Have you set your new year financial resolutions yet? What are you waiting for? The countdown is on!
I love celebrating the new year – and not just because of the champagne and the exuberant countdown to midnight. What I really love about the new year is the fresh start. It is the perfect time to reflect on where you have been, take note of where you are and chart the course for where you want to be.
The new year is an especially good time to set your money resolutions for the coming 365 days (and beyond!). To help get you started, I have rounded up a list of the best New Year’s Financial Resolutions.
What are Financial Resolutions?
Financial resolutions are simply money goals that you commit to attaining.
When you start to think about resolution making and setting personal finance goals, ask yourself some difficult questions. How have you handled money in the past? Are you happy with your current money situation? Where would you like to be financially one year from now?
Once you know what you would like to achieve, set specific finance resolutions that will lead the way to money success.
Keep in mind that setting money resolutions is just the first step to attaining success. It is up to you to do the hard work required. To stay focused, use my tips on how to achieve finance goals.
Why Make New Year Money Resolutions?
There are several reasons why you should set financial resolutions for the new year. First and foremost, it’s an opportunity to set the course to improve your finances – and there are a few good reasons why the new year is a good time to do it.
New Year, New Changes
At the start of a fresh, new calendar year, you can use the momentum to establish a fresh, new you. The idea of a New Year, New You is incredibly exciting – and possibly motivating enough for you to stick to the goals of a new financial plan and succeed!
Get Back to Being Good with Money
Another reason why money goals are ideal new year resolutions is because so many people get blown off course and dismiss their finance goals during the preceding holiday season.
Hopefully you created a Christmas budget for your holiday spending and found ways to give gifts frugally this year. If, however, you found yourself overspending or strayed from your budget, now is the time to get back on track with your financial health – and new year money resolutions can help you do it!
A Set Start Date for Your Financial Ambitions
When you set new year resolutions for better money habits, you commit yourself to a firm date: January 1. A firmly established start date makes it easier to commit and you become less likely to come up with excuses to procrastinate on your financial resolutions.
That said, you can set and commit to achieving finance goals any time year. January 1, while a good date, is not a magic date. If you find yourself in a situation where you are ready to make changes; set your goals and make them happen today! Don’t wait for a future date or the perfect time to start achieving goals, start now!
NEW YEAR FINANCIAL RESOLUTIONS
Use these financial new year resolutions to get inspired about setting your own goals for money in the coming year!
#1 Get Out of Debt
Without a doubt, one of the absolute best financial goals to make this year is to get rid of your debt once and for all! I am a huge proponent of being debt free – not only is it good for your finances, but it’s good for your psyche.
This year, challenge yourself to lose the burden of some of your debt. If you want to take it up a notch and brave the task of setting one of the best long-term financial goals, set a resolution to become completely debt free.
Start with your credit card debt – then look at paying off car loans, student loans, your home equity loan and even your mortgage. Make a plan and make it happen!
#2 Pay Off Credit Cards Every Month
One of the best new year’s goals that you can commit to is paying off your credit cards – in full and on time – each and every month. The amount you will save in interest and fees can add up to a nice little pile of cash, which can be used to kick start a savings account.
If you have a high credit card balance spread across several credit cards, consider consolidating the amount onto a balance transfer credit card.
That said, the key to being able to keep up with your credit card bills is to stop spending so much money. If you are currently spending more money than you make, you need to reel in your expenditures. Learning to spend within your limits should rank Number 1 on your list of finacial New Year’s resolutions.
#3 Start Saving More
Saving more money is an excellent finance resolution – but you will want to be very specific in your goal.
Rather than simply wanting to save more money, commit to saving a certain dollar amount. With a concise figure for your new year’s savings plan, you are much more likely to successfully save money.
Open a dedicated savings account for your funds – or participate in fun savings games that will keep you motivated to reach your goal.
#4 Fully Finance Your Emergency Fund
Funding your Emergency Fund is a How To Save Money new year resolution that is very specific and very necessary!
An Emergency Fund can help to keep you afloat financially when things go wrong – like the loss of a job, a serious illness or an accident. If you don’t have any Emergency Funds, then $1000 is a good number to aim for. However, a fully financed Emergency Fund should equal 3-6 months of your expenses.
One of the best ways to save for your Emergency Fund is by establishing a Sinking Fund. In order to succeed at your money saving resolution, it is best to keep the money in a separate account – and even better if you can put it into a high-yield savings account.
#5 Adopt Frugal Habits
Financial planning for the new year doesn’t just have to be about dollars and cents – it can be about creating good money habits, too. In fact, nearly all of the money saving resolutions are rooted in changing your past money practices.
For example, when you learn how to be frugal, you will find that you can more easily save money for the things you actually want.
In fact, you can ultimately begin to change your relationship with money so that you are able to better handle your finances in the future.
