With the holidays just around the corner, now is the time to consider your upcoming New Year’s Resolutions. If you’re like the majority of people, your New Year’s Resolutions are quickly forgotten by the time February comes around. This is especially true for financial goals which quickly become overwhelming when you try to make them a reality.
If you’re feeling stuck about your New Year’s Resolutions this year, don’t fret. Empower yourself to make financial resolutions you’ll actually keep. According to the ANZ’s 2018 financial wellbeing snapshot, one-third of Australians are worrying about money. Don’t accept this as your reality.
Now is the time for building healthy money habits. Say goodbye to struggling to make ends meet and sleepless nights spent wondering how you’ll get out from under your debt. It’s time to make a change for the better, and it all starts with your New Year’s Resolutions.
Join us in making a resolution for the better. Here are some steps to help shape your New Year’s Resolutions into real-life goals you can turn into a reality.
1. Create SMART Goals
We’ve all made resolutions we didn’t keep. Maybe you said you’d go to the gym more or that you’ll learn a new language. These are goals that sound great at the time, but we soon realize they take a lot of hard work and long-term motivation. It’s the same with financial goals.
If you’re struggling to create goals that last, you might be making some of the most common goal setting mistakes. That’s why SMART goals are so valuable. What are SMART goals?
This means that instead of saying you want to “save more money” next year, you’ll create a real plan to save an extra $1000 by the year’s end. Setting a clear number meets all of the specific SMART requirements.
You can use this method for saving money, improving your credit, or paying off debt. It’s much easier to keep track of a SMART goal than something unclear like “be more responsible with money.” It’s time to get specific.
2. Build a Savings Plan
Now that you have clear New Year’s Resolutions that match the SMART requirements, you’re ready to create a savings plan. No matter your financial goal, you’ll need to build your savings needs into it if you want to make real progress.
Calculate how much you can reasonably save every month. The key word here is reasonably. If you want to overcome your debt within the next few months, for example, you’ll need to know just how much to put away every month without compromising your living expenses.
Building a basic savings plan is simple. Start by adding all of your monthly expenses like rent/mortgage, utilities, and food. Subtract this number from your monthly take-home income. What’s left is the leftover pay, give or take, that you can put towards things like your emergency fund, debt repayment, or investing.
3. Adjust Your New Year’s Resolutions
Your New Year’s Resolutions aren’t set in stone. Like all goals, you’ll need to revisit them from time to time to make sure they still fit your lifestyle and needs. A year is a long time, and that means things will change. You might have an emergency expense you have to pay for or maybe there’s a change in your income.
Take stock of your progress every few months. Note how far you’ve come and pat yourself on the back. These small steps mean you’re closer to achieving your New Year’s Resolution. If you need to change your resolution—or even add a new one—feel empowered to do just that.
4. Don’t Be Discouraged
Financial wellness is something that takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. As long as you’re making progress, you should feel proud. Keep yourself motivated by picturing how amazing it will feel to have accomplished your resolution. It’s closer than you think, just keep your motivation alive throughout the year.
Everyone struggles with motivation, especially when money is involved. Here are some real-life ways to hold yourself accountable:
- Talk it out – Don’t keep your resolutions to yourself. Talk to your friends and family about your goals and how far you have to go. Get them on your team!
- Write them down – Studies show that writing down your goals helps you stay motivated. Write your goals down somewhere where you can see them every day.
- Face your excuses – No matter how much self-control you have, you’ll still probably make excuses sometimes. Face your excuses for what they are.
- Rationalise them – If you want to splurge on a fancy shirt even if it breaks your budget, ask yourself why. Do you really need a new item in your wardrobe, or do you just want to treat yourself?
- Reward yourself – Though you should be reasonable, it’s great to treat yourself after you’ve made progress on your resolutions. Find inexpensive ways to reward your newfound healthy money habits.
Achieving New Year’s Resolution Success
Don’t let your resolutions fall prey to the post-New Year’s wasteland. While it’s intimidating to make a vow to accomplish a financial goal in a single year, it’s also empowering. You owe it to yourself to set realistic, attainable New Year’s Resolutions this year. It’s time to make a change that betters not only yourself but also your bank account.
Do you need help starting your New Year off on the right financial foot? Debt Busters has a decade of experience helping Australians conquer their debt once and for all. Whether you’re creating a plan to get out of debt or build an emergency fund, we can help you get there. Contact us today to get started.