10 Financial Resolutions Everyone Should Make

New Year's resolutions

While some people think it’s better to avoid making New Year’s Resolutions, it’s important to get specific as possible if you do decide to do make them. If you’re they type where New Year’s resolutions help motivate you to achieve those goals, here are some that you should consider relating to your finances:

Save More

It’s easy to tell yourself that you’re going to save more money, but do you ever follow through with those promises? You might start saving for a month before deciding that you’d rather spend that money on other “necessities”. However, saving can be fairly easy. Even someone living on a strict budget can find ways to cut costs and save a little money. You can start small, such as shoving $5 or $10 away at the end of each month. Some people like to take all the small bills out of their wallet at the end of the week. If you don’t carry cash, have part of your paycheck automatically deposited to a savings account.

Spend Less

Spending less money is also easier said than done. But a lot of us have the unfortunate tendency of overspending on certain products. Sometimes this occurs because there’s a minimum balance requirement, which often happens at online retailers and tricks people into spending more money. You’ll need to start taking stock of how much money you’re spending and where you can cut costs. For instance, instead of buying that $20 bottle of special shampoo, you might want to try the $5 brand instead.

Pay Down Debt

Paying down debt is difficult, especially if you’ve accumulated so much debt that it seems as if you’ll never pay it off in your lifetime. However, you should make a resolution to attempt to get a handle on your debt. Once you know how much you owe and each payment plan, you can start to create your own short and long term goals and work toward paying it down. This might be setting aside extra money each week for a monthly payment or taking on extra jobs to make large payments on the interest or principal balances.

Have an Emergency Fund

Emergency funds are important to have in case anything unexpected happens such as a medical emergency, a natural disaster, or the loss of a job. While creating an emergency fund is difficult if you’re living paycheck to paycheck, you can always try and put aside a little extra money. When you receive your tax returns, you can set aside a portion for your emergency fund, for instance. In an ideal world, your emergency fund should be able to cover your expenses for six months. If that seems unlikely for your financial budget, you should plan to have one that can at least cover your expenses for one month.

Create a Budget

Sometimes the best way to keep control of your finances is to create a budget. Mark down all your expenses so you know how much you need for the month. This will help you to see how much you need to save and how much leftover income you have. Creating a budget also gives you a firm number to work with and makes you more aware of how much money you’re spending each month.

Track Your Finances

When was the last time you looked at a bank statement? How often do you swipe your debit or credit card without thinking twice? You should make a habit of tracking your financial statements for a few reasons. For one, it might help you address unneeded spending. You might not realize how often you order takeout until you see it listed on your bank statement. Additionally, looking at your bank statements can help you address any fraud claims. There are plenty of people who never really know how much money they have in their bank account and would never know if someone charged something to their account.

Checking Your Credit

You should make a habit of checking your credit at least once a year. Not only is this a good way to prevent identity theft, but it will help keep you up to date on your credit history and score. A bad credit history can create problems down the road, so if you have plans of buying a home or applying for insurance, you might be able to improve your credit. Free credit reports are available at Annual Credit Report.

Start a Retirement Fund

Many people don’t take advantage of starting a retirement fund when they first enter the workforce. Sometimes it’s because they believe they don’t have to worry about a retirement fund until later in life and sometimes it’s because they think they can’t part with the money. However, one of your primary financial goals should be creating a retirement fund. What would happen if you never saved money for retirement? You want to be able to have all your expenses covered in your old age, right? Start putting money into a 401(k) account as soon as you can.

Be Aware of Fees

How many times have you swiped a card somewhere even when you knew you’d encounter a $3 fee? Or maybe you were feeling lazy and didn’t want to go to the grocery store, so you decided to pay the $10 fee for grocery delivery. Maybe you overdrew your bank account and now have to pay a $25 fee. Regardless of the reason, you should be more aware of associated costs and fees with your transactions as this could help you avoid them and save money in the future.

Cash Only

Have you ever considered going on a cash only budget? Getting rid of your debit and credit cards might help you to save more and spend less. When you only have cash, you’re limited to only spending a certain amount.

What are some of the financial resolutions you’re planning to make this year?

(Photo courtesy of simplyla)

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100 Responses to 10 Financial Resolutions Everyone Should Make

  1. Mandala says:

    Save a small amount at the end of the week and deposit it. Pay off my debts. Thanks!

  2. Lori P says:

    Going to pay down some debt that I have.

  3. Emi says:

    I need to pay more attention to my investments. Some of the stocks and mutual funds that I had went really far down and I only check them once a month which is super late to be selling them.

  4. Michelle.A. says:

    We’re going to try and eat at home more to save more money.

  5. Sheila says:

    We have set a budget and will be tracking to the penny!

  6. kara says:

    lots of changes. started saving again

  7. Kim says:

    We plan to save more cash; and declutter and prepare our house to sell so that we can move quickly.

