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Organizing and Improving your Finances in 2019

The new year is almost upon us and, for a lot of people, this is a time for making New Year’s resolutions. Even if you’re not the type of person to make formal resolutions, many people like to set goals for themselves at this time of year.

Some of the most common goals and resolutions involve money and finances.

Here are some tips for making financial New Year’s resolutions, coming up with ways to make them stick, and creating plans that will improve your financial situation in 2019.

Tips for Making Financial Resolutions that Stick

Before you set your New Year’s resolutions, it’s a good idea to figure out how to make resolutions that work. After all, we’ve all had resolutions that we’ve broken by February and forgot about completely by March, and there isn’t much point of making resolutions if you’re not going to keep them, so it’s a good idea to set resolutions you can keep.

So here are some ways to making resolutions that are easier to stick to.

  • Set achievable goals
    • You need to set goals that are reasonable and attainable. Otherwise, you’ll get frustrated with the difficulty of achieving these goals and give up.
    • For example, if you have $50,000 in debt and you make $50,000 a year, it’s not a reasonable goal to say that you want to completely pay off your debt this year. It’s also not reasonable to say you want to have $100,000 saved for retirement if you currently have nothing saved.
    • Don’t set yourself up for failure by setting goals that are too extreme.
  • Make specific goals
    • Set goals that have a specific outcome in mind. This will allow you to chart your process and figure out if you’re reaching your goal.
    • For example, if you say “I want to save more money,” how will you know that you’ve achieved this goal? But, if you say “I want to put $500 into my retirement savings account each month” then you have something specific to work towards.
  • Make sure you are in control of the outcome
    • You want to set goals where the outcome is determined by you.
    • For example, if your goal is to get a raise or a better job, make your resolution to ask for a raise or to send out a certain number of resumes or job applications. This way, your own actions determine whether or not you succeed.

Ideas for Financial Resolutions

Need some help coming up with ideas for financial New Year’s resolutions? Here are some ideas for possible goals that you may wish to set. Remember though, that your goals should be specific to you and your situation.

  • Prioritize your debts
    • Make it your New Year’s resolution to prioritize your debts and come up with a plan for paying them off.
    • Not all debt is equal. If you want to pay down your debt, one of the first things you should do is prioritize your debts. Debts with high interest rates (such as credit card debts) should be paid down before other debt, since these debts cost more to carry each month.
  • Create (or adjust) your retirement plan
    • If you don’t currently have a plan for how you will save for retirement, creating one and sticking to it is a good New Year’s resolution.
    • If you do have a plan, make it your resolution to check in on how you’re doing with your savings plan and make adjustments as necessary.
  • Cut down on fees
    • We pay a lot of fees for a lot of different things, such as bank fees and fees to use certain credit cards. This year, make it a resolution to look at all of the fees you are paying and see what you can do to reduce them. Sometimes, if you call your bank, they will offer to switch you to a plan that has lower fees. If they don’t, consider switching banks.
  • Track your spending
    • Do you track how much you spend each month and what you spend it on? This is a big part of sticking to a budget. If you’re not currently tracking your spending, come up with a convenient way to do so and make this one of your resolutions.