With February already underway, many of us have made resolutions for the new year. Common goals include getting into shape or reaching out to an old friend. Another popular resolution is to do better financially. However, keeping these resolutions often proves harder than expected.
Because your financial well-being is so important, you should ensure to set goals that won’t be abandoned within days or weeks of creating them. To avoid this pitfall, I want to give you some quick tips for financial resolutions that you can actually keep throughout the year.
1. Build a budget even if you have trouble adhering to it
If you’ve ever worked in sales, you understand the importance of setting goals and having a playbook. Similarly, a budget acts as your financial playbook. It tells you how much money you should be spending in any given category.
A budget is important because it gives you a big-picture view of your needs. When you build a budget, it’s important to remember that the budget can be anything you desire. For example, you can establish goals for the bare minimum of expenses or build a plan that allows you to go out to dinner once a week.
Either way, the important thing here is the actual act of building the budget. Far too many Americans have very little financial literacy. By building a budget, even if you don’t stick with it, you’ll be one step closer to better understanding how your finances work.
2. Keep the coffee, but cut back
Many financial health articles focus on eliminating coffee from your daily routine, but a better option is to think about how you spend money on coffee. Cutting back on how much Starbucks you buy can be a great step, but it doesn’t mean you have to quit drinking your favorite cup of java. Brewing coffee at home or buying pre-brewed coffee from the store can help save a lot of money.
Of course, coffee isn’t the actual issue here; the main goal is to eliminate excessive spending. Whether it’s buying a soda at the gas station or a candy bar when you check out, all of these things add up. These habits are often hard to break, but if you can find a different way of feeding your cravings, you’ll also save some money.
Try thinking like an accountant and use a profit and loss statement template to understand better how you’re spending money and how much you’re earning.
3. Evaluate your financial security
Most successful people evaluate their financial security, so why shouldn’t you? Evaluating your financial security is an important resolution that you can keep. This means evaluating how secure your income is and how likely your expenses are to stay the same or change.
Another important component of understanding your financial security is to examine trends. For example, have your expenses been rising? Are you putting more charges on your credit card? All of these things could be signs that you’re spending too much.
Finally, look at your savings. Earlier I discussed the importance of building a savings plan. If you don’t have one or contribute very little to your savings plan, both could be signs of poor financial security. Either way, simply determining your financial security can be a simple and effective resolution.
4. Create a savings plan
If you’re already financially secure, it’s time to start protecting your savings. Many people consider life insurance one of the best ways to protect their income. Creating some type of savings plan operates similarly to a budget. Even if you’re unable to commit to saving money, simply building a savings plan can help put you in the right direction. Saving is one of the most frequent financial resolutions. However, an easier resolution that you can keep is building a savings plan in the first place.
5. Find a side gig
Finding a side gig can be a great way to generate additional income for yourself and your family. A side gig can be just about anything, but many service industry jobs are currently hiring. Picking up a few shifts during a week part-time can be an excellent way to earn extra cash.
The main benefit of finding another source of income is it creates a definite goal. Financial goals are often hard to keep because they aren’t concrete.
6. Meet with a financial professional to plan your financial future
Another simple goal you can set is to schedule a meeting with a financial professional. Whether a certified public accountant (CPA) or a licensed tax professional, meeting with an expert is an easy first step in building a healthy financial future.
A tax professional can help you find deductions to save you money on your taxes this year too. These professionals are an invaluable resource of information because their entire job is dedicated to financial well-being. This goal is probably the easiest and most achievable of any on this list.
7. Be persistent and stick with it
The final goal and the most important to keep in mind is to be persistent in your endeavors. Persistence is one of the key drivers of success, and it’s the main reason other people become financially secure. For example, actor Robert Downey Jr. was extremely troubled and had little to no money before his success in film. Sometimes, failure is the first step on the road to success.
By being persistent with your financial goals, you can continue to develop your financial literacy. Over time, these goals will become beneficial habits that you keep every day.
Wrapping up your financial resolutions
Most of these resolutions focus on creating and following specific types of financial plans for yourself. Building these plans and then following through on them are some of the simplest and most effective ways to build greater financial health this year.