Cheers! Here you are again at the start of the New Year. It’s a fresh start and a great time to think about your goals for the 365 days ahead and how to meet them.
For many people, that may mean taking control of their finances and maximizing their money. There are, of course, all kinds of ways to do this, from bringing in more income to spending less to saving and investing well.
Read on to learn 37 smart, creative ideas that can help you enrich your bank account and net worth in 2024. Try one or a bunch, and see how they can contribute to your financial health this year.
Smart Financial New Year’s Resolutions
Start 2024 by getting on the path to financial wellness. Here are 37 money-saving resolutions to help you maximize your cash in the year ahead.
1. Save 20% Every Month
Here’s our first New Year’s resolution: Consider ramping up your savings by following the 50/30/20 budget rule. This wise formula says to save 20% of your income every month. The other 50% of your money should go toward your needs (housing, food, utilities, debt), and 30% can go toward discretionary items, or the wants in life.
2. Try a Weekly Budget
With so many transactions coming in and going out (and so many of them being automated these days), keeping a monthly budget can seem intimidating. How do you track and manage all of the credits and debits? Are you going to overdraw your account?
There are many different budget methods, but with a weekly vs. monthly budget, the amounts you have to track are smaller and more manageable, and you may be more likely to stick to them. Try making a spreadsheet of all your weekly income and expenses, and then decide where you can cut back to save money.
3. Decrease Discretionary Spending
Has your once-a-week matcha latte habit become a daily thing? And exactly how many streaming platforms do you subscribe to? Spending money on entertainment, takeout, coffee, and other wants can add up quickly. So when you create your budget, figure out ways that you can reduce spending on things you don’t actually need. Put the savings towards a goal like creating an emergency fund or saving for that trip to Croatia.
4. Switch Up Your Budget Cuts
Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to reduce your spending, as noted above? If so and you try to slash everything at once, you can wind up feeling deprived and losing motivation. Instead, you might try cutting back on, say, those fancy coffees one month and on movies the next. You’ll still save money, but the rotating nature of cuts and the challenge of “no flat whites this month” can keep it interesting.
5. Stop Storing Your Credit Card Information
Yes, adding your credit card details to your online accounts makes it super easy to check out, which is exactly the problem. That simplicity can also lead to increased spending on impulse purchases. Instead, remove those saved cards and force yourself to manually type in your credit card number when you want to purchase something. If you have to get up to find your card, that can be a way to reflect for a moment and potentially avoid impulsive purchases that you don’t actually need.
6. Find a Savings Buddy
Economizing can be easier when you have a kindred spirit to support you. If you have a friend or relative who is also trying to save money or has succeeded at doing so in the past, recruit them to help you. The two of you can text when you need advice on a big purchase you are contemplating or when bills pile up and then stay strong together.
7. Schedule Automatic Transfers
When your paycheck hits your checking account, it likely makes you feel flush and ready to splurge a little. Instead, pay yourself first. Make it a 2024 resolution to set up automatic transfers from your checking to your savings account. All you have to do is set the amount and the date you want the recurring transfer to occur.
Or you can likely send part of your paycheck’s direct deposit into your savings (ask your HR team how to set this up). Either way, you can watch your savings blossom automatically.
8. Earn Credit Card Rewards
If you’re not already earning rewards with your credit card, make 2024 the year to do so. With credit card rewards, you can get cash back when you make purchases. Then, once you reach a certain amount, like $25, you can transfer it into your savings account or to pay down your balance. As long as you don’t overspend and wind up with debt issues, credit cards can be helpful in this way when it comes to reaching your savings goals.
9. Round Up Prices
If you haven’t already tried a round-up app, consider doing so this New Year. These work by, say, charging you $7 for a purchase that really cost you $6.35, and depositing the additional 65 cents into savings or putting it towards your debt. Acorns is an example of this kind of app, but there’s a good chance your bank offers this feature as well. Rounding up can help move you towards financial security.
10. Pay Off High-Interest Credit Cards
Credit card interest rates are notoriously high, with rates topping 20% on average at the end of 2023. If you’re not careful, you could be spending hundreds of dollars every month on credit card interest. Create a plan to become debt-free for 2024, and prioritize paying off your high-interest credit cards. For example, you could use the debt avalanche method, where you pay off the card with the highest-interest rate first and then move on to the card with the next highest interest rate, and so on.
