New Year’s resolutions can be overwhelming. After all, around 80% of them fail by February . But if you keep them reasonable and attainable, it should be easier to make them work.
And if saving more or making your dollar go further are on your to-do list, we are here to help. Here are 10 attainable financial resolutions that could potentially make this year a great financial year.
Creating a Budget and Sticking to It
Creating a budget allows you to look back and see exactly what you’re spending too much money on and where you could be saving more. It can also help ensure you stay well within your means and put aside more for the future. Creating a budget doesn’t have to be difficult.
Start by gathering all your financial documents, including all of your monthly bills. Next, create a list of all of your monthly financial needs like rent, groceries, bills, and an entertainment budget. Finally, compare it to your income stream, review, and adjust from there. For more information, check out SoFi’s six simple steps to creating a budget you can actually stick to.
Automating Your Payments
From your credit card bills to rent, student loans to your heating bill, almost all of your bills can now be automated.
Just make sure you pick a date each month that works for you (say, a day or two after you know you’ll receive a check) to better ensure you have enough funds to cover the cost. This way, you can set it and forget it.
Building an Emergency Fund
We know, the idea of building an emergency fund can feel wildly daunting. However, you’ll probably be extremely happy you have it if you ever need it. To find the right emergency fund savings goal, you can calculate your expenses for about three to six months (this is where your budget should come in handy).
Then, try to set aside a little each month into this fund until you hit your target. This way, if you have an unexpected health emergency, your car breaks down, or you lose your job, you can have a cushion to fall back on.
Attempting to Pay off Your Credit Card — in Full — Every Month
Credit cards are notoriously difficult to pay off thanks to compounding interest . If you can, try and pay off your credit card debt, then stay within your budget so you can pay your balance off in full each month.
This could help raise your credit score and can give you more peace of mind knowing you don’t have any looming debt hanging over your head.
Putting a Bit More Toward Your Student Loans Each Month
Being able to finally pay off your student loans is a great feeling. Help accelerate that process by adding just a few dollars to your student loan repayment each month. Even $20 can help you pay off the interest and principal of your student loan that much faster. (And hey, you can even automate this payment, too.)
Checking Your Credit Report More Often
You are your own best friend when it comes to credit monitoring. Credit scores play a huge role in borrowing and lending. If you go to buy a home, a car, take out a loan, or even to refinance, chances are your credit score will play a role in the approval process.
By checking your credit score often (this is different from pulling your credit report ) you can stay on top of any changes or discrepancies, and make decisions to improve your score in the future.
Taking a Finance Course
If you’re really looking to take your financial know-how to the next level try enrolling in a financial education course. Through one of these courses you have an opportunity to learn everything from budgeting and saving, to investing and financial family planning.
Many of these courses are offered for free on the internet, meaning you don’t even have to get off the couch to help improve your financial future.
Thinking About Adding a Side Hustle to Your Income Stream
Having a side hustle is all the rage and for good reason. It’s an excellent way to supplement your income so you can save more, pay off debt, grow an emergency fund, or just use it as fun money to live your life.
Best of all, there’s a side hustle for everyone. If you like talking to new people, maybe driving with a ride-sharing service is for you.
Or if you’re handy, websites like TaskRabbit may help you make a little extra money with your skills. Freelancing with your graphic design, photography, writing, or other creative talents can also bring in some cash.
Asking for a Promotion or a Raise
If you’ve been with the same company for more than a year, it’s time to think about asking for either a promotion or a raise. The best way to do this is to go in prepared. Start by gathering documentation of all the good things you’ve done in your job over the last year and be prepared to discuss how they’ve helped the company’s bottom line.
Next, take a look at what others are making in your same field by searching websites like Glassdoor and PayScale to find comparable data. Finally, be prepared for a bit of pushback and get ready to negotiate what you really want.
Adding Just 1% More to Your Retirement Account
If you’re already putting away money into a 401(k) or an online individual retirement account, that’s wonderful news. Now, do you think you can add just 1% more of your income to that account? Odds are you can, and those savings can seriously add up.
For example, NerdWallet crunched the numbers and found that if a person is making $40,000 a year and puts away 6% of their paycheck starting at age 22, they could save $551,199 by the time they reach a retirement age of 67.
Not bad. But, if that same person increases their retirement allocation by 1% a year to a maximum of 20%, they’d be able to save a whopping $1,364,292, accounting for a $813,093 difference. The calculations above assume a 6% annual return.1
Bonus: Thinking About Taking Out a Personal Loan to Pay off Remaining Debt
It may sound counter-intuitive, but one way to shore up your debt is to take out a personal loan, and consolidate your credit card debt into one loan. With a SoFi personal loan, you may even be able to get a lower interest rate, which means you could pay less interest overall.
Best of all, it’s easy to see what rates you may get when you apply, you can automate payments, and make that ever important budget just a little bit simpler each month.
1 IMPORTANT: The projections or other information above regarding the likelihood of various investment outcomes are hypothetical in nature, do not reflect actual investment results and are not guarantees of future results.
The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website on credit.