The ball in Times Square has dropped and the New Year has begun. Not only is it time to get back to work after the holidays, it’s also time to make good on your New Year’s resolutions. Need convincing? Studies show that people who make resolutions are ten times more likely to achieve their goals than those who don’t. So we’re here to help narrow your scope and achieve your financial goals. Here are 4 financial resolutions for the New Year and tips to make them stick.
- Earn More
The biggest roadblock most people come across in receiving an annual pay raise, is having the courage to ask for it. The start of the year is the perfect time to show your value to the company. If you have taken on additional responsibilities over the last year and have contributed to your company’s success, don’t be afraid to make a case to your boss as to why you’re worth more money. Consider practicing on a friend if you have a case of stage fright, including how to answer impromptu questions your employer may ask.
Tip to make it stick: Arm yourself with facts and statistics for a boss who likes numbers, or relay your success stories in a compelling way to a more holistic-minded manager.
- Save More
Whether you receive a raise or not, the New Year offers the chance to reevaluate how we spend – and more importantly, save – our money. Sit down and think about your financial goals for the year. Would you like to save for a down payment on your first home? Are you hoping to take a much-needed vacation to Europe? Make a timeline and decide how much you need to save each month to reach your goal. You should also figure out where you can cut back in your spending habits, whether it be scaling back on your phone plan or finally making use of your Tupperware for a homemade lunch one day a week.
Tip to make it stick: Use a engaging website like Feed the Pig to make saving a game – choose a savings goal and build a plan that works for you.
- Owe Less
According to Nerd Wallet, the average American credit card debt weighs in at $15,611. If you find yourself closer to that number than you’d like to admit, a few simple tricks can help you chip away at that monthly bill. First of all, when you find you have some extra cash, make a point to make a partial payment of your bill at once. Many banks actually charge daily compounded interest, meaning that the amount you owe increases every single day. If you have several cards, look into transferring the balance on the high-interest card to a one with a lower rate. You could also consider paying off extra debt as part of your “Save More” goal above, because the sooner you stop letting your money go to pay interest, the sooner you can funnel it to other goals. You’ll be happy seeing both your balance and your interest charges reduced the next time your check your bill.
Tip to make it stick: Whenever you receive unexpected cash, pick a percentage to spend on something fun and put the rest towards making an extra payment on any debt you have.
- Stay Accountable
It’s easy to be motivated to save money at the beginning of the year – you can still remember the tune of Auld Lang Syne from your friend’s New Year’s Eve party and really, it’s too cold to go out and do much spending anyway. But when the lure of spring beckons you from your couch (and your cash from your wallet), you need a plan. Sign up for a website like Mint.com to track how you spend your money.
Tip to make it stick: Form a savings pact with a friend or relative and get together for coffee on a regular basis to track your progress – you can also celebrate your milestones together. Make it fun and encourage each other at the same time!
Bonus tip: check out our ways to boost your credit score for the New Year.
Our best wishes for a Happy New Year from all of us at Carlyle Financial. For inspiration, check out these 2015 resolutions from Mark Zuckerberg, Maria Shriver, Neil Patrick Harris, Mark Cuban, and Manny Pacquiao. What are your resolutions for the New Year?