About one-third of Americans intend to have a financial resolution for 2019. Some want to save more while others are focused on paying down debt. Aspiring to spend less is another common goal this time of year. Like them, I have also set some financial New Year’s resolutions. If you are looking for inspiration, here are the ones I intend to use.
Stick to My Budget
Budgeting is important for financial wellness, so I am recommitting myself to sticking to my budget in 2019. In preparation, I am reviewing what I have today, identifying my spending patterns, and making adjustments in every category. That way, I can make sure my budget is realistic and aligns with my money goals.
Have a No-Spend Month
No-spend months are a great way to ramp up savings and practice financial discipline, so I intend to give it a try. Since I’m new to the no-spend trend, I’m selecting February since it is the shortest month of the year.
Additionally, this gives me room to plan. Aside from recurring expenses that can’t be handled in advance (like gas for my car), I want to have everything managed ahead of time. This requires a month of meal plans and buying all of the food, ensuring I can avoid heading to stores as much as possible.
Maximize My Retirement Savings
This is a resolution I make every year. I want to make sure I am ready for retirement, so I always aim to hit my contribution maximums in my retirement accounts.
If you want to join in this resolution, then you can modify it based on your situation. For example, committing to contributing enough to your workplace 401(k) to get the full match is a great place to start. Reaching the contribution limits for an IRA is another excellent option.
However, if you want max yours own, consider increasing your savings by a specific percentage. For instance, increase your retirement account payments by 5 or 10 percent. That would mean, if you contributed $200 a month last year, you would put in $210 or $220 each month this year instead. It’s a small difference, but it can add up quickly.
Keep Up with Preventative Maintenance
While this may seem like an odd financial goal, by keeping up on preventative maintenance for my home and vehicle, I actually save money in the long run. For example, changing air filters increase the efficiency of heating and cooling systems, ensuring my electric bills say in check. Taking care of my vehicle’s tires through rotations and keeping them properly inflated increase their life, so I don’t have to replace them as often.
Review All Subscription Services
After you sign up for things like gym memberships, streaming accounts, and even cable, it’s easy just to keep paying for it. However, I am resolving to examine all of my subscription services and determining whether I still need them or if they provide me with a suitable amount of value based on the cost.
If the answer is no, then I’m getting rid of it.
Rebalance My Portfolio
Market volatility and shifting financial priorities make rebalancing an investment portfolio regularly a must. I make this a resolution every year, guaranteeing that I examine the balance of my portfolio at least annually.
Negotiate My Interest Rates
Each year, I contact my credit card issuer to renegotiate my interest rate. If you have an account in good standing, are in better shape then when you opened the card, and haven’t attempted to land a better rate recently, it can be worth the phone call.
However, if you are financially worse off, you probably don’t want to open this line of discussion. Otherwise, you may get saddled with an increase since they have to reevaluate your creditworthiness to handle the conversation.
Broaden My Horizons
Life should always include a bit of learning. This year, I am resolving to find a new personal finance podcast that can help me discover new ideas and information.
There are tons of options out there, so I expect I’ll need to try a few before committing to one (or more) that I will follow through the year. But it should be a fun journey, even as I’m figuring it out.
Do you have financial New Year’s resolutions? Share them in the comments below.
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Tamila McDonald has worked as a Financial Advisor for the military for past 13 years. She has taught Personal Financial classes on every subject from credit, to life insurance, as well as all other aspects of financial management. Mrs. McDonald is an AFCPE Accredited Financial Counselor and has helped her clients to meet their short-term and long-term financial goals.