Most of us make New Year's resolutions. Usually, we resolve to work out more and eat less, or spend more time with our family and less time at the office. However, financial New Year’s resolutions are some of the most common, most important, and most attainable.
Here’s Why Financial Resolutions Work
Sticking to your New Year’s resolutions is usually a challenge, but financial resolutions are in many ways easier to keep than other goals like losing weight or exercising more. Why? Your finances are measurable. All the numbers are there for you, you just have to take the time to find and understand them.
Before you even set a financial goal, you should take an hour or two to make a monthly budget. Find out exactly how much money you are spending and where that spending is going. Then, look for ways you can make small changes to your spending. You’ll probably be surprised by just how big of a difference a small change can make to your budget.
16 Popular and Simple Financial Resolutions
Want to improve your finances in the New Year, but not sure where to start? Here are some popular (and simple) financial New Year’s resolutions to try:
Ways to Save
Walk or cycle whenever you can instead of driving – doing this a few times a week will help you reduce the amount you spend on gas.
Carpool to work – you and your co-worker will both save when you take turns driving.
Make coffee at home everyday and bring a travel mug to work instead of buying a coffee on your way to work.
When you use cash put all your change in a savings jar at the end of each day.
Spend less at the bar by setting a drink limit or inviting friends back home. Drinks at bars are as overpriced as coffee!
Spend less on groceries by making a list (and sticking to it) before you go to the store.
Go one month without eating out. Make food at home and meal prep instead (good for your wallet and your waistline).
Only use refillable water. Buying plastic water bottles costs more and can add up over the year (plus it’s horrible for the environment)!
Max out your retirement contributions for the year before you go on your next vacation.
Spread out your holiday savings by buying each person on your list one gift each month of the year. When the holidays come you’ll be super organized, and most of your gifts will be paid for already, which will reduce the financial stress that plague so many of us over the holidays.
De-clutter your home once a year and host a big garage sale (or sell your items online). Use the money you earn towards your savings.
5 Tips to Help You Achieve Your Financial Resolutions
Like some of these ideas? Here are some ways you can achieve your financial New Year’s resolutions:
Be specific and measurable
Don't say “I am going to save more.” Instead, say “I’m going to save an extra $100 a month by making coffee at home instead of going to Starbucks.” Keep tracking your progress at regular intervals throughout the year.
Hold yourself accountable
Measuring your progress only works if you use that information to improve. Hold yourself accountable and acknowledge your great work when you’re successful.
Tell others about your goal
We often lose sight of our goals, but by holding one another accountable we can stay focused and motivated.
Schedule your goals
Set short-term targets. For example, if you want to save $1200 more per year you should save $300 every three months. Also, schedule a regular time to achieve your goals. For financial goals that might mean an hour per week dedicated to budgeting, reading about personal finance, or working overtime.
It's not all or nothing
One of the biggest killers of New Year's resolutions is the mindset that if you slip up once you have failed. Life isn't black and white! If you make a mistake or fall short of your target then get up, dust yourself off and try again.
Do you make resolutions? How do you stick to them?