I would caution, however, that you don’t simply flip the switch to extreme frugality. Taking on too many changes too quickly will lead to burnout in a heartbeat. Also be wary of making financial resolutions to adopt gimmicky frugal habits – as they rarely pay off.
#6 Make a Resolution to Eat Out for Less
If there is one area where most people can shape up their finances, it’s on the amount they spend eating out.
You don’t have to completely eliminate eating out, but you can make a money resolution this year to spend less on the meals you eat at restaurants. I share tips on how you can save in my article on How To Eat Out on a Budget.
#7 Learn to Cook Meals at Home
Learning to cook meals at home is one of the top financial resolutions for the new year – because it can save you heaps of money!
#8 Commit to Brown Bagging Lunch
Workday lunches from a restaurant are not only expensive, but they can be unhealthy, too. Double down on your new year resolutions with a combo health and finance resolution – and start bringing your lunch to work!
You can make incredibly cheap and healthy lunches that will save you a lot of money (and probably a lot of heartburn). To get started, use my tips for my favorite frugal lunches.
#9 Challenge Yourself to Spend Less on Food
Many financial new year resolutions revolve around food – because it is one of the easiest places to cut your expenses. Just remember to be specific – either set a dollar amount or commit to creating new food buying habits.
To help get you started on the right path, use my tips for buying groceries on a budget.
However, if you are really determined to cut your food expenses, take on my $5 Food Challenge.
#10 Pledge to Spend Less on Entertainment
Spending less on entertainment is a fantastic new year finance resolution! This isn’t to say that you should sit at home in boredom. Rather, it’s a challenge to seek out free activities (and ditch the gym membership!) and find new frugal hobbies.
You can even extend this concept to date night. Use my list of 52 Cheap Date Ideas – that’s one for every week of the year!
#11 Make it Your Mission to Declutter Your Space
Clutter can consume you and a big portion of your paycheck. Too often we let things clutter up around us. It happens over time, so we barely notice. However, all the little trinkets and stockpiling start to stack up – both in our house and in the budget.
When you make a new year money resolution to clear out your space or organize, you can more clearly spot weaknesses in your spending habits.
#12 Commit to Keeping a Budget
If you don’t already have a budget, then it needs to be on your new year’s checklist! While it may sound like a boring exercise, I guarantee you that it will be an eye-opening experience.
Not only will it reveal your past spending habits, but a written budget allows you to dictate how you want to spend your money in the future, which is why it is one of the absolute best financial resolutions for the new year.
#13 Organize Your Finances
Getting organized is one of the top new year resolutions for finances (and one of my essential frugal hacks!). Planning for a new year goal is just so much easier when you have your income and expenses confidently organized.
#14 Categorize Your Needs and Wants
Categorizing your Needs and Wants is a first step of how to get your finances in order – which is why it is a marvelous new year money resolution!
When you clearly define your Wants and Needs, you can more consciously make decisions about what to spend, where to cut and how much to save.
It isn’t always as easy as it might sound. To keep track of your Needs and Wants (and as a helpful reminder for the upcoming year), I suggest using a Finance Bullet Journal.
#15 Develop a Positive Mindset
Your self-talk can have a big impact on your money aspirations and your overall outlook on life.
If you find that you have negativity swirling around your head space, make a new year’s financial resolution to interject positive affirmations for money into your daily routine.
#16 Grow Your Mind
Learning new things has long been a top new year resolution – so make learning about finance one of your monetary resolutions!
Whether you need a basic, beginner’s book about personal finance or are seeking an introduction to investing, there are books and podcasts that can aid in your education. Use my list of Favorite Financial Books to get started!
#17 Start a Side Hustle
A successful side hustle means more money in your pocket – which is why it is one of the most fabulous financial resolutions!
The best side hustles are hobbies that can create a cash flow – like photography or upcycling.
Stumped for what you could do to earn a little extra cash? Use this list of tips.
#18 Ask for a Raise
If you have been at your job for a significant amount of time and feel you deserve a raise, then make a monetary new year resolution to ask for one!
You may wonder why you need to make a financial resolution to ask your boss a question, but it is not a flippant conversation. You need to take time to prepare and rehearse. Use these preparation tips to get organized and boost your confidence.
#19 Search for a Higher Paying Job
One of the most lucrative financial resolutions for the new year is finding a better paying job.
Searching, applying and interviewing for a higher paying job takes determination and fortitude – but the reward is golden!
#20 Save Up for a Vacation
Saving up for vacation is one of the fun money saving ideas for the new year!
Ditch the idea of going into debt to pay for your vacation – and commit to saving enough money in advance of your trip. It’s one of the new year money resolutions that really pays off.
