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New Year, New You: Setting Realistic Financial Resolutions

New Year, New You: Setting Realistic Financial Resolutions Blog image
Free Tools For Understanding Finances Affinity FCU Blog
By: Nicholas Mattaliano
Digital Commuinications Administrator

December 27, 2023

The start of a new year is the perfect time to set realistic goals and resolutions that you can actually stick to. With rising interest rates and inflation, many of us have taken financial hits over the past year. Although we will likely still be facing more headwinds in 2024, there is opportunity to hit the reset button and better position yourself financially by setting specific, attainable goals and creating a roadmap to achieve them..

Setting attainable goals

Start by dissecting and really understanding your current financial status. Look at your income, debt, expenses, and savings and determine where you need to focus in the upcoming year. From there, set SMART goals. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound. For example, instead of making “save more money” a goal, you should say “I want to save $200 every month this year”. This sets a benchmark for success and can keep you in line to achieve that goal.

Focus on what is important to you, and go from there.

Tips for sticking to your resolutions year-round

Setting goals is the easy part. The difficult part is sticking to them for 12 months. Taking the time to create a roadmap for yourself, breaking your goals down into smaller monthly or weekly steps is how you will achieve them. Track your progress, write down what you will do each week towards your goals, schedule automatic payments or transfers, and talk with a professional on your progress throughout the year.

Automation is key - it can help create consistency and remove the “choice” factor each month. Automate debt payback, savings transfers and anything else that you can automate so you create one less step for yourself, and can rest assured that you are working towards your goals.

Monthly check-ins are also a crucial component in staying on track. They will hold you accountable and allow you to adjust your strategy where needed without derailing your overall plan.

Financial resolution ideas

When there are so many aspects that go into your overall financial picture, it can be difficult to narrow it down and hone in on a specific problem area. Feeling overwhelmed with your finances can be a roadblock for many when it comes to setting resolutions. That is why it is important to be very specific when it comes to choosing your goals. Some ideas for breaking down your resolutions into bite-sized pieces include:

  • Making meals at home - One of the easiest ways to save money is by cutting back on takeout. Experiment with new recipes, make simple meals that reuse ingredients to cut back on grocery costs, and have fun with it!
  • Planning day trips instead of vacations - In tough economic times, you might realize you can’t afford your annual family vacation. This doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun. Try planning low-cost day trips to hiking destinations or a local beach instead.
  • Update your budget - Give your budget a reset and set a goal to track every one of your expenses this year. This will give you a better idea of where your money is going, and can help you stay on track with any other financial goals you set.
  • Pay down debt strategically - Set a goal of paying down your high-interest debt in 2024. Then next year, focus on any other debt you might have.

Setting realistic financial resolutions as we go into 2024 can be a game-changer for many individuals and families. If you stick to them, you will come out of the year feeling lighter and more financially confident than ever. It is important to keep in mind that this is also a journey of self-awareness and discipline. Remember that the goal is not to feel like you are restricting your life, but empowering yourself to make better financial decisions and lighten up the financial burden on your shoulders. Affinity is here to support you through this journey, so be sure to reach out for any resources, help or advice you may need. Get ready for a financially healthier and more prosperous year ahead!

This information is for informational purposes only, is intended to provide general guidance, and does not constitute legal, tax, or financial advice. Each person's circumstances are different and may not apply to the specific information provided. You should seek the advice of a financial professional, tax consultant, and/or legal counsel to discuss your specific needs before making any financial or other commitments regarding the matters related to your condition.