If you’re like most people, you likely start each year with a list of resolutions to help you improve various aspects of your life. For example, your list may include resolutions to help you become more physically fit, further your career growth and enhance meaningful relationships. Another popular category of resolutions often centers around financial health.
If the latter is one of your typical resolutions, there’s a good chance that your list of new year goals looks the same, year after year ... after year. Yes, it’s easy to develop ideas you believe can improve your finances by year’s end, but maintaining those resolutions and making them a reality is entirely another story.
Spend less, save more, pay down debt — how can you make 2022 the year you actually stick to these and other financial resolutions?
Below, we’ve compiled a list of tips that can help you keep your financial resolutions throughout the new year and beyond.
Set Measurable Goals. Don’t just resolve to be better with money this year. Set realistic, measurable goals to help you stay on track and ensure you’re making progress. For example, you can resolve to decrease your spending by a certain amount when you hit the mid-year point. You might decide to trim your spending in a specific category by a set percentage or make it a goal to pay all your bills on time for the entire year.
Bonus tip: To make it easier, keep those goals SMART:
Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant Time-based
Spend Mindfully. Creating a budget can take some time and lots of number crunching, but it’s not the real challenge of financial wellness. The hard part comes when you have to stick to that budget and make it part of your lifestyle. Unfortunately, spending money before consciously thinking about the purchase is one of the top reasons many don’t end up sticking with their budget.
Resolve to be more mindful of your spending this year, which means thinking about what you’re doing before swiping that card or handing over that cash to the cashier. Please take a moment to think about what you’re purchasing, how much you’re paying for it, and whether you actually need it.
Bonus tip: To make this easier, calculate how much of your work-time you’re “spending” when you make a large purchase. Is it worth the price and your effort earning that amount?
Partner Up With a Friend. According to MyFitnessPal.com, dieters who share their food diaries with a buddy lose twice as much weight. Using the basic psychology principles on accountability is can be very helpful. When we know we have to answer to someone else, we’re more likely to stick to our resolutions — including financial resolutions as well.
Choose a friend in a similar financial bracket as you are and who has a comparable relationship with money. Additionally, it helps if they have similar financial goals to work towards together. Set up a weekly time to review progress (or regression) you each have made. Make sure you both come prepared with details and proof to show how you have handled your money.
Write It Down. Nowadays, people rarely use pen and paper, so writing down New Year resolutions can seem obsolete, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t happen. According to science, the act of putting your financial goals into writing will help imprint them into your memory. Plus, you’ll have a list of your resolutions to reference throughout the year to help keep you on track.
Bonus tip: Writing doesn’t need to be physical to make it count. You can use a goal-tracking app that allows you to record, track and reference your resolutions at any time with just a few quick clicks.
Sticking to your financial resolutions isn’t always easy. Follow the tips outlined here to make 2022 the year you truly get your finances into shape.
Many local institutions, like Rio Grande Credit Union, offer financial wellness coaching to help you meet your goals. In addition, shop around for low-rate loans and higher-rate deposit accounts and benefits to save more money. Visit RioGrandeCU.org for more tips and tricks to financial wellness.