With the end of the year, my guess is that a lot of personal finance writers are going to be giving you advice on some of the money moves you can make as financial resolutions. The moves will likely be sound and you should seriously consider adopting the suggestions that apply to you if you haven’t already done so. I, on the other hand, will suggest one simple financial resolution to make which will get your finances in order quickly and easily if you can follow through with it:
Ask yourself, “is this a good investment?” for every money related transaction you make
The problem with most people is simply that they don’t take a few minutes to consider what they are spending their money on and if you are willing to get into the habit of asking yourself, “is this a good investment?” you will likely see your spending habits drastically change.
When you begin to view all your money transactions as investments (which, in a sense, they are) you begin to make different choices. Instead of simply grabbing a candy bar while you wait in line at the grocery store check out counter, if you ask yourself is the candy bar (or tabloid magazine or whatever else you may have picked up and add to the basket) a good investment, you will consider the situation as to whether that item will give a return back to you that is worth more than it’s cost. If it will, then it is worth buying and if it won’t, then you have kept yourself from making an unneeded purchase.
It can be quite dramatic on the way you view your spending if you can get into the habit of asking this one easy question. You will begin to spend your money on things that will further your goals rather than what happens to catch your impulse. Things that you thought you absolutely had to have may not be so important when you look at them from an investment perspective. On the other hand, things that you thought you could delay on getting may be quite important because of the return they will produce.
My suggestion is to try this for 2 weeks with the beginning of the New Year. You should soon realize that you make quite a few financial decisions every day that you likely never even considered in the past. Take a few moments to consider if the item or service you receive(d) for the payment produced a return for you that you feel was worth it. You will need to work out what you feel is a quality return from your own perspective as all purchases won’t give a classic monetary return. Food, for example, won’t give a monetary return, but it will keep you healthy and alive which are both pretty important. And if you look at it from this perspective, the choice between purchasing an apple and a candy bar would give different returns on your health.
Give it a try – and if you can keep it up for the entire year, you’ll find asking that simple question was the best financial resolution that you can make.