We’re already off to a racing start in the year 2019, and while some people may have already ticked off our new year resolutions (kudos to you if you did!) the rest of us may need a bit of encouragement to get back on track.
The general consensus has shown that 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February, so if your new gym shoes haven’t set foot on a treadmill yet or that online course has taken a backseat to day-to-day life, don’t beat yourself up.
Instead, let’s refresh and start by making resolutions you can actually keep, and which will allow you to track and measure your progress as you go along.
8 goals for the New Year
Setting realistic goals that matter to you gives you more of a chance of achieving your resolution. You may have the goal of buying your own home or having the wedding of your dreams, but may have cast it aside because it seems unrealistic from where you’re standing financially now.
Starting small will make progress more manageable and make it easier to reach your financial goals.
1. Save $1000 in 12 months
You can start by setting aside just $20 a week. Sounds easy, right? And what if we said that by the end of the year you should have $1000 saved without barely having realised you’re saving?
Here are 10 ways to save $20 a week
2. Build a budget you can stick to
Budgets are a lot like diets. They’re tough to stick to and they usually don’t work unless you find one that suits you. And to get one that is the right fit you’ll have to put a bit of time looking into your 2017 spending habits.
First, use a budget planner to break your budget down, like this one. Now you have a clear map to assess what you spend money on and can start sorting them from most to least important.
What could you never live without? What are you willing to sacrifice? For example, cinema tickets versus wine with work colleagues. Perhaps you’ll realise that the movies help you relax and, to be honest, those weeknight hangovers are starting to take their toll.
Now everything’s in writing, you can shift things around feeling confident that it’s all accounted for. Tomorrow you might decide you really need a glass of wine and choose to forgo the cinema that month and suddenly you’ve got the skills of an organised accountant!
Our tip: don’t get down on yourself if your budget goes wrong initially. Instead, examine why it didn’t work and change your budget accordingly. Through this process, you get to learn a lot about your values and priorities, and you might just be surprised by how much of a self-awareness exercise this turns out to be.
3. Shape up your bills
Bills are boring but they are a part of life. However, a New Year ‘shake up’ of your monthly bills can be a great way to get more out of your finances and make the process a little less ‘ho-hum’.
Many people let things like their mobile plan, internet, electricity and other bills roll over without giving them much thought. But by doing so, they miss out on cheaper alternatives and huge discount opportunities.
Our tips will make you a haggle expert when it comes to your weekly bills:
4. Aim to have less ‘stuff’
Everything we’re surrounded by creates the feeling that the more we have, the happier will be. From magazines to television and social media, we are bombarded with things we don’t really need yet feel the need to have. But did you know, studies have proven that owning more stuff does not improve happiness and, in fact, it usually makes us miserable?
Enter minimalism, a new trend that has surfaced in response to the increasingly cluttered world we live in. I’m sure by now you have probably seen or heard about the Marie Kondo effect. Ms Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up may not have sparked the decluttering trend, but it sure has made it more mainstream.
Next time you have the urge to buy something, question where that urge came from. Do you need it? Could you live without it? Minimalism is good for the heart, good for the apartment, and especially good for the savings!
5. Talk about your finances
Almost one-third of Australians never talk about their finances with anyone. Money has become a taboo subject for some people, and one that can be very stressful and difficult to talk about. But by avoiding the topic, you are also blocking the opportunity to achieve your financial goals.
Speaking to others about your finances or financial difficulties is one way to become more motivated to learn about money and financial behaviour as well as to improve your financial situation.
6. Change your mindset regarding money
Get healthy, lose weight, improve your mental clarity and save money with the below ideas:
7. Commit to a hobby that will improve your finances
The process of promising yourself you’re going to work on your health/career/love life/*insert dramatic life change here* and making a plan to achieve your goals is actually really valuable for continual self-development.
In many ways, hobbies can help us become more financially-sound by building upon our personal and professional skills which can then be transferred into a job, an enterprise, or an idea.
8. Make happiness your most logical pursuit
We humans are simple creatures. Strip us down to our bare essentials and you’ll find that we just want to be happy. As long as the basic things, like food, water, shelter, and security are looked after, the next thing on the list is usually just being happy.
Unfortunately, the modern world gives us confusing messages about what ‘being happy’ actually means. It seems strange to ask, but do you really know what the things are that make you happy?
Focussing on happiness over earning money or buying new things might not sound like a financial New Year’s resolution but it does a few things that impact the way you spend your resources:
This is the hardest of our 8 tips to actually implement. ‘Finding happiness’ is not quite as straightforward as ‘building a budget’. But in our busy lives, it is sometimes important to remember that the most effective changes we can make are sometimes the simplest.
Check in on your New Year’s resolutions
Chances are good that you’ve accomplished a lot of things in your life that at one point in time, you thought you were incapable of. Think about some of those things. Some of them probably seem pretty insignificant now, right?
The new year’s resolutions that you’ve set for yourself will one day become just another drop in the ocean of your life (woah, deep). Don’t over-think things too much, or supersize your goals. Think of them as small things that you will get out of the way this year. Tiny, little things. Easy.
Achieve your financial new year’s resolution with Nimble.