The new falcon herald logo.
Business Briefs

Get your financial diet back on track after some holiday binging

The first big hit comes with Thanksgiving: turkey, stuffing, pie, football snacks.Then Hanukkah, Christmas and endless corporatized “holiday” parties to go to: more dinners, more gift exchanges, more visits to family and friends with the endless Harry & David baskets.Finally, New Year’s with a blowout party and a few bowl games.Then … you look at the scale. Yeah, the one on the bathroom floor, too. But I’m talking about your bank account summary page.For every calorie you took in during the last two months, there was probably a dollar that went out at the same time. However, if you’re like a lot of Falcon area residents I’ve talked to lately, you’ve probably started to get on the right track in 2010 on both counts. So don’t feel guilty! Binges and missteps are OK and to be expected in both kinds of fitness – physical and financial.But now it’s 2011, so let’s get back on track and burn off that holiday financial flab with these four New Year’s resolutions!1: Toss the leftovers. Take a hard look at any recurring expenses you picked up during the holidays, especially the hidden ones generated by gifts received. How much will the new DVR or HD service cost you per month? How about the fancy new data plan for the smartphone? Or games for the new console? If you weren’t planning on buying the cool new gadget anyway for yourself – and didn’t already budget the ongoing cost – look at returning, exchanging or selling the item for something similarly cool but with no monthly or maintenance cost.2: Jog off the extra eggnog. Did you really fall off the wagon and use credit cards or store credit to buy gifts? Or dip into what was supposed to be emergency funds? Make it a family priority that these have to be paid off right away. Draw a chart with little boxes for every $10 increment that went toward gifts on credit. For every money-saving idea, sacrifice or additional revenue someone brings in toward paying off the gift debt, they get to check off the number of boxes that represent the amount they brought to the table. If you believe you need to spend that much on gifts again next year, make another chart to track how much is saved toward 2011 so you don’t have to repeat the cycle.3: Count calories. If you haven’t started using personal finance software to track your spending, now is the time. Avoiding even just one late charge will pay for the software. You can use Quicken on your home computer or online. A free alternative for Mac and Linux as well as Windows users is GNUCash ( Don’t like the idea of putting cash in an envelope each month to budget coffee and those other miscellaneous expenses? Sign up for a PayPal debit card and transfer your monthly caffeine budget to your PayPal account in advance. Less chance of theft or the coins wandering off. 4: It’s not a “diet,” it’s a new “lifestyle.” Make saving money part of all your other resolutions for the year. Eating healthier is often eating cheaper. If you’re considering exercising more, consider doing so at our local recreation centers rather than paying for a more expensive private gym membership. If you’re hoping to relax and read more, there is almost nothing you can’t get via Inter-Library Loan at our new High Prairie Library. And if you want to do more for the environment, you can save money and emissions by shopping local. Each trip to the First & Main Center or beyond costs at least $2.75 in gas. Getting in shape physically and fiscally is important any time of year. Add these four tips to your New Year’s resolutions (hopefully you have some left!) and you’ll be on your way to making 2011 your healthiest yet!Jason Gray owns GoalView Advisors, a registered investment advisory firm in Falcon. He is a Falcon resident and serves as chairman of the board for the Eastern Plains Chamber of Commerce. He can be reached at 719-439-2054 or

StratusIQ Fiber Internet Falcon Advertisement

Current Weather

Weather Cams by StratusIQ

Search Advertisers