Let’s be honest with ourselves, most everyone creates a New Year’s resolution each year, but very few of us actually stick to those commitments. Whether it is to work out or study more, it always seems like at about the three week mark those goals start slipping away. Setting realistic and achievable goals are the most important aspects of creating a resolution and could help you stick to it for a longer period of time. Money normally grabs everyone’s attention and with that being said, here are few money-saving New Year’s resolutions that are reasonable but will require continued progression throughout the year.
- Become debt-free
We are going to start with the big one first – freedom from your debt. Whether or not this is a realistic goal will depend on your situation and determining your financial situation. What type of debt you hold (credit, car loan, mortgage, etc.), what are the interest rates associated with each, and your income level will all determine how quickly you will become debt free.
It is often helpful to start targeting the debt with the highest interest rate first and so on. That will commonly be your credit card debt, which could have an APR of nearly 15% – 20%. It may also be helpful to pay the smaller debts off first to build some confidence going forward. Saving a few extra dollars each month could go a long way to freeing you from this debt.
- Discover ways to generate a side income
Finding extra income could be a great resolution that is very much achievable. Having excess spending money at the end of each month could free you up and relieve the financial burden from your shoulders. Even an extra hundred dollars a month could be a great way to reach other goals that you have and prepare yourself for the future.
Signing up to be an Uber or Lyft driver, finding a weekend job, or becoming a tutor are a few ways you could possibly earn some extra cash.
- Start an emergency fund
If you want to sleep better at night, building an emergency fund might be a great way to do that. You never know what tomorrow will bring so planning for those risks ahead of time could save you from in trouble in the future. One way you could start doing this is by saving an extra $75 dollars a month and putting it aside in case of emergency. If you continue contributing to the fund each month, you will have a safety net in place for those situations that you don’t plan for.
The next time your car tire blows out, you won’t have to stress about where you will find the money to replace it. Please remember that if you have outstanding debt, you might want to deal with that before building up your emergency fund.
- Build a budget
Starting off the New Year with a budget can be a very easy resolution that you can complete as you watch television. No two budgets will look the same, so it is important to establish one that works for you and one that you can stick to. The hardest part about a budget is having the discipline to actually work hard to make a difference in your situation.
One way you could go about creating a budget is first estimating both your monthly income and expenses, while determining whether each expense is a need vs. want. From then, you could go into tracking your actual spending. Keep your receipts or having a journal for recording your expenditures at the end of each day are a few ways you could go about doing this. It is important to see the differences between what you think you’re spending and then what you’re actual spending. To complete your budget, you can then make the proper adjustments towards each expense and become ready to live on a budget and save money.
As the New Year approaches, tell yourself that you are going to set a resolution that sticks and one that will truly have an impact on your life. These are just a few realistic and achievable resolutions that could help you get on the right track with your finances.
Peer Counselor I
Powercat Financial Counseling