  8. Angelia says:

    I have a ton of newly acquired medical bills that I need pay off that I will be working on this year.

  9. jay says:

    Biggest problem: eating out, rather take out. Keep on trying to cut back!

  10. Michelle says:

    I’m planning on cutting back on spending and paying off as much of my student loans as I can.

  11. kelly nicholson says:

    What changes to your finances are you planning for the New Year?

    more.more money baby!

  12. Elizabeth says:

    Pay down debt!

  13. Karla Sceviour says:

    hopefully,saving more money and creating a stricter budget!

  14. Gail Williams says:

    Pre-planning for retirement for my husband and me means cutting back on spending and considering where to downsize!

  15. Jen Haile says:

    Be more careful on my spending and save more!

  16. Samantha says:

    Got to get to a cash only point, and bulk up the emergency fund.

  17. Kristan Reynolds says:

    I am hoping for a raise so I can try to get a little ahead instead of so far behind. I don’t do any extra spending, yet am still always broke. ugh!!

  18. Stephanie O says:

    Cutting back on eating out and in other areas. Using a budget and cash.

  19. Stephanie O says:

    Are you doing 1000 gifts/Joy Dare? I seen the paper… I am doing it.

  20. Carla Bonesteel says:

    I need to save money, and hopefully, get a raise at work!

  21. Deneen Berry says:

    I win !

  22. Gailete says:

    I keep a spiral notebook with each page for a particular month in each year and I can get several years in one notebook. I go through the past year and write down the major expenses that each month generates such as car or house insurance, estimated taxes since we are self employed, life insurance, etc. When monthly bills come in they too are written in the notebook so there is no way to ‘forget’ them and by looking into the notebook even though you might not have any big expenses this month seeing that you have a big one coming up next month will help you decide that this isn’t a good month to ‘blow’ $500 that is burning a hole in your pocket this month, tuck it away to pay next month’s $500 bill.

  23. Carson says:

    Increase savings

  24. nicole w says:

    I plan to pay off a good portion of my debts!

  25. Michelle M. says:

    My husband and I are working to bring our credit card balance to 0. It feels good to watch the numbers go down!

  26. molli vandehey says:

    really making a budget and trying to expand my work from home ooportunities

  27. CB in the City says:

    I’m going to do a spending fast in January (no spending other than needs) and pay at least double on my mortgage all year.

  28. Diana B says:

    I’d like to cut down on our spending.

  29. amber says:

    I’m planning to save consistently every month, at least $100

  30. Judy says:

    save a little bit each month; try to set it up so it goes into savings automatically.

  31. Dena says:

    I added an extra $100 per month to my monthly mortgage payment to save $$ over the life of the mortgage.

  32. eleanor says:

    I plan on increasing my savings and watch what I’m spending.

  33. Biku Toria says:

    I want to lose weight and exercise more, which means I will purchase less food so I’m less tempted to eat more!

  34. In 2013 one of our financial resolutions will be to invest more in our retirement funds. We have a budget that we understand and hope to stick to better than last year as well to stick to the plan.

  35. Darla Mathews says:

    To set some attainable and specific goals and break them down per quarter.

  36. Cheryl Chervitz says:

    I will save a small amount from each paycheck to help me out.

  37. patricia skinner says:

    I am trying to save money and pay for things like the trash pickup yearly instead of monthly.

  38. Angie Hall says:

    Pay off debt this year!!

  39. Anne says:

    I have already started a cash only budget and it really makes you think more about what you spend. I am starting a savings, IRA and college fund for the kids this year as well as investing in life insurance.

  40. JMK says:

    Continue living on ~55-60% of net income, with minimum 30% going to retirement savings and extra mortgage payments. Still debating how to allocate the remaining 10-15%. Usually our annual trip (our sole luxury in an ultra frugal lifestyle) chews through a significant amount, but we’re considering downsizing the trip this year and doing a couple of home improvements and putting the rest toward the mortgage. On our accelerated mortgage payoff plan, we’ll be done in 5yrs, but we’re playing with the numbers to see if 3yrs is possible and what we’d have to do, or not do, to make that happen.

  41. Sarah L says:

    No using credit – cash only

  42. Rusu Alexandru says:

    Search for a Job!

  43. sandra says:

    trying to add more to our kids’ 529 plans

  44. Annmarie W. says:

    I’m going to watch my spending more closely, and try to buy fewer things that we don’t need!

  45. Cujo says:

    I’m going to look for more savings when I shop.

  46. Jill says:

    Always shop with coupons.

  47. colleen boudreau says:

    Pay off debt.

  48. BlackAsphodel says:

    Pay off debt.

    My e-mail: blackasphodel(at)yahoo(dot)com

  49. Renski says:

    I plan to better track my money.

  50. Jose says:

    These are all good financial resolutions. But why not make some solid goals for yourself for 2013? Set a goal to increase your emergency fund, another to pay off a certain amount of debt.

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