Whether you’re hoping to pay down some debt or save for retirement, most of us have some money goals in mind heading into a new year.
But how can you make those money resolutions stick?
It’s easy to plan them, but tough to keep on track, and many people drop their great plans by the middle of January.
Almost everyone we found at lunchtime the other day had made some resolutions for the new year.
“I hope to be saving more,” Morgan Grigsby said.
Doreen Hill has a money resolution, too.
“It’s not to spend so much that I don’t have!” Hill said.
January is the time of year when many of us, like her, hunker down, open our checkbooks and say, “Money is going to be tight this year!’
Finances will be even tighter this year for many families since there are no more stimulus checks or expanded child tax credits—plus inflation.
But there are some simple money resolutions that can help, according to Ted Rossman of Bankrate.com.
Set up automatic savings
Rossman suggests you start the year by setting up automatic transfers to build your emergency fund.
“It takes that decision-making out of it,” Rossman said. “So actually, set up a transfer, have money taken out of every paycheck and automatically sent to a dedicated savings account.”
Plus, he said, the savings rate is much more attractive right now, with online savings rates as high as 4%.
“This is one of the silver linings of the Fed raising rates,” Rossman said.
Eliminate unused subscriptions
Next, Rossman suggests you look for ways to cut back, starting with monthly subscriptions you don’t use, like TV streaming services you barely ever watch or a health club you rarely visit.
And be on the lookout for autorenewal subscriptions that hit your credit card every January without you even knowing.
“If it’s something you’re not really benefiting from, canceling that has 12 times the annual impact,” he said.
Pay down your debt
To pay down debt, Rossman suggests applying for a zero-percent balance transfer card, which could provide a temporary break from high-interest charges, with some store cards now charging close to 30%.
“But don’t make any more purchases on the card,” he said. “Just divide what you owe by the number of months in that term. Try to stick to it.”
Bankrate’s top balance transfer cards for 2023 include:
- Wells Fargo Reflect.
- Citi Simplicity Card.
- Bank AmeriCard from Bank of America.
Consider odd jobs or side hustle
Lastly, Rossman suggests considering a side hustle, even for a few months.
That way, you have extra money to put toward your 2023 goals, and you don’t waste your money.