How many times have you broken your New Year’s resolutions? If you’re like most Australians, you’re not likely to see your resolution to fruition by the end of the year. In fact, 58% of Australians broke their New Year’s resolutions in 2015.
When you start the New Year, you’re full of inspiration and passion. Over time, reality sets in. Whether you’re committed to making new resolutions every year or this is your first time setting a new goal, it’s important to follow through as best as you can, especially when it comes to your wallet.
The New Year is the best time to adopt new money habits. If you’re struggling to gain control of your finances, leave those bad habits in the past. It’s time to take charge and make a change for the better.
If you set yourself up for success, you’ll join the ranks of those who manage to keep their resolutions throughout the year. Think of how exciting it will be to conquer a new challenge. Here are 5 New Year’s resolutions for your wallet. Plus, read until the end for a free saving calendar to use this year.
1. Challenge Yourself to a Spending Freeze
If you’re not sure where to begin when it comes to your finances, it’s time for a reset. The cost of necessities is on the rise in Australia, and a quarter of households have less than $1,000 in cash savings. With numbers like that, it’s important that you recognize the value of staying on top of your own budget.
How often do you splurge for that fancy coffee on your way to work? Do you find yourself going out to eat even after you planned to cook at home? All of these little expenses might not seem like much on their own, but they add up in a big way.
Odds are, you probably don’t realize how much you swipe your card without thinking about it. It’s time for a change. This year, challenge yourself to a 30-day spending freeze. This is a challenge where you only spend money on your necessities. That means no more stops at the coffee shop or unnecessary dinners out.
Spend your money only on things you need like groceries, utilities, and housing. This forces you to reevaluate those impulse purchases you didn’t even know you were making. Put the money you save at the end of the month towards your savings account or your emergency fund. Don’t worry, it’s not as hard as it sounds. You’ll quickly discover you didn’t need those small purchases in the first place.
2. Simplify Your Subscriptions
This is the easiest New Year’s resolution for your wallet because you can do it in just a few minutes. Are you paying for subscriptions you’re not using? Why let your money go to waste? Things like gym memberships, magazine subscriptions, and streaming accounts can add up quickly if you aren’t using them.
Not sure what you’re paying for? A service like Clarity Money is free to use and helps you cancel your unwanted subscriptions. Let’s face it, you probably don’t need to pay for 5 different movie and TV services each month. Remember, you can always re-subscribe in the future.
3. Check Your Credit Cards
Are you making the most of your credit cards? While many Australians struggle under credit card debt, credit cards are a great way to earn cash-back and rewards if you use them responsibly. Work with a debt specialist this year to see if there are any options for debt consolidation or low-interest balance transfers that make paying off your debt less expensive.
A great place to start your credit card search is by reviewing your credit score. From there, you’ll know what options are available for your situation. As always, work with a debt specialist to create a plan for managing your finances in the New Year.
4. Eat Out Less Frequently
Another common resolution that helps you save money is to stop the habit of always eating out. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian households spend an average of almost $100 every week on restaurant meals and takeaway. That’s money you could be putting towards your savings.
Eating at home is both more affordable and healthier. You can control all of your ingredients and portion sizes, plus it’s easy to make extra for lunch the next day. What’s better than a home cooked meal?
Even if you’re not an experienced home cook, start learning the basics of meal planning. There are lots of easy to follow recipes online that can turn anyone into a great cook! Soon, you’ll be a pro at packing lunches and making quick meals every day.
5. Build Your Emergency Fund
Finally, your last New Year’s resolution should be to build an emergency fund. This is different than a savings account. It’s money you put aside specifically in case of an emergency. Truthfully, we can never guess what’s around the corner. You might lose your job, your car might break down, or you might encounter an unexpected expense.
If you have an emergency fund, you don’t have to fall back on lines of credit to get out of tricky spots. A good baseline for your emergency fund is having at least 3 months of expenses covered. However, saving just $1,000 will do wonders for your financial peace of mind.
Yearly Saving Calendar To Help With Financial New Year’s Resolutions
You know you want to save money this year, but you don’t know where to begin. The idea of putting money aside every paycheck is often intimidating, especially when you’re new to saving. At Debt Busters, we’ve created a savings calendar that anyone can use to put money aside every week without the stress.
This plan is fully customizable. You can double the amount if you feel comfortable, or just stick with it as is. If you have extra money each week, feel free to add even more to your savings. The only rule is that you put something away towards your savings every week.
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With this plan above, you can save over $1,000 in a year. This is a great emergency fund or just extra cash to put towards your debt or another New Year’s resolution. If you need help customizing a plan that’s right for your budget or looking for ways to save, speak with an expert at Debt Busters. We have over 10 years of experience helping Australians conquer their financial goals.