Each year, millions of individuals commit to doing something different in the upcoming 12 months. Sometimes that means putting more effort into their health and wellness goals, while others focus their attention on strengthening relationships. For nearly 40% of Americans, though, at least one New Years resolution revolves around money. Improving one’s financial health and well-being trickles down into other aspects of life, whether we realize it or not, but it can be difficult to know where to start with financially-focused goals. Here are the most common financial New Year’s resolutions and how to make them happen this year.
Organizing Your Financial Life
One of the reasons personal finance and money-related goals get pushed to the side is the sheer amount of daily and monthly to-dos surrounding money. There are bills to pay, credit cards and loans to manage, savings and investing to do, not to mention covering necessities each and every day. Especially on the bill management side, many set goals to get more organized so that financial tasks don’t get overlooked.
A simple strategy for creating more organization in the realm of personal finance is to streamline certain things, like savings into an emergency fund or retirement plan through work. Automation frees up time and energy, and it offers some clarity on what money is going where. Similarly, utilizing a tool like a spreadsheet or mobile app to track spending and saving is helpful for those who have little time but lots of transactions. Adding these simple steps makes a big difference in reaching an organization goal.
Creating a Budget
No one appreciates the “b” word in personal finance, but it is one of the most crucial aspects of living a financially sound life. Millions make it a New Year’s each year because they know how important it is, but budgeting is an intimidating task for most. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools available to make this financial to-do a breeze.
Explore your options for technology-infused tools, like budget creators and spending trackers, that only require you to sync accounts to get the ball rolling. Within a matter of minutes, the right app can offer insight into how much is spent on certain items, and where improvements could be made. For those who prefer a non-tech solution, there are plenty of budget templates available online that offer a do-it-yourself method.
With consumer debt as a staple in the American economy, it is no surprise that millions commit to getting out from under the burden of debt each New Year. Whether it is credit cards, reasonable cash loans that offer quick funding, or personal loan for debt consolidation or longer-term financing, paying down debt – or learning how to use it wisely – is a goal most should focus on when cash flow allows.
To make this New Year’s resolution stick, it required an understanding of what is owed and to whom. Once those balances and monthly payments are organized, it is much easier to determine where to begin in paying them off. With a realistic budget and an understanding of the work that needs to be done, most people can find a few extra dollars each month to pay down what is owed. Some will start with the highest interest rate debt first, while others focus on the smallest balance due to get some momentum. Either strategy can work, but it starts with dedicating to the processes of organization and budgeting to reach a debt pay down goal.
Many people fail to achieve the resolutions set at the beginning of the year because they do not have a realistic plan in place to begin. Start by deciding what you want to accomplish in your financial life, and follow up with the tools and education you need to get the job done. Twelve months is plenty of time to make a major change in your financial circumstances, but only when you recognize the what and why behind the change.