The new year is the most popular time to reflect on the previous year and come up with New Year’s resolutions to improve your finances and overall well-being. However New Year’s resolutions often fall short because they are set, but not kept. The key is to set one main goal and not a laundry list of goals that are overwhelming. We turned to our writers to find out their New Year’s resolutions and tips for keeping them.
Pay Off Student Loan Debt
It would be nice to get rid of our last non-mortgage debt. Our goal for 2015 is to finally get rid our student loan. To keep ourselves on track and for anyone else who would like to get rid of student loan debt, you can achieve paying down debt by setting up extra automated weekly payments. – Elle Martinez of Couplemoney
Teach Children More About Money
Last year, we opened savings accounts together. This year, I will spend time with my children reviewing their quarterly statements so they can understand the interest (albeit quite minimal) they earn. If teaching your children more about money is also your New Year’s resolution goal, the earlier children begin to understand what money is, what it allows them to do and what it does not allow them to do, the better they can appreciate and appropriately prioritize finances (which is not to say at the top) in their life. – Michael Rubin, CPA, CFP of Total Candor
Implement a Family Budget
Next year I want to implement a personal budget for my family. This has proved difficult in the past as I’ve built my businesses and relied on variable income. But now I have a good baseline and can create a budget using that number. If implementing a family budget is first on your list of New Year’s resolutions you can stick to it by using a good budgeting tool like Mint or Quicken. – Phil Taylor, CPA of PT Money
Don’t Let Problems Turn Into Financial Crisis
I always use things up and wear them out before I replace them, partly because of the way I was raised and partly because I hate to spend money on something I already own. But that becomes a crisis purchase when something has to be replaced quickly.
Because of this, I have ended up with a refrigerator that is ancient, a television that doesn’t work quite right, an inefficient washer and dryer, and an aging heating system. If this sounds like you, you can put aside money into a special fund to help you replace major items in case they break down. This year I plan to put $250 a month into a special fund earmarked for these major items. That way, I won’t feel a financial pinch when I replace these things, and I can shop around during the year for the best deal rather than purchasing something quickly in a crisis. – Ginita Wall CPA, CFP
We would love to hear. What are your New Year’s resolution goals? How do you plan to keep them?