I don’t focus on what I’m up against. I focus on my goals and I try to ignore the rest.– Venus Williams
While New Year’s Resolutions are famous for being almost immediately broken, there are some simple things that you CAN stick with to get your financial world prepared and in order for the coming year. Here is a quick checklist of three easy steps! Set them up today so that you can get yourself on the path to your desired future!
- Set up an automatic deposit to a High Yield savings account (try CapitalOne or SallieMae if you are looking for an online option, both offer decent interest rates and no minimum balances). You can set it to automatically draw funds from your checking account on each payday so that your funds get transferred without any action required by you! (If you don’t have a checking account, please read here…. a checking account is a very basic need in the start of this process…). This is the easiest way to keep a resolution… remove your need to remember to do it! Start small, with an amount you are comfortable trying, and set a reminder for yourself to review the amount and try to increase it each month. This is your budding emergency fund, so HANDS OFF!
- Work up a budget…. (I know, stop cringing… it is just a word!) You need a budget to really understand where your money is going. Many people are oblivious when it comes to how their paycheck is being spent. Maybe you are spending more on dining out than you expected? How can you know if you don’t have a baseline in the form of a budget. There are so many good tools available to make this step so easy now! (You can try Mint, which is free, or YNAB, which has a small monthly fee after a trial period.) It is easier to start looking at your spending trends right at the beginning of the year.
- Set a few goals for yourself for the year. Maybe it is finally killing that credit card balance so you can use those interest payments for your own needs. Maybe it is going back to school to invest in yourself, or paying off your student loans. (Try this debt payoff calculator to see how quickly you can get there.) Maybe it is to build some savings to use as a down payment on a house. (Try this savings goal calculator.) Maybe it is to start investing in your future life goals (like owning a business) or saving for retirement. There can be so many different goals, but if you do not set your mind to something specific, you will not be able to achieve it.
Even though they seem like very simple basic steps, they can really set your mind clear on how you want to proceed into the New Year, what you are expecting out of it, and where you want to be when the year finally ends! Give yourself this chance to set a goal and feel proud of your achievement when you fulfill it!
Note: I have no affiliation or relationship with the service providers listed in this post, other than as a user or friend of a user of some of their services. These recommendations are for your research purposes only.