There's lots of research out there on why resolutions fail year after year. The short of this -very long and over told- story is that setting a huge goal like “I'm going to lose weight” is both unattainable (because you're not setting an action plan along with your resolution) and unspecific (how much weight?)
For example, I'll use my own New Years resolution from 2017: I wanted to keep more cash on hand. Why?
- Because I'm always that asshole stiffing valets and having to put tips on the card at the nail salon.
- Or if you want to have money on hand to give to someone on the street who needs it.
- Because there's also science that you spend less when you use cash.
- And generally, it just feels good to have cash on hand and not have to stress about a card machine being broken or a merchant only taking cards.
I failed at this because I didn't have an action plan in place – no schedule for when I'd go to the ATM or line item in my budget for how much I'd take out. I would say I only kept cash on hand about 10% more than I did in 2015. (And I'm still writing about it in 2018!)
So you see, by simply playing the resolution game we're setting ourselves up for failure if we don't take the time to write down (yes, write) what we're going to do to make that resolution a reality. It's frustrating. For this reason, I often don't set resolutions and instead set financial goals for the year.
I'm here to present a different option: a finances-only resolution.
Which you can totally do while trying to lose weight or furthering your career.
What I love about smaller, more action-based financial resolutions is that they're both very attainable, and even a small money shift now, in January, can have a big impact on your finances later, like in August or September.
So, if you resolve to “be better with your finances next year”, and I know we all do, here are 21 financial resolutions to add to your January to-do list so you can start kicking butt in the new year.
28 Financial Resolutions You Can Definitely Do Next Year
- Resolve to improve your credit this year.
- Create a debt payoff plan.
- Investigate refinancing your student loan debt.
- Start a f*ck off fund for that job you can't stand.
- Open a new savings account.
- Health is wealth. Start a new self care routine.
- Resolve to save up a down payment for a house in the next 12 months. (Here's the math-based guide on how to do it.)
- Open a new checking account to better manage your money.
- Set up automatic bill pay and watch your life change.
- Create your own money diary and track your spending for the month of January.
- Try the envelope budgeting method.
- Do a “money sprint” and reset your money process in the new year.
- Try not shopping (for clothes, non-essentials etc.) for 30 days.
- Set up a goal to pay for your next vacation in cash.
- Try a no-shopping challenge for a full calendar year.
- Revisit your budget and tweak as necessary.
- Think about ways to diversify your income and earn more (start a blog, get started with affiliate marketing, or sell your own products!)
- Leverage technology to help make managing your money easier (here are the apps I love to get you started.)
- Learn the in's and outs of an IRA.
- Sell your stuff on Craigslist and use the extra to pay off debt or fund something in cash.
- Do a 30 day challenge, such as stopping eating out for 30 days and save the extra.
- Vow to (finally) learn how investing and the stock market works.
- Get that side business off the ground that you've been dying to start.
- Get help for your rampant shopping problem.
- Save up your first $1000 for an emergency fund.
- Finally open that investment account you've been putting off. Click here to get a free investment plan from Ellevest. (This is an affiliate link.)
- Do an expense audit to find extra money in your budget.
- Take the year to educate yourself on the ins and outs of homeownership.