When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, one of the most common is to get in shape and lose weight. For many people it implies taking better care of their body, but for just as many others, “getting in shape” means taking better care of their finances. Both goals are intensely challenging, and both are notorious for their high failure rate. All it takes is a little dedication and you can set yourself up for success in the new year.
Financial New Years Resolutions: Why People Fail at Saving Money
People will be tempted to self-sabotage their saving goals in a number of different ways.
A very common one is ego: In many instances, people buy things that bust their budget because they want to “keep up with the Joneses.”
Who among us doesn’t feel envy, or make inevitable comparisons? It’s irrational, but it’s also fundamental to human nature. Even if there are no Joneses to keep up with, we will still make many unnecessary purchases because we think they’ll make us feel better about ourselves.
Another reason why “financial diets” fail is because they require a commensurate amount of willpower, and as everyone knows, willpower is a highly elusive quality. While many people can resist ego pressure and the thrill of immediate gratification for a certain period of time, the longer it goes on the harder it becomes — hence the high failure rate. Like willpower, stamina is not something that can be bought.
New Year Money Saving Tips: Saving Money in 2014
Even though our egos, lack of willpower and other circumstantial factors can thwart our high-minded goal of saving money, there’s always hope — and there are always ways to make the fight easier. Saving money doesn’t have to be a dour, joyless endeavor if you do it right.
Some ways to make saving money in 2014 easier are:
Pay Yourself First
1. Pay Yourself First. Make sure that your bills are paid first, followed by money taken out and put into some sort of savings vehicle, whether it’s your savings account, if it is I hope you use high yield savings accounts so you can earn higher interest or IRAs or a 401k. The point being, have the money automatically taken away before you even have the chance to spend it. Perhaps the best part of setting all that money aside first is that you’ll be able to spend the rest without any guilt.
Budget Your Money
2. Make a list of everything you buy, and apply the “need vs. want” test to each one. Your old car finally died, and now you need to buy a new one. Do you need a BMW, or do you want it? Or would your needs be met just as well by a second-hand Honda with 10,000 miles on it? In this instance, if you go with what you need rather than what you want, you’ll end up saving yourself a lot of money. A great way to manage your money is by using a free budgeting tool such as Manilla.com. Manilla will help you avoid late fees, manage bills, credit cards & more from one secure place online. Manilla is also running a contest that will allow a random winner who signs up for Manilla and links 3 accounts to the free bill manager. Wouldn’t that be great for helping you achieve your new year’s financial resolutions.
Find a Savings Buddy
3. Find a “savings buddy” and create a personal finance plan. Before you go on a financial diet, try to find someone to do it with. If you pool your resources with a spouse or partner, they’re the best choice. If they’re not enthusiastic about the idea, find a friend who wants to save as much as you. Shop together, check in regularly, compare progress. Teaming up with someone could go a long way towards helping you achieve your savings goals.
Check Your Credit
4. Check Your Credit. Having good credit can get you far in life. You can save tons of money on interest rates for auto loans, mortgage rates, credit card rates and it will make it a lot easier getting any type of loan. Credit monitoring is also a great idea because if you are a victim of identity theft and you don’t know it, your finances and credit will be ruined for years to come. Get your Free Credit Score from all three bureaus plus Complete Identity Protection by TrustedID – Try it Free!
Get a Rewards Credit Card
5. Get a Rewards Credit Card. If you haven’t heard by now but rewards credit cards are all the rage. How would you like to save 5% on gas, eating out, or paying utilities bills? You can also earn points which can be used just like cash for certain purchases. Depending on the right rewards card for you, extra points or money will be added back in your savings account. How does that sound?