7 Financial Resolutions for the New Year – or Anytime
By Erin Palmer for Suncoast Credit Union
New Year’s resolutions are a fun tradition. But let’s face it, they often fail within weeks!
That’s because many resolutions are so ambitious that they’re difficult to keep. Instead of making strict resolutions that are hard to follow, try to adjust your habits to create manageable goals.
And what better place to start than with your finances! These financial resolutions are easy to keep and can help you develop healthy habits for the New Year and beyond.
1. Monitor Your Accounts Daily
Let’s start with something simple! Make it a habit to log in to your financial accounts daily. Whether you use an app or prefer online banking, it’s easy to check on your accounts.
Though this is easy, it’s also important. Logging in daily helps you stay up to date with everything that’s going on with your finances. In addition to reviewing your credit report, this is one of the quickest and most effective ways to help fight fraud and identity theft!
2. Create Financial Goals
Start the year off right by creating some financial goals for yourself. Your goals should reflect whatever is most important for you at this point in your life.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Save a specific amount of money for a vacation, wedding, new baby, etc. by a specific date
- Pay down a specific amount of debt by a specific date
- Put a specific amount of money into your retirement funds by a specific date
You may have noticed that each of those goals included the word “specific” twice. To make sure you follow through with a goal, you need to be particular with the amount, due dates and how you will achieve each goal.
Use a free budgeting tool to help make it easy to track and meet your goals.
3. Make Saving a Priority
No matter what your financial goals are, try to make saving a priority this year. There are some easy ways to save money and create better financial habits.
When you check your accounts daily and set financial goals, it’s simple to see patterns in your spending. Examine those patterns and see if there is any room for improvement.
Small things like packing a lunch more often and buying in bulk can add up to big savings over time.
Debt consolidation can also help you save. If you have credit cards with high interest rates, look into transferring your balance to a credit card with a lower interest rate. You could also consider refinancing your car loan or mortgage for a better rate to save more money.
4. Find a Fee-Free Financial Institution
Another easy way to save money is by cutting unnecessary fees out of your life for good. It’s possible, promise!
All you have to do is look for a financial institution that doesn’t charge unnecessary fees. Fees can really add up over time, so this small change can be impactful.
5. Work on Your Retirement Plan (No Matter Your Age)
You are never too young to start saving for retirement. Get your plan into gear this year!
If you already have a retirement plan, consider increasing your contributions. As of 2018, contribution limits for 401(k)s, 403(b)s and 457 plans increased by $500. This means that you can direct up to $18,500 into one of these accounts; $24,500, if you are age 50 or older.
If you don’t have a plan yet, now is the perfect time to begin getting ready for retirement.
6. Learn Money Management
One of the best gifts you can give yourself is knowledge. Since your money impacts your whole life, take time to learn as much about financial literacy as possible.
You can even learn money management for free! Take an online course or attend a financial webinar.
7. Get Financial Help if You Need It
If your finances need help, that’s okay! There are resources available to help you develop a sensible plan for managing debt.
Get free financial counseling so you can begin the year without the stress of debt weighing you down. Once you have a plan, you’re on your way to a brighter financial future!