New Year’s resolutions and the struggle to keep them
Making New Year’s resolutions is not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you are going to make them it’s important to make ones you can stick to.
The most common New Year’s resolution would have to be either “Save more money” or “Fix up my finances”.
The key is not to be so strict that you can’t spend your money at all, but to be smart with your money.
The harder you try to not spend it at all, the harder it is to do, which tends to see you giving up by February and stop being money-conscious for the rest of the year.
Here are some smart resolutions that are easy to keep, while also being incredibly effective in saving money and getting ahead financially:
1. Stop paying unnecessary fees
Enough institutions offer free electronic banking and reimbursement for "out-of-network" ATM withdrawals that you shouldn't be paying for those. So if your bank is bombarding you with fees, check out your alternatives.
Late fees are another money drain. If you can build a little buffer in your bank account, you can automate bills to make sure everything gets paid on time.
2. Do an audit of your services and get better deals
Some companies offer their best rates to new customers. But in the long run, loyal customers end up paying more.
So call the phone company, your electricity provider, your insurance company, and anyone else who's had your business for a while, and see if you can negotiate a better deal or shop around for better deals in the current market according to your needs.
3. Pack your lunch
If you buy lunch out every day (even cheaply), you spend more than $150 each month for that convenience. Similar expenses that really add up over time are buying bottled water or takeaway coffees.
4. Create a budget
We saved the best for last. Writing down and tracking your expenses on a monthly basis can help you see clearly the reality of your financial situation. Many people don't understand how much they are spending until it is too late and the bills arrive.
To live within your means, you need to understand how much you can spend on items before you make purchases.