The New Year is always a great motivator to get your financial goals in place, and make your New Year’s resolutions. Sure, it’s a goal all of us should have throughout the year, but there’s something about starting fresh that makes it really worthwhile. Of course, the trouble with resolutions is that they’re hard to keep. So, below are the 5 most common New Year’s resolutions about finances and how to make sure you stick to them all year long.
Resolution #1: I’m going to budget this year
I’ve had several friends tell me they’re going to budget better in the new year, which I think is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your future. Of course, budgeting can be seen as tedious to many people. If you want to keep this resolution for the long haul, make it a game. Set aside time each week to see how you’re doing financially. It should only take about 30 minutes once a week. If you do it, tell yourself you’ll get a nice reward afterward.
Resolution #2: I’m going to track my spending
Tracking your spending is a great way to understand how you handle money and what you value most. This is something that has to be done every day, because let’s be honest, do you really remember what you spent two days ago? If you make this a habit or part of your bedtime routine, you can absolutely keep this up all year round. I ask my husband each night what he spent that day, and I record it all in a little notebook along with my expenses for the day too.
Resolution #3: I’m not going to buy any of “X” all year
This resolution is a tough one to keep. Many people might say they won’t buy new clothes all year or they won’t go out to eat all year. The real way to keep any resolution like this is to start off slowly and give yourself some flexibility. For the first few months, go out to eat once a week, then slowly cut it back. Know that you might need clothes for work, etc. Essentially, quitting anything cold turkey is hard to do; realistically, you can make it if you slowly pace yourself.
Resolution #4: I’m going to contribute to my retirement every month
The best way to do this is to have your contributions deducted from your paycheck every month. If you wait to save whatever you have left at the end of the month, it will often be gone. Save at the beginning and reap the rewards at the end.
Resolution #5: I’m going to get out of credit card debt
This is an awesome resolution and one that can be achieved depending on the amount of credit card debt you have. Start the new year by talking to a financial counselor to determine the best way to reduce your debt. Then, make sure you have someone to keep you accountable like a parent, spouse, or a couple hundred blog readers! It will only take a few minutes to set up a plan and get you feeling empowered about knocking out your debt once and for all.
As you can see, all of these resolutions can be kept this upcoming year, as long as you are realistic about your expectations and are enthusiastic about your goals. Good luck!