A Vacation Fund is one of my favorite sinking funds categories – it’s easy to stay motivated when you keep your eye on the prize.
#21 Set Up (or Max Out) Retirement Contributions
What are your retirement goals? If you don’t have a clear plan, make a new year finance resolution to get a retirement strategy. It doesn’t matter how old or young you are – you can start saving or max out your contributions at any age.
Talk to your human resources representative about company 401k accounts, consider your options and make a plan to get yourself on track to retirement.
#22 Start an HSA Fund
A Health Savings Account is a tax-advantaged medical account that you can set up – and the new year is an ideal time to do it!
The reason an HSA is one of the best new year investment resolutions is that it allows you to save money from your paycheck – before taxes are deducted – in a separate account for your out-of-pocket medical expenses.
#23 Start an Investment Account
Investing your money is a big financial move – and it shouldn’t be done capriciously. Make a resolution for an investment new year’s saving plan that is well-thought and based on trusted advice.
If you are timid about the process, start small – and educate yourself first. The Simple Path To Wealth is an excellent beginner’s guide.
Then, seek out a finaical advisor that can help you determine how to invest your savings. Popular options are in a high yield savings account, mutual funds or a Roth IRA.
#24 Upgrade and Invest in Money Savers
Do you often get the feeling that you are throwing money down the drain by using cheap or one-time-use products? Make a money-saving new year resolution to upgrade the products you buy for long-term savings.
There are tons of products designed to be cost-effective. This year stop wasting money on paper towels and quit buying disposable batteries. Instead invest in products that will save you money.
#25 Get Creative with Your Gift Giving
Participating in traditional gift giving can get expensive. The cost of presents for birthdays, graduations, weddings and new babies can all add up to big expenditures in your budget.
This year, make a personal resolution for saving money by giving creative and less expensive gifts.
#26 Improve Your Credit Score
If buying a new house or making a major purchase is in the cards for you this year, then make a new year resolution to get your credit score in tip top shape!
With a higher credit score you can obtain a more favorable rate, which will save you a lot of money in the long run.
The new year is also an excellent time to claim your annual free credit report. Review it for any inaccuracies or possible identity theft.
#27 Make a Will
Making or updating your will is just good, solid new year advice. Your financial situation and final wishes can change over the course of time – and therefore, you should update your will.
In fact, it is probably a good idea to make an annual new year resolution to update your will. Having an up-to-date will can ensure that your assets are dispersed as you intend.
If you have a life insurance policy, the new year is a good time to review it, as well.
#28 Live on Less
One of the most powerful new year financial resolutions that you can make (and one of the best financial tips in general) is learning to live on less.
While not a particularly easy endeavor, living within your means or – better yet – living below your means can have a huge positive impact on your finances. Coupled with good saving habits, it could just be one of the best new year decisions you make!
Final Tips for Your New Year Money Resolutions
Now that you have some ideas of the kind of new year monetary goals you would like to set, I have a few final tips about how to set finance goals.
Make Very Specific Monetary Resolutions
I’ve already mentioned this, but it is worth saying again: Be specific in your resolutions. Committing to ‘saving more money’ is wishy-washy. You want your goal to be quantifiable. If you want to save money, make a financial resolution to save a specific dollar amount. I want to save $2000 is measurable and easy to track.
Limit How Many Personal Finance Resolutions You Make
In my list of new year’s financial resolutions, I share more than 20 of the best ideas. However, I by no means am implying that you should try to tackle them all at once! In fact, I would recommend just picking one main monetary resolution that you want to set for yourself this year.
You will need to be clear and concise about what you want to accomplish – and set up a solid plan for how you will get it done. If you try to take on too many resolutions, you could become overwhelmed and abandon your plan altogether.
Only after you have made steady progress and feel confident about your path should you consider adding a second financial resolution.
Prior to Making a Money Resolution, Know Your Numbers
Before you set your financial new year resolutions, you need to spend a little time reviewing your current numbers.
Without knowing the specific figures of your finances, it is nearly impossible to set your resolutions. How can you set a path to the future if you don’t know where you are? Use my article detailing Money Numbers to calculate and track your finance numbers.
Keep Your Resolution Top of Mind
Succeeding at finance resolutions is tough work – and you are the one that has to do the heavy lifting. Once you set your realistic goals, you will need to stay motivated and on a clear path to success.
Use my tips for reaching money goals to ensure you reach your target!
Celebrate Your Achievements
When you create your resolutions for money, it’s a good idea to build in celebrations for your successes. Make mini-goals within your goal – and reward yourself for your accomplishments!
We Want To Know: What are your New Year Financial Resolutions this year? Tell us in the comments!
Interested in more of my Life and Entertainment Tips? I round them all up on the Frugal Lifestyle blog page!
And, find more of our saving money Pinterest Pins on our Pinterest Boards!