Get more exercise. Lose weight. Quit smoking. These are the bold boasts of New Year’s resolutions. Folks commit themselves to radically changing their lives at the start of the calendar year. About 45% of people make New Year’s resolutions in the average year, and most have to do with health.
The same line of thinking can be taken in the context of your financial health. Let’s look at some of the most oft-made New Year’s resolutions and how to translate them into personal finance resolutions. We’ll also have a few tips on how to stick to them!
1.) Quit smoking – Give up credit cards
This is the most common New Year’s resolution, and with good reason. Smoking is bad for you in the present and in the future. It’s powerfully addictive and very difficult to put down.
Make a resolution to lose your credit card “addiction” in 2018. Make this the year of living within your means while borrowing responsibly. Pledge to make 2018 a debt-free year. If you’re keeping a card “for emergencies,” take it out of your wallet. Put it in a safe place and only use it in a genuine emergency. Use your City CU debit card to maintain the convenience of plastic and lose the staggering interest rates. If you do need a credit card, chances are your City CU Credit Card has the lowest rate. Keep that card and dump the rest.
2.) Lose weight – Trim the fat from your budget
Retailers have Black Friday in November; gyms have it on January 2. Everyone will be trying to shed the holiday pounds by spinning, swimming and sweating. The rewards are substantial: people who weigh less are more likely to be promoted at work, live longer and even spend less each year.
There’s another place you can trim fat besides your belly: your budget. Sit down with your spouse to discuss how you spend money each week. Look for places you can make cuts without sacrificing things you both enjoy. Pay special attention to groceries and meals out.
3.) Family time – Make a will
Time is short. Spend it with people and things you care about. The holidays are a time to rekindle connections with family members and enjoy time with the people who mean the most to you.
That same realization that life is short should be a call to make sure your finances are in order. A will can help to ensure that your passing will be another time of family togetherness. Your family can focus on helping each other through the difficult time rather than dealing with bill collectors and lawyers trying to divide your stuff. Making a will is a courtesy you do for your family in the event you pass away unexpectedly.
4.) Get healthy – Start investing
Eating right and taking care of yourself are good steps to take for your future. A well-balanced diet can make you feel years younger. It can even save you money in doctor’s visits and prescription drugs.
To set yourself up for a bright financial future, start planning for your retirement. At the very least, make 2018 the year you max out your retirement contributions. If you don’t have an IRA or similar retirement account, that’s another good place to start.
5.) Cut down on stress – Save for big events
Stress is a big-time killer. It shortens your life and makes it less fun to live. Resolving to take time for yourself and your family can improve your life dramatically.
The holidays are an expensive time of year. Many families finance their gift-giving with credit cards, and that bill will come due in the next few weeks. Talk about stress! Starting 2018 in a financial hole can hamper your plans to live a stress-free year.
Instead of beating yourself up about it, resolve to do better next year. Start our Holiday Helper Account, make regular deposits so you’ll have the money to pay for the next round of holidays yourself. It might not do much for January 2018, but you’ll be thanking yourself in January 2019.