11. Sign Up for a Balance Transfer Credit Card
If you have credit card debt, you may want to pay it down faster as a New Year’s resolution for 2024. Signing up for a balance transfer credit card could help. You’ll typically pay 0% interest on your debt for a certain period of time (say, six to 18 months), before your interest shoots back up.
Just make sure you pay off your balance before that introductory period is over, or else you’ll be right back where you started. And if the interest rate is higher than your current credit card, your situation could be made worse if you don’t pay it off in time.
Yes, it’s more convenient to toss cans and bottles in the trash. But each one probably could net you five to 10 cents if you redeem them, which is typically easily done at your local supermarket. Plus it’s good for the planet. While it may not yield the down payment for a house, every little bit of cash put into savings can help, especially when compound interest kicks in.
13. Find a Side Hustle
If you have any free time at night or on the weekends, then you can freelance or work some other sort of side hustle. Whether it’s tutoring school children or driving for a rideshare service, those extra dollars can make a serious impact on your savings. There are plenty of low-cost side hustles to consider. Even renting a room in your house on Airbnb could put hundreds or thousands of extra dollars in your account as the months go by.
Recommended: 39 Ways to Make Passive Income
14. Sell Your Unwanted Items
Decluttering your home may be another New Year’s resolution you have for 2024. How about merging that resolution along with a money-saving resolution? There are plenty of places to sell your stuff, from clothing to electronics to cookware, whether it’s gently or never used. Consider sites like eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace.
15. Save for Retirement
If you’re young, you may feel like you don’t have to worry about retirement just yet. But the truth is that time is likely to pass faster than you think it will. Plus, if you start saving right away, you’ll make more money on your investments through the power of compound interest. Take advantage of your company’s 401(k) matching policy, if they have one, and beef up your retirement savings in the New Year.
16. Create an Emergency Fund
If you were to lose your job tomorrow, would you have enough money to last you until you found something new? What if you had a medical emergency or your house suddenly flooded? Having at least three to six months’ worth of savings in an emergency fund will help you cover any sudden, unexpected expenses, and help ensure that your budget and financial goals won’t be derailed.
17. Use Coupons for Groceries
If you’re not a couponer already, 2024 is a great time to start saving this way. Check websites like Coupons.com and P&GGoodEveryday or your weekly newspaper for the latest deals and discounts at your local grocery stores and other retailers. It can be an easy way to make sure you aren’t leaving money on the table.
18. Buy Generic
Did you know that generic products might be the same as name-brand products you love but without the fancy label? Whether you’re at a grocery store or a pharmacy, look into buying those store-brand and generic products instead, because you could end up saving money while still purchasing high-quality products.
19. Choose a Day to Review Your Finances
In order to stay on top of your financial goals in 2024 (or any year, in fact), it’s helpful to set aside one day a week to go over your spending. Pay your bills and check your accounts on this day as well to ensure you’re meeting your benchmarks.
20. Create an Investment Portfolio
The average interest you’ll earn on a traditional savings account is only 0.61% as of the end of 2023. But if you research different investments like stocks and bonds, you’ll see that the market historically earns 10% annually on average, though past performance is no guarantee of future returns.
Perhaps 2024 is a good year to invest in the market or invest more if you are already in the market. Just make sure you invest according to the risk you are willing to take. For instance, if you don’t have much to invest, then you might stick to investing in high-performing, more established and stable companies. But if you have money to spare, you may try investing in riskier, smaller and newer companies.
21. Look Into a High-Interest Savings Account
A high-interest savings account is going to give you more bang for your buck when it comes to your savings. The rates frequently fluctuate, but you may find annual percentage yields between 4% and 6% as of December 2023 — significantly higher than the rate of a standard savings account rate.
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22. Use Cash Instead of Credit Cards
If you use cash instead of credit and debit cards, you may be less likely to spend money in 2024. Credit and debit cards can make it easy to swipe and tap without thinking about the consequences. Paying $100 in cash for your groceries can often have much more of a psychological effect than simply swiping your card, and it can help encourage you to save more money.
23. Look Into a New Bank
Are you aware of all the monthly bank fees you’re paying just to keep your account open? If you overdraft your account, do you get charged a hefty fee? Does your bank charge you to use an ATM outside of their network? Examine all the fees you are currently paying and then look into competitors to see if they charge lower fees — or perhaps no fees at all. Online banks vs. traditional banks typically charge fewer (or no) fees and pay higher interest rates.
