It is almost 2019...we can't believe it either. 2018 has just flown by. Now you are about to set a New Year's resolution that is money related. You may even be wondering, who started New Year's resolutions anyway and why?
If one of your New Year's resolutions is about saving money, or paying off debt, guess what? You aren't alone. In fact, you'll be happy to know paying off "debt" and "borrowing" is an ancient problem.
According to History.com, the ancient Babylonians are believed to have been the first people to make "New Year's resolutions", some 4,000 years ago. They were the first to hold recorded celebrations in honor of the new year too. However, for them the year didn't begin in January but rather mid-March, when the new crops were planted. Their resolutions were that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts, often in the belief that if they kept their promise, they would have favor bestowed on them by their gods. Romans and Christians historically had religious roots as well. It has since evolved into most people making promises only to themselves, focusing purely on self-improvement.
So, if your resolutions are strictly self-related particularly revolving around personal finances, money, paying off debt or saving, you have a similar resolution to those from thousands of years ago. Here are some great financial resolutions for you to consider and ways to help you to stick to them.
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This may sound easy, but is often one of the hardest things to manage when it comes to money. This is because you may not realize exactly where your money is going. You may be thinking, "Hmmm, I should have an extra $100 or even $400 at the end of the month, how come I don't?" It may be because you areunderestimating what you truly spend each month. Some of the main culprits for excessive or unknown spending are eating out, or even just a few dollars here and there. The best way to cut is to pull up your last month or three months of bank and credit card statements, print them out and highlight where you are spending money. It might really shock you how $5 here, $15 here, $45 here add up over a one month timeframe. Once you recognize that, you can make a conscious effort to cut back on where you spend; but be realistic, if you cut out everything, you are more likely to fall back into a major spending about, so start small.
Debt, is just simply a bad word for most of us. Whether it is "good" debt or "bad" debt, it is still debt. You may know you have debt, but not exactly how much. So it is a good idea to check your credit report and see what your current total balances, just prepare yourself, the number might be shocking. Once you know, you can choose a method for paying your debt down. After you have made your budget, choose if you want to use a few different methods, such as the "Snowball" or "Avalanche" or a combination of both. Make sure you always make the minimum payment and then pay more where you can.
Whether you want to save money for a vacation, or be on a path to true financial freedom this year, you should plan for it. Remember a goal is a dream with a plan. Write down your goal or resolution, keep it simple but be specific.
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Answer the following:
- What is your resolution?
- Why do you want to achieve that goal/resolution? - What will you do/reward yourself with when you reach it?
Vacation Savings Resolution
- If you're planning for a vacation where do you want to go?
- Why there?
- The reward is the vacation destination.
Pay Off One Credit Card Resolution
- Which credit card do you want to pay off?
- Why do you want to pay off this credit card/be debt-free or on your way to becoming debt-free?
- What will you give yourself when you payoff this credit card? Perhaps a small affordable gift to yourself or even a relaxing night in watching your favorite movie.
Here are some other tips and tricks when deciding on or sticking to your New Year's Money Resolution
Identify your financial goals: be specific
Create and start tracking your budget
Check your credit report
Commit to one no-spend day or a couple in the first month
Get healthy...join an affordable gym, or try free YouTube workout videos
Contribute at least $100 more to your retirement
Automate your savings plan
Do home maintenance
Cut unnecessary cable bills
Call your cell phone provider and see if you are on the best plan
Evaluate last year's financial mistakes
Read a personal finance book such as Rich Dad, Poor Dad