From eating more greens to calling your parents more often, New Year’s resolutions can help kickstart the year in a positive way. If one of your 2021 intentions is to better your financial situation, you’ve come to the right place. Whether your goal is to save money, reduce debt or start saving for your kids’ college, we’re here to help make budgeting a resolution you can actually keep. Here are a few tips for setting a financial goal, making a plan, and sticking to it.
Set your goal.
The first step to achieving any goal is to make a solid commitment, and the fact that you even clicked on this blog means you’re ready to make an effort. First, it’s important to understand what your goals actually are. Grab a piece of paper or fresh word doc and write what you’d like to accomplish in 2021 and why. And be specific. Consider something like, “I want to save $150 each month, leading to a savings account of $1800 by the end of the year.” Studies show that people who write down their goals are 42 percent more likely to achieve them.
Make a plan.
Now that you’ve established your goals, create a sustainable plan for achieving them. The best way to do this is to focus on one thing at a time. If your goal this year is to reduce student debt, next year your goal could be to build a savings account. Another thing to consider while making your plan is how to break the goal into small chunks. Instead of trying to reduce student debt by an extra $1200 this year, look at it as $25 per week or $100 per month. Staying focused can help keep you from getting frustrated and abandoning your plan all together. Our downloadable budget spreadsheet can be a big help when it comes to this step.
Build a team.
When it comes to resolutions, you need accountability. It helps you keep tabs on your progress, your successes, and your opportunities to improve. Apps like Mint can help a lot, and are great for setting goals, tracking finances, investing, and setting aside savings automatically. Another way to receive feedback is by using the buddy system. Team up with a friend or family member who is also trying to accomplish a resolution, financial or otherwise. This way, you’ll have mutual support while holding each other accountable.
Celebrate small accomplishments.
Being financially stable is already a great incentive, but sharing your success with your family members or a buddy (another great reason to have a buddy!) can be a great motivation. Movie nights, game nights and even just bake-yourself-a-cake nights are great, cost effective ways to celebrate a money milestone.
Don’t give up.
We get it – life happens. There might come a month when you’re not able to achieve your goal. Don’t use this is a reason to give up on your resolution. Reevaluate your situation and adjust your game plan accordingly. Nobody is 100% perfect all the time. The only thing that matters is that you brush yourself off and get back on track.
We know keeping a New Year’s resolution can be difficult, so making the effort is very admirable. With the right motivation, support and budgeting help from our budget blogs, we know you can do it. And as always, if you need assistance during the year and beyond, World Finance can help with a loan that’s right for you.