Last week, I gained an hour. Not that I don’t still resent the hour I lost several months ago, and not that I don’t mourn the passing of long summer twilights. But Angela Self has an idea about what could do with this hour and it’s designed to save me money. Here’s my take on her plan.
Monday: Decide What You Want
Spend an hour thinking about what you want in the short term and long term. While a lot of us scribble down these thoughts in between meetings or on the train, now is the time to spend an entire hour thinking about what it is you really want to get out of the next 5, 10, 30 years and where you want to end up. By the end of the hour, you should have some pretty clear thoughts on paper.
Tuesday: Lay the Groundwork
Tuesday is usually pretty ordinary anyway, so get over the tough bits now. Hard facts are easier to swallow in the enthusiasm of early week. Cost your dreams. Calculate the costs and timelines associated with each dream. It’s going to look huge. It may even look unachievable. Don’t panic. The next step is to set up automatic deductions that match your timelines. Set up sub-categories for your saving- house deposit, weekend away, new computer. If you automatically deduct money into the account, you’ll keep to your deadlines. Achieve your goals and not even feel the pinch too hard after the adjustment period.
Wednesday: Find The Funds
Spend the hour looking around you and finding things you could sell on. Want to bolster one of your sub-categories? Have a yard sale, or sell things on eBay. Challenge yourself to use ever thing left in your fridge before buying more groceries you’re likely to not use. Or spend the hour thinking of ways you could put your skills to use, and earn a bit of extra income.
At this point of the week, things get more fun. You’ve got the goal, you’ve set up the nitty gritty of the accounts and improved ways to fund it. Now you need to work out how you’re going to follow through. Call someone and tell them your plans, and ask them to help you with motovation should you ever get a bit stuck. Put reminders around your home to keep you focused. Set up a system on your computer to keep track of your progress. If you’re really after some commitment, you can sign a commitment contract and bet on yourself to win the day. Or you could sign up to 43 Things, and share your plan with the online world.
Friday: Reward Thyself
You’ve done amazing things with your daylight saving hours, probably saving yourself a whole lot of money and sanity down the track. Now that you’ve really got the ball rolling on your financial future, with a plan in action to achieve all your goals and a support network set up that will help you sustain it, you can reward yourself. It’s important to keep revising your savings plans, your automatic deductions and budgets and to keep track of your progress so you maintain your motivation. But, for the moment, take a load off, smell the roses and enjoy an hour of freedom.