Now is the time to be making plans for 2020. We explore different money resolutions and the best ways to stick to them.
Making resolutions is easy, but sticking to them is the hard part. One of the golden rules when it comes to keeping New Year’s resolutions is to make them as realistic as possible.
Consider focusing your energy on just one or two resolutions at a time. This way you will have more chance of sustaining them.
When it comes to financial plans, affordability is key, so set aside some time to draw up a budget for the upcoming year. Citizens Advice have a handy budgeting tool on their website to help you compare your income and outgoings. This will make it clear if there are any areas you can cut back on.
Try to integrate plans into your current lifestyle, instead of making massive changes that are difficult to maintain.
Start with short-term objectives, then once you have achieved these aims, you should feel more confident to gradually extend the goal post to reach your long-term resolutions.
We recommend the ‘SMART’ process, popular in business.
- S - Be specific about your goal
- M - Decide how you will make it measurable
- A - Make it achievable by breaking into steps or phases
- R - Ensure it’s realistic
- T - Keel it time limited by setting a sensible timeframe to achieve your goal
Let's take a look at some more specific money resolutions you could look into this upcoming year:
‘I aim to become more financially savvy’
If you want to gain more financial know-how in the new year, think about how you will achieve this in steps. Consider setting yourself a target to read an in-depth finance article once a week, or sign up to a newsletter or podcast for up-to-date insights and money management tips.
Check out our blog on podcasts to make you better with money, for some of our top recommendations.
‘I want to increase my savings’
Do you want to save more money for a rainy day, an emergency fund or a holiday. Whatever the reason, why not consider the 1 penny challenge where you save daily in small increments?
On the first of January you save 1 pence, then on the second day you put away 2 pence, and so on. By the 31st December you’ll only need to save £3.65. With these small increases, the pounds will soon roll in. In a normal year you will save £667.95 in total.
In the first month you would save £4.96. You can calculate this by adding together 1 pence, 2 pence, 3 pence etc up to 31 pence for 31 days in January. The amount you save will increase month on month, so you have to bear this in mind when it comes to Christmas, to make sure you have budgeted for it.
Double-check that it’s an affordable method for you, without sacrificing your priority bills.
For more simple saving strategies, take a look at our recent article on this subject.
‘I will make my own lunches’
You can quickly rack up spending on food if you tend to go to cafes on your lunch break. Why not make a cost-cutting resolution to make your own lunches? To see how much you can save, take a look at this quick cash finder tool to see how you could quickly save money by cutting back on regular lifestyle expenses like eating out, coffees and magazines etc.
It could be unrealistic to aim to do this every single day, so consider making your own lunch just a few times a week to begin with. We’ve found some tasty recipes to help get you started.
‘I will increase my income’
New year, new you? At this time of year many people review the last twelve months, and take stock of what went well, and what they’d like to do differently.
If you want to increase your income in 2020, or you just fancy a new challenge, setting a resolution to get a new job could pay dividends. Think about breaking this down into smaller steps, starting with sprucing up your CV to boost your chances of landing an interview.
Our top tips to help you stick to your resolutions:
Try and make your resolutions positive so you are focusing on what you want, instead of what you don’t want to happen. So, instead of saying ‘I won’t spend money at the cafe’, rephrase your goal to say ‘I will save money by making homemade lunches’, for example. Visualise what life will be like when you finally achieve your goal.
The best way to motivate yourself is by taking action, the motivation will follow. Try not to postpone resolutions like sorting out your finances or switching energy provider for instance. Why put off for tomorrow what can be done today?
Write down your goals
Write your goals down, then you are sure to remember them. By putting pen to paper, you are also making a commitment to yourself that you can keep referring to if you feel you’re about to fall off the wagon. Think about writing post-it notes or setting calendar reminders in your phone to jog your memory.
List your reasons
List the reasons behind each intention you have set. If your resolution is to save more money, ask yourself why you want to do this. Is it for a holiday? An emergency fund? For peace of mind? Reminding yourself of the purpose behind it will help keep you focused on the task at hand.
Think about telling your family and friends about your money resolutions. This should make them feel more real and make you feel more accountable, and in turn more likely that you will keep them up. You never know, friends might share your financial aspirations and you could spur each other along. There’s also nothing wrong with a bit of friendly competition for extra motivation.
Track your progress
Review your resolutions from time to time to see how you are getting along. Make a list and break them down into small, achievable chunks and tick them off one by one.
For example, if you’re looking to save a certain sum over the course of the year, break it into smaller manageable amounts, by dividing the figure by twelve months. Then manage your budget to make this more achievable, and you should soon see your savings mounting up.
Don’t beat yourself up if you cave at the first hurdle. One survey has found that more than 80% of people fail by Valentine’s Day. But this is no reason to quit altogether.
Ask yourself what you could do differently next time. Remind yourself why you made the resolution in the first place, and don’t throw in the towel. By rewarding yourself with treats each step of the way, your sense of achievement should increase and it’ll make the process a lot more fun. For example, if you managed to save £100 this month, why not treat yourself to something worth 10% of this?
Good luck for the new year
Remember, it isn’t all or nothing. Be patient with yourself and use these tips to stick to your resolutions, even if you stumble along the way.
Most importantly, decide what is the best resolution for you. Make your goals personal and meaningful to you, and this will give you the best chance of achieving them in the new year.
If you are looking to improve your credit score, take a look at our blog on how you can improve it in 30days.
Or if you want to reduce your debt in 2020, why not check out our latest article on this topic.
Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.
By Adele Kitchen
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