Making your New Year’s Resolutions is the easy part and you have the best of intentions, however sticking to them can be challenging. Old habits may be hard to break and achieving your financial goals can be difficult. While you may get complacent and comfortable in your old ways as you head into January, you can stay motivated and follow through on your financial New Year’s resolutions if you consciously avoid procrastination and take action! Starting with small steps and setting weekly goals can pave your way to achieving long term goals and will give you a sense of accomplishment. Once you see the positive results and monetary growth, you’ll feel financially happy and healthy.
By following these five tips, you will soon be on your way to making those New Year’s resolutions stick!
Goals which are “SMART,” or specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound are the ones which will be easier to keep up with. Set a specific amount that you would like to save or pay off and keep track of the balances on your accounts. Make sure that goal works with your lifestyle and budget, and give yourself a deadline of when you would like to complete your goal which is realistic. Keeping your goals realistic is key to making them stick.
Break it Down
If your goal is to save $5,000 by the end of the year, that can seem very overwhelming. Try to break it down to a monthly goal of $417 or a weekly goal of $104.25. This will help you figure out what you need to put aside per paycheck and how much of your budget you need to reign in. Breaking it down helps to make your goals more tangible and less impossible; you can plan better for the savings and add it to your daily routine instead of making it a second thought.
Take the Extra Steps
Sometimes, using the tools that you presently have may not be enough to make you successful in achieving your goals. Taking extra steps such as making your lunch and bringing coffee, or even opening up a new bank account (should it be in your best interest to do so) will help you in the long run and make your goals stick. The extra step may be checking your statements weekly to make sure you are staying within your budget. Making a habit of checking your statements is a great way to ensure that you aren’t overspending as well. By assessing your spending habits, you can see where you may be able to cut back.
Replace Not Eliminate Habits
If you try to drastically alter your lifestyle, including your habits, it could be an indicator of why you cannot stick to your resolutions. Consider replacing habits such as buying lunch with a habit of making extra food at dinner so you have leftovers or setting up your coffee pot the night before so you won’t feel the need to stop and get some on the way to work. This ensures that your daily routines aren’t cumbersome and hard to keep up with.
Put Your Finances on Autopilot
Taking control of your finances is taking control of your life. Using tools such as Mint or setting up automatic payments for your bills is a great way to keep your resolutions on track. It may also be beneficial for you to sign up for text reminders or application notifications to help keep track of your spending and savings. Having a notification pop up on your screen daily which reminds you that you are that much closer to reaching your goal is a great way to stay on track and make those resolutions stick! You can also do this to help increase your savings. By setting up a monthly or weekly auto-deduct from you checking to savings accounts, you can help ensure that you actually have set aside the amount of money you intended to save.
If better credit is part of your new year’s resolution, you can check your three credit reports for free once a year. To track your credit more regularly, Credit.com’s free Credit Report Card is an easy-to-understand breakdown of your credit report information that uses letter grades—plus you get two free credit scores updated each month.