It’s that time of year again, and that old voice in your head is probably getting loud again: Spend less money this year and save more.
It sounds so easy, doesn’t it? But, it seems like for many of us those financial New Year’s resolutions never fully work out.
Do you set financial goals at the start of every year? Are they attainable? All of them? Maybe you set five goals for yourself and by March you’ve already relapsed on two or three of them.
Instead of trying to set a lot of big financial goals, focus on doing a few small goals on a consistent basis.
Here are 10 realistic financial resolutions for you to consider this year:
Buy less coffee
The idea here is to think about how much you are spending on your hot morning fuel and set a reasonable limit. If you are buying a coffee every morning of the work week for $2.50, you are spending $12.50 per week. Trying cutting it down to two per week for a total of $5 per week. You can also think about alternatives to getting you going in the morning, like tea, apples, water with sliced fruit, smoothies, and some fruit juices.
Do you find yourself spending a lot of money on cab rides or gas for short trips? Try getting your feet on the ground and walking. You’d be surprised that a mile walk to a friend’s house can actually be enjoyable in comfortable weather. Bring a bottle of water just in case you start working up a sweat.
Save money without missing it
One of the most common financial resolutions every year is to save more money. “Put a certain amount of money from each paycheck away,” they say. That isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Or, is it? If you are serious about stashing away $50 a paycheck or even a month, you can set up your account to automatically transfer an amount of money to a separate savings account. This might take some trial and error to see how much you can stash away, but you should get to a point where the transfer is out of sight and out of mind, so you won’t even miss the money. Stop by any of our Honor Credit Union branches and we can help you set up a separate savings account with a personalized name and set up an automatic transfer!
Shop less, get more
Forego the latest fashion trends when you are shopping for work clothes and buy things that are going to stand up to your daily grind. This is another topic that might take some trial and error. Maybe you buy six new outfits a year – one every two months. Try cutting it down to three new outfits a year. Chances are you will see a significant amount of savings.
Pay off credit card debt
A good first step here is to stop using the credit card that has a big balance. Stop the bleeding so to speak. Next, you want to figure out how much you can afford to pay each month. Hint, you always want to try to pay more than the minimum payment so you can avoid mounting interest and years of paying. If paying off your credit card seems like a lost hope, stop in to an Honor Credit Union branch. We can work with you to possibly transfer your balance to one of our credit cards that offer a lower interest rate than your current card. We call that the Honor Difference!
One month with no takeout
Spending money on dining out or delivery food is one of the most common hits to the wallet and purse for Americans. We’re not saying you should stop altogether, but try one month. If you are spending $50 a week on food, you aren’t cooking at home; that’s $200 a month. Think how much closer to that new car or other big purchase you can get by stashing that $200 into a savings account!
Find a favorite water bottle
Bottled water is very convenient and in many cases tastes better than your tap water. But, think of the cost. Spending $6 per week on a case of bottled water is $24 per month. Take that $24 and buy a nice reusable water bottle and a water filter. Think of the savings!
This is another trial and error topic, but take a week or a month and come up with an organizational style that works for you. It could be a filing cabinet or drawer with folders for categories like medical, insurance, work, credit card, etc. Staying organized allows you to easily go back and review your finances when you want to adjust your spending habits.
Take care of yourself
This might seem like a very broad topic, and it is. But, it’s also an important one. Check your insurance coverage and take advantage of what it offers, from dental visits, to annual physicals and massage and chiropractor visits. Preventative care might cost you $30 for a few visits a year, but think about the bill you could get when you need a cavity filled.
Think about retirement
You’re in your 30s, you just started a family and bought a house. Money is tight. We completely understand. Now, think about your 70s and 80s when you are ready to retire, but you can’t because you haven’t been saving. Sit down with your family or financial advisor and crunch some numbers. What percent of your paycheck can you contribute to your 401K or IRA plan? Every little bit helps. Does this seem a little overwhelming? Get ahold of Honor Investment Services and have a quick conversation with us and see how we can help!
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