24. Start a Coin Jar
Why not go old-school in 2024? Put all your loose change into a coin jar, and then at the end of the month, take it to your bank to cash it in. This is better than using a Coinstar machine, which will typically take 11.9% of your money when you convert it into cash. Note: You may have to roll the coins before depositing at the bank, but this can be done while listening to your favorite podcast. Or consider it a mindfulness moment.
25. Use Financial Apps
Financial apps are an easy way to keep track of your spending in the New Year. All you have to do is link your financial accounts to these apps to see how much you’re spending and what you’re spending your money on. These apps will even give you suggestions on how to save money and improve your finances, as well as remind you when bills are due. Your bank is likely to offer a tool like this, which can be especially convenient as you track your spending and pay bills.
26. Negotiate Your Bills
Think you’re spending too much on cable? Is your cell phone company ripping you off? Be a savvy consumer, and tackle it in 2024 to save more. Call your service providers, and try to negotiate a lower monthly rate. If you aren’t successful, you could always use services like Trim to negotiate your bills down so you can save more every month.
27. Do Meal Prep
You know how it goes: Suddenly, it’s 7pm, you’re starving, and haven’t even started to think about dinner so you wind up ordering in. Avoid that in the New Year by preparing your meals in advance. That way, you will have food in the fridge when you’re hungry, and you won’t be tempted to eat out. It’s also a good idea to bring lunch to work so that you won’t be tempted to purchase pricey food on your break with coworkers.
28. Cancel Automatic Subscriptions
Go through your bank statements to see if there are any automatic subscriptions you don’t need or remember signing up for. Cancel them immediately. If a company was charging you without your knowledge, you may be able to request your money back.
29. Decrease Energy Costs
Not having an energy-efficient home can be costly. You may be wasting hundreds of dollars each month because you’re leaving the lights on or running the heater or A/C for hours on end. You can make a few changes like sealing up drafty windows and attics to start saving money on your utility bill in 2024.
30. Unsubscribe from Email Lists
If you have a problem with making impulse purchases, then unsubscribe from your favorite retailers’ email lists. That way, you won’t be as tempted to spend because you’ll no longer receive news about flash sales or buy-one-get-one offers.
31. Trade in Your Gas-Guzzling Car
Gas prices have fluctuated considerably lately but can still be quite high. Trading in your SUV for a more efficient vehicle could be a smart move. Hybrid and electric vehicles are good options as well. Though you may pay a premium for them up front, you’ll save a lot on gas in the long run.
32. Ask for Discounts
Here’s a New Year’s resolution to adopt: Whenever you’re purchasing tickets, booking a hotel, or going to an event, ask if there are any discounts. You may be able to snag a discount if you’re a student, a senior, a member of the military, a resident of the state, or even an AAA member.
33. Stop Buying Retail
When you go to retail stores, you’re going to pay full price. Instead, when reasonable, look for used items on sites like eBay and Facebook Marketplace (though be wary of fraud and scams that can happen when purchasing this way). Flea markets and thrift stores may also have the goods you might need (cookware, lamps, you name it) at steeply discounted prices.
34. Join a Warehouse Club
Enlist a friend to join, too, and then share the spoils of buying in bulk. Since the likes of Costco and BJ’s tend to have mega-sizes and packs, you can split the low-cost food and other items you purchase. Say, you buy a dozen burgers and keep half; your friend buys the same number of buns and gives you six. It’s a win-win.
35. Go on a Spending Freeze
Don’t spend any “out and about” money for a week and see how you feel. This means you’ll need to brew your own morning coffee and eat homemade meals. You’ll also need to avoid downloading movies, but at the end of the week, you should be able to more easily distinguish your wants from your needs. This can help make budgeting that much easier.
36. Save Your Tax Refund
What to do with your tax refund? If you get one this year, instead of spending it on a new mobile device or a vacation, put it into your savings. It’ll accrue interest, and you can then put it toward a larger purchase or goal down the line.
37. Work Out at Home
This one is a double whammy if you want to get fit in the New Year, too. Purchase some weights online, and tune into your favorite trainers on YouTube to start burning fat and gaining muscle. You can cancel your expensive gym membership and forget pricey personal trainers while feeling better about yourself in 2024.
Looking Into SoFi Checking and Savings
Here’s another good New Year’s resolution: Make sure you’re happy with your banking partner.
Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.
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SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.
SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.
SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.
SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.
Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.
Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.
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