New Year’s resolutions are a time-honored tradition that we use to keep ourselves motivated and on-track as we head into the new year. If you’re like most Americans, you may already be thinking about what your resolutions might be this year – getting in better shape, improving your diet, seizing the moment – but we all need money, so it’s no surprise some of the most popular resolutions deal with our money and how we spend it. Here are 6 financial New Year’s resolutions you’ll want to keep this year!
Obviously, this one’s at the top of the list for financial resolutions to keep in 2019. The name of the game here is money, after all, and the more of it you have put away, the closer you you’ll get to financial freedom…. or at least financial stability. Aim to save between 10% to 20% of your take home pay. Even if 5% is all you can afford to set aside, that’s better than zero.
The only thing that might be better than having a big savings account is a big credit score. With a high enough score, you could borrow enough money to buy all the big stuff: a car, a boat, or even a house. At the start of the new year, start checking your credit score regularly. Smartphone apps like Credit Karma and Credit Sesame make it really easy to keep an eye on your score without penalty, and even shows you ways on how you can improve your score!
You’ve heard all the pointers on how to save, but did you know that you can grow your savings too? Sure, letting your money sit in savings will allow it to grow automatically thanks to compounding interest, but there’s a way to make your money grow even faster: by investing it. Whether you decide to invest in stocks, bonds, retirement accounts or all the above, investing your money can prove very beneficial over the long-term.
If this is your biggest resolution for 2019, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans are in the same sinking boat. If you truly want financial freedom, the first step is to escape debt. Of course, being completely debt-free isn’t so easy when you’re carrying a mortgage, but by eliminating your credit card and student loan debt, you’ll still feel as free as a bird. Tackle your smaller debts first (low-balance credit cards, an outstanding bill, etc.), and use that momentum to tackle your bigger ones. Try enrolling in a debt management program or come up with a plan all on your own. Whatever you do, make 2019 the year you took your first step towards financial freedom!
Let’s face it, these days, it’s easier than ever to let our spending get away from us. We can store our payment information on various places all over the web with built-in conveniences like easy payments, auto pay and one-click pay. So, it’s easy to see why we’re all losing track of our spending. In 2019, remove all your digitally stored payment info and get into the habit of carrying cash. Make shopping lists for the things you need and stick to them religiously. Before you know it, you’ll save more money than you realized you could.
Overall, stop worrying so much over money. We all make mistakes and we all get ourselves into financially-restricting places. But that doesn’t mean it’s game over. Look at your financial pitfalls as lessons with opportunity for improvement. If you’re in a bind, there are relief options available such as personal loans, installment loans, and debt management programs. Always look at the cup half full and never give up when things look bad. You may not conquer all your financial goals all at once, but with a little hard-work and dedication, you can make 2019 the year you turned it all around!