There is something about a new year that makes us ready to make big changes in our lives. Maybe it’s the promise of a new year that means we can hit the reset button, or maybe we are just motivated this time of year. Regardless of your reason for wanting to improve your finances, here are 10 worthy New Year’s resolutions that will help you improve your finances.
Cut back on your impulse spending
Impulse spending is something we all struggle with. It’s hard to resist the urge to browse Target’s Bullseye Playground or not pick up a candy bar while you’re in line at the grocery store. If you are able to cut back on these small impulse spends, you could save some serious cash!
One way to know if a potential purchase is an impulse buy or something you really want is to put it on the back-burner for a while. For example, you may try on a perfume sample at a department store that you all of a sudden feel you NEED. Do you? Do you really need that perfume you didn’t know existed 15 minutes ago? Take a picture of the bottle and go back to it in a month. Do you still have the need to buy it a month later? Probably not.
Fill your emergency savings fund
If you knew how many people are currently living without even $100 in their savings account right now, you might be surprised. You want to aim for at least 3-6 months worth of expenses in your savings account if you can.
It may be a good idea to open a savings account at a financial institution that is separate from your checking accounts. While you may not get rich off the interest of a savings account, you might as well make as high of interest as possible. I personally use Marcus by Goldman Sachs. They are internet based and offer savings accounts with higher than average interest rates and zero min balances or annual fees. I am not endorsed by or affiliated with them in any way but I’ve had a good experience with them.
Max out your retirement contributions
If you are getting closer to retirement, or maybe haven’t contributed as much as you should these past few years, it may be worthwhile to consider maxing out your retirement accounts this year. Although, ideally this should be done as early on as possible. Many employers will match contributions up to 6%. This would make a HUGE difference when it’s time to retire.
Also, you may want to look into an IRA/Roth account. It’s similar to a retirement account in the sense that you will get penalized if you withdraw before a certain age but with the benefits that it won’t get taxed again. You can manage it as you see fit. This has been a fun way for me personally to play around with stocks without jeopardizing my 401k, etc.
Look for ways to reduce your spending
This is a worthy new year’s resolution for a number of reasons. The first is that over the course of the year, you can really evaluate how much use you are getting from the places you are spending your money. It might even make you realize you don’t need to be spending money on certain expenses.
I have a challenge for you. Write out all of your monthly expenses. Write down how much you spend on necessities and things you don’t need. Have a serious conversation with yourself and decide what you can do without. How can you stop spending in one area to apply the money to something else more worthwhile?
Stop eating out
You don’t have to cut eating out entirely, but if you find yourself always hitting the drive-thru or going to restaurants, this one might need to be on your list. Your waistline will thank you for this one too!
Often times, from personal experience, you may find yourself eating out because of a lack of preparation. Make an effort to do some food prep on your days off and pack your lunches at work. Always bring snacks when traveling and running errands to prevent emergency eating out.
Start being more intentional with your money
This might mean different things to different people, but it has the same core concept. You should be spending your money on only the things that matter most to you or that you can’t live without. If something in your budget doesn’t fit these criteria, ask yourself why you’re continuing to spend money on it. Improving your finances really does start with mindset and intention.
Consider using an investment App like Acorns. This is probably the coolest investment app I’ve come across! It rounds up your debit card purchases and invests it in the stock market automatically. I am in love… Get $5 when you use my invite link, here.
Start living on a budget
A budget doesn’t mean restricting the way you are spending your money. Instead, it might just mean that you are making a plan for where your money should go. If you are overspending or paying off debt, a budget can help you make extra payments and show you how much you are over each month.
Pay off your debt
If you are still carrying around debt with you, make a plan and pay it off this year! If you have student loans, credit card or installment loan debt, it may be worthwhile to see if you can refinance for a lower APR. Also, reconsolidating existing loans can help lower monthly payments and overall interest paid.
Play a game with yourself that you won’t buy the newest next thing (iPhone, gadget, car) that comes out until XYZ is paid off. Or perhaps a game where you match dollar for dollar what you spend on say, eating out to paying extra on a car loan, etc.
Improve your finances by saving for large expenses early
Christmas, holiday travel, and vacations are all things you can start saving for at the beginning of the year! Make a plan and slowly save for those big expenses. This will prevent the need for using credit cards or borrowing.
Use it up or do without
We all have one or more areas that we could use a little less money toward. For you, it might be your freezer, your pantry, or your closet. Choose one area of your home, and follow the rule of use it up or do without.
Improve your finances and set big goals. This can be a little scary at first, but if you’re looking to improve your finances, it can’t hurt to dream a little. I hope these 10 resolutions have helped you come up with a few ideas on how you’re going to improve your finances in 2019!
If you have used any of these techniques or have others to recommend, we’d love to hear about it on our Facebook page!
Related Post: The Konmari Inspired Decluttering Challenge
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