As 2018 looms, it’s time to think about getting your finances in order. Which means drawing up a financial plan. And then sticking to it. The second part is the hard bit, so that’s why it’s important that your plan reflects your spending and makes sense for you.

Why do you want to create a plan?

Knowing why you’re doing this is a big part of helping your plan to succeed. If you’ve got a specific goal in mind, your plan should help you to keep your eyes on the prize. Make your goal specific and know exactly how much you’ll need to save each month, or year, to hit your goal and when you’ll get there. Take the time to celebrate the milestones along the way- ideally in a way that won’t wipe out your savings.

If your goal is just to save money more generally, try and get specific with a dollar amount to work towards. Break this into a monthly target, and be prepared to do some adjustment to make sure this is achievable.

What do you need to know to get started?

Before you can put your plan into action, you need to know where your money’s currently going. This is more complicated than it sounds. Even though you might want to start your planning now (or maybe, like five years ago) you’ll need to track your spending for about three months to get an accurate picture of your outgoings. A three month period means that you’re capturing all those expenses that don’t crop up monthly, like buying birthday gifts, paying towards your car, or household utilities.

Tracking your spending can sound pretty labour intensive, but once you begin using Moneytree, the app will automatically categorise your transactions, so that you can concentrate on fine tuning your plan.

What’s behind your spending habits?

Once you’ve had a look at how and where you’re spending, invest in some time to unpack what’s behind your habits. Are you prone to a little online shopping if you get a bit bored at work? Do you opt for takeout if you’ve had a tough day? Are you paying for things that you think you should be doing, rather than things you’re actually using (gym membership anyone?)

Understanding what triggers you to spend money, and working to curb those behaviours is a great way to help your financial plan succeed. Try meal prepping so you’ve got dinner sorted at the end of a long day. Step away from the keyboard when you start to feel a bit distracted- and maybe unsubscribe from those especially tempting emails. And put time limits on those services that you’re not sure about. If you don’t get to the gym within the month, do you really need that membership?

What else you do you need?

Once you’ve got a goal, and a firm idea of where you’re currently spending, you need support to stick to your plan. The best way to stay motivated is to see the progress that you’re making. If this sounds a bit similar to the gym, that’s because you need to strengthen your financial muscles to change your habits.

As well as making it simple to categorise your transactions, the Moneytree app gives you a snapshot of your complete financial picture at a glance, and a more detailed breakdown when you need it. Think of the app as a training partner- one that will never suggest meeting up early on a Sunday.

Get the partner you need to hit your financial goals. Get started with Moneytree now.

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Author: Moneytree Team

Giving you the skinny on spending, saving, and everything in between. We're sharing our favourite tips, trips, tools, and insights, to help you get more out of your money.