How to Keep That Financial New Year's Resolution
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Hi Taylor - I’m determined to make good changes for my New Year’s resolution. So… how can I start saving money and actually stick to my plan? - Valerie
Hey Valerie - The first step for making a resolution stick is usually asking for help, so you’re already off to a great start! Think of the goal as a faraway destination, and your job is to figure out what roads you’ll take to get there. Here are three steps you can take to help with this particular New Year’s journey.
1. Lock in a budget. The New Year is a great time to start budgeting or begin a new budgeting approach. Since your goal is to save more money, you have to figure out what options you have for spending less. With a detailed budget that categorizes your expenses, you can pinpoint the areas in your life that could use a dose of frugality. Set a realistic spending limit you can stick to, then move the money that would have been lost to dining out or entertainment and move it into a savings category. Committing to a strict budget can be tough, but hopefully that New Year’s determination you feel will help you get the job done.
2. Dispose of the recurring bills. I’ve been a big fan of the Truebill app for this purpose. The service scans your accounts and gives a report of all the subscriptions that are siphoning away your money. The vast majority of people pay fees they don’t even know about, so this app can save you money in a hurry. You might think you need five different streaming services, but seeing them lined up next to each other and clocking how much it costs you each month might be enough to change your mind about that.
3. Invest. You know the best way to stop spending money? Move it into an account where you won’t be tempted to spend it! I can’t tell you how many people don’t invest because they’re afraid of losing liquidity, and yet maintaining too much liquidity is the basis of their financial problems. I suggest using that extra money and invest it! You won’t have to deal with the constant temptation to spend dollars just sitting in your checking account. The fear of investing is strong but illogical, so do your best to overcome it.
If you want to do a deeper dive into shoring up your finances in the New Year, check out my blog post at GoFarWithKovar.com. Everyone will enter 2020 with the motivation to make sweeping changes, but only a few people will take concrete steps to make those goals come true. Wishing you a happy and successful year!