As cliche as it is, I really believe the New Year is the best time for a financial gut check. The problem that I historically ran in to is not the making of resolutions (hello, fun part), but sticking with them. Come February I’ve forgotten about those oh so important ‘resolutions’. So it goes without saying that by the end of the year, I likley haven’t accomplished what I set out to in January. It’s no surprise then that a recent Capital One survey found that only 1/3 of Americans felt they accomplished their financial goals in 2015. If this 1/3 was anything like me, they likely forgot what their goals were :).
After a couple years of this trend, I knew I needed to do something different. Below are my top 5 ‘doable’ financial resolutions for those that need a little push to get started!
1 – Assess priorities | Before creating a financial resolution game plan, it’s important to really look in the mirror (errr… not at your pores) and evaluate what’s important, what’s realistic & what are your long term goals. This is the time to be honest; if you know that you’re not going to be able to give up regular takeout meals after work, for example, don’t promise yourself that this is where you’ll save money. It sounds like a no-brainer, but every year I do crazy things, such as swearing off wine, in order to save money. Sure enough that one always falls flat.
2 – Automate, Automate, Automate! | Two benefits to automation 1) it’s a time saver & 2) what you don’t see you don’t miss. With a Capital One savings account, you can set aside a fixed amount of money to be moved from your checking account to your savings account (aka – higher interest rate) each month without having to lift a finger! Check out their ‘Automatic Savings Plan’ tool. Hello auto pilot.
3 – 24 Hour Rule | The 24 hour rule is … you guessed it: wait at least 24 hours before making any non essential purchase. Note that I’m not telling you NOT to purchase things, but just to give yourself a reasonable amount of time to assess whether you really need that item. I’ve learned from experience, what seems like a Container Store ’emergency’ doesn’t seem so urgent after I sleep on it. When the 24 hour buzzer is up and you still want to purchase, make sure you’re using a credit card that has a rewards program that fits your needs. The Capital One Venture Card has unlimited rewards and bonus miles for all your jet setters!
4 – Track! | Another past mistake that I’ve learned is that tracking needs to be easy and quick. When it’s not, it can feel overwhelming to keep up. The most ‘beautiful’ formula crazy spreadsheets aren’t worth the effort to create if the maintenance on it is too high. I’m an intense lover of spreadsheets, but for those of you who aren’t too crazy about SUMIF formulas, the ‘My Savings Goals’ tool within Capital One is pretty slick and …. you guessed it: EASY!
5 – Evaluate | Remember that gut check that I mentioned in January? Well, let’s continue that quarterly. It’s ok if you realize that the goals you created in January just aren’t realistic come March. If that’s the case, you need to have another personal heart to heart with yourself and determine what IS realistic. Instead of blowing off the resolutions, just REVAMP them.
May your New Years financial resolutions stick and may you NEVER try to give up wine in order to save money 🙂
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.