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Planning for 2022. Getting a Good Start to a Fantastic Year.

Okay. Let's be real here. Just because 2020 was a year everyone wants to forget, and while 2021 was better than 2020 for many people, 2021 was a difficult year for others. I know a relatively large number of people who lost or quit their jobs due to the "vaccine mandates." Losing or quitting you job can make for a lot of difficult life choices and changes.

While we're at it, let's acknowledge something. Yes, I said it. "Vaccine mandates." I may have offended some of my readers, but there's really no way around that at this time in society. Rather than spending time on that hot topic, I'll let you do your own research and figure things out for yourself.

Regardless of where you stand on the "covid vaccine" issue and what financial situation you find yourself in, planning for your future is a must if you want to move yourself in a positive direction in 2022!

First - Audit Your 2021

You can't really create a plan if you don't know where you stand. How did you do in 2021? Did you waste too much money? Did you waste too much time? Regardless if you used a budget in 2021 or not, it's a good idea to do an audit to see how you spent you money and your time.

Audit Your Time

As a parent and a spouse, I'm constantly having conversations with the family about things they need to do or things they want to do, and the standard answer is, "I don't have time." To which I reply, "you always have time to do the things you want to do. Just manage your time better." The same applies for me. I know there are many things I need to get done around the house, but don't get to them. No excuses. I just need to manage my time better.

When you audit your time, first try to hit the big blocks of time. In most cases, you don't need to recall every minute of every day. Just hit the bigger things that you might have mismanaged your time. In the past, entertainment (movies, netflix, etc.) and video games have been big problems for me. When I first became a netflix subscriber, I would receive DVDs via mail and watch them immediately and mail them back the next day. I watched 6-10 movies a week! Video games were an even bigger problem for me. Just ask my wife!

How you spend your time is a big contributor to your future failure or success in life. Make sure you're using your time properly.

Audit Your Money

Whether or not you used a budget in 2021, there's a good chance you let some money slip through your fingers. We all develop bad money habits. Even if we are good money managers, we can slip back into some bad habits. Before planning for 2022, spend some time reviewing where all your money went in 2021. You'll probably discover a few areas where you spent money that you could have invested and multiplied!

A few of the big areas for myself and my family are eating out (it costs me 3x-4x more to eat out than to eat at home!). And normally, the meals we make at home are as good or better than what we eat at the restaurants! What are we paying for? Not to mention, the bonding time in the kitchen with the family. We usually cook in teams of 2 or 3.

Next up on the list is impulse buying. My wife and I are a bit guilty of it, and it's amazing how fast things can add up at $10-20 or even $100 items. If you impulse buy four $100 items in a month, that's $400 for only spending $100 per week! And it's quite easy for you and your wife to do it if you're not careful! $800 on things you probably don't even need in the long term.

Although, my wife and I slip up on the impulse buying, we're pretty good on being frugal where the kids are concerned. I grew up in a family where I could beg my mom to buy things at the store, and that sometimes put the family into a financial bind. The wisdom I learned from that is that if you're kids want something, make them buy it!

When auditing your money, I find it helpful to identify the big buckets of spending first. Some of those are...

  • Housing

  • Insurance

  • Food

  • Eating out (treat this as a different category for tracking)

  • Entertainment (Hulu, Netflix, movies, etc.)

  • Vacation

  • Big item spending (car, boat, 4 wheeler, furniture, etc.)

  • Medical expenses

  • Wealth Money / Investments

  • Giving (church tithing, non-profit giving, etc.)

Once you cover those groups and a