us would like to forget that 2020 even happened. We feel it was a total waste!

But even when this year may have been crap, it doesn’t mean 2021 has to follow the same pattern.

With some planning and some hope, you can make 2021 your best financial year yet, and to help you a little bit more with that, I’m coming with my new book in personal finance, dedicated to women, but which can be used by any person interested in developing the skills of thinking big, learning about entrepreneurship, business planning, budgeting, credit, investment and preparing for difficult times with a contingency plan titled: “Hey Girls You Can Also Become Badass Money Makers” which you’ll be able to purchase on Amazon.com or Audible.com very soon, before the end of the year, but I also want to share with you a few tips to start planning for 2021.

  1. Invest in Yourself

In 2020, the job market may have been one of the things that changed the most.

I found during this pandemic, employment has fallen into four separate categories. We have people that:

  • Are still employed
  • Are still employed but are now working from home
  • Were furloughed or laid off but were able to find a different job
  • Were furloughed or laid off and are trying to make ends meet on unemployment

Regardless of what category you fall in, my heart goes out to you. All four categories experienced major changes and it has not been an easy ride for anyone.

One silver lining of this year is people are starting to think and rethink where they currently are in life.

That means there is no better opportunity to invest in yourself than now.

Investing in yourself is like investing financially. The best time to start was yesterday, but the second-best time to start is right now.

The best part is that investing in yourself does not have to cost money. Some just cost a little bit of time.

There are blogs for finances, fitness, coding, baking, cooking, music (learning to play any instrument), and just about any other skill you’d like to learn, in addition to the multiple certificates available online for a great price, like some I personally took with Yale University about Strategic Marketing and Social Media Skills.

Depending on your goals, taking an online class to learn a new skill will make you more marketable for a potential promotion or new job.

You can spend a little bit of money to buy some books to learn some new financial skills like budgeting or investing. Also, listing to some TED talks for some inspiration is strongly recommended.

You can find YouTube channels and blog posts to help you get or stay fit as well.

Decide what you want to do to invest in yourself, and then go for it. Don’t waste any more time.

  1. Start a Budget—But Not Just Any Old Budget

Budgeting is the root system of your financial tree. That’s why I included this topic in my upcoming book “Hey Girls You Can Also Become Badass Money Makers.”

Creating a Budgeting System focuses on helping you build a budget that is right for you.

It’s not following someone else’s blueprint that they have for their life. It’s creating your own blueprint and following that.

The last thing you want to do is budget the same exact way someone says you should.

Create your own budget and watch how easy and natural it is to stick with. You can do that in five simple steps.

  1. Start with the basics. Gather your income and expenses and see how much cash flow you have right now.
  2. Learn the Three Pillars. The three things or pillars that every budget needs are automation, tracking your spending, and an emergency fund. After those two steps, you start making your budget your own instead of someone else’s.
  3. Find and incorporate your values. This is your show. Identify what you value and implement those values into your budget.
  4. Choose budgeting principles that make sense for you. Give every dollar a job…but only if you want to. If a particular budgeting principle doesn’t work for you, don’t use it.
  5. Set up a Frequency Budget. Within your Budgeting system, you can break your budget down into smaller, paycheck-sized frequency budgets so you know exactly where the money for your bills will come from.

It’s not enough to just “budget” and call it a day. If you’re trying to budget in a way that won’t work for you, you will burn out and quit.

I’ve been there many times and it’s ok to have to start again. Create a Budgeting System for yourself and it will be the last budget you ever need.

  1. Set a Goal…

What do you want to accomplish next year in your finances?

Do you want to earn more money? Do you want to learn how to budget?

Is there a money mindset issue you want to work on?

One of the best things you can do is to set a specific, lofty goal for what you want to accomplish.

Why lofty?

First, setting a goal that may be difficult to reach encourages you to put more effort into reaching that goal.

Second, even if you don’t attain the goal completely, you are all but guaranteed to still come closer than you would have if you set a lower goal.

  1. Set Milestones on Your Way to That Goal

Setting a lofty goal is a great thing, but there is something you can do to help you reach that goal regardless of how high it is.

Set milestones for yourself.

Think of a milestone as a smaller goal that helps you get to your larger goal.

They are like guideposts on the trail—smaller tasks that you can do to help you stay in line with your overall goal.

For debt payoff, some of these milestones might be:

  • setting up a budget to know how much extra money you have;
  • figuring out how much per month you need to set aside to get all your debt paid off in 24 months;
  • celebrating after each credit card is paid off

For a goal of learning to stick to a budget, some milestones might be:

  • After two months, you’ve only had to find money to cover overspending on three categories
  • By the six-month mark, overspending is rare and you’ve set up an automatic transfer for saving

Determine what our milestones are going to be for your specific goal.

  1. Cut Things Out of Your Life that Don’t Work

One of the best things you can do to give yourself a great 2021 is to cut anything out of your life that isn’t working for you.

These can include clutter, relationships, spending, debt, bad food, clothing that doesn’t fit or is too old to keep, finance advice, discouragement, types of budgets, or anything in between.

Removing the things from your life that don’t matter cuts the weight trying to hold you down in whatever you are trying to accomplish in life.

A lot of things you can cut out have either a direct or indirect connection to your finances.

For example, cutting out clutter or relationships that are bad for you can lift a lot of weight off your shoulder.

This “lighter” feeling gives you the clarity to make the decisions you need to make in your finances.

Cutting things out that are not working is no reason to feel bad either. You may think you failed or did something wrong.

Any failures in your life are valuable lessons that actually bring you closer to your purpose.

When you fail, you gain valuable insights on things that both work and don’t work.

When you move on to the next goal you’re trying to accomplish, you have an advantage because of the things you’ve learned from your failure.

  1. Look to Increase Your Income

Whether you currently have one stream of income or a few, it’s worth increasing your income all-around to give you more financial security and reach your financial goals faster.

There are four ways to do this. You can:

  • Get promoted at work.
  • Get a raise at work in your current position
  • Search for a new job
  • Start a business
  1. Find and Focus on Your Why

Why do you want to accomplish what you want to accomplish? Why do you want to be in a good spot financially?

I’ve found that specifically chasing money is never the way to go.

It can turn you into something you’re not and it can prevent you from starting toward your goals until you “have enough money.”

Instead, focus on why you want more money.

Determine your why and then go after it. Keep it in the front of your mind and watch your motivation skyrocket.

I wish you an Amazing 2021

2021 is only two months away. Where did the time go?!

You were able to find a few things in this article that will help you make 2021 your best financial year yet.  Use as many of them as you are able and start now to get a jump on next year.

The best part is none of them depend on how this year went for you! That’s great news since this year was the worst for many people.

Remember that we are all architects of our future. So, don’t lose focus, do what you have to do, buy my new book when it comes out and have the best year ever!

Remember that it’s all in your mind and you can do it!

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