What makes a resolution a good one? Here are the three most important aspects for successful New Year’s resolutions: 1) specific; 2) realistic; and 3) measurable and trackable.
So, in no particular order, here are More Than Wheels’ suggestions for four great financial New Year’s resolutions that can help you succeed:
Resolution #1: Reduce Your Debt
Would you like to pay off your debt? Just saying “I’ll pay off my debt” as a New Year’s resolution probably won’t work as well as setting a specific monthly goal.
Try a resolution like “Pay off $100 of debt each month” or $1,200 by the end of the year.
Resolution #2: Make More Money
If you just resolve to “make more money” without a specific action plan, chances are, it won’t become a reality. Think about your options for earning more. Will getting a better, higher paying job be the answer? If so, then make specific job-seeking steps your resolution. How about making more in your current position? Perhaps asking for a raise or working overtime hours will be the answer.
Try a resolution like “Complete 8 job applications per month until I get a new, higher-paying job.”
Resolution #3: Spend Less Money
Just deciding to spend less money probably won’t result in real change to your bank account balance. Using a good budgeting and money-management tool, like our Money-In, Money-Out tool, will help you identify areas where you can cut your expenses each month.
If you reduce spending by $170 a month, for example, you will be saving more than $2,000 a year.
Resolution #4: Save More Money
Similarly to all of the other goals, a generic goal of “saving money” probably won’t be successful by the time December 2016 rolls around. First, set a goal of saving a certain amount of money per pay period. Put the money in the bank first. Second, take a tip from TV comedian Jerry Seinfeld. He wanted to “be funnier.” In order to do that, he broke down his tasks into writing jokes, and then “writing a joke every day.” Each day he wrote a joke (funny or not), he put an “X” on his calendar. As the “X’s” grew every day, he found himself more motivated.
So, keep a record of the times you put money aside in savings. If you are paid weekly, you should have 52 marks on your calendar by the end of 2016. If you are paid twice a month, you will have 24 marks.
Last year, more than 100 million Americans made New Years’ resolutions, but more than 88 million of them didn’t follow through. Sixty percent of them quit within the first 30 days, and 88 percent, by the end of February. Use our tips to beat the odds and succeed.