Happy 2016! It’s January 6th which means you may have already set a New Year’s Resolution. It’s also possible that you have already broken it (no judgement if you did). New Year’s Resolutions can be tough to keep, especially if they take us out of comfort zone or force us to break a bad habit. Often the only resolutions that stick are ones that are small steps to long term change. So if your plans for 2016 include being smarter with your money, I came up with a few resolutions you might like. They’re easily to do and might help you change how you use your money. Here they are:
- Spend Money on an Experience – It sounds cheesy but it’s actually science – spending money on an experience makes you happier than buying material things. In 2016 plan a vacation, get tickets to a concert for your favorite band, or take a class to learn something new. A study done at San Francisco State University showed that while people tend to know that a life experience will make them happier than a physical purchase, it can be much more difficult to place an economic value on our memories. That’s probably why we keep buying stuff rather than investing in experiences. I don’t know about you, but I’ve definitely regretted dropping $100 on random stuff at Target. However, I have never for one second regretted spending $100 on One Direction tickets. Same amount of money, but while I cannot remember what I bought on that Target run, I will probably tell my grand-kids about Harry Styles’s weird dance moves and glorious hair. So do yourself a favor this year; skip the upgrade to the latest gadget or expensive clothing binge and use the money on creating a memory instead.
- Make Your Checking Account Work for You – Do you pay a fee if you don’t keep a minimum balance in your checking account? Do you pay a monthly service fee just to keep it open? If you answered yes to either of those questions, you need to switch financial institutions ASAP! It’s just plain silly to pay for something you can get for free. According to BankRate.com, the average consumer who is charged for failing to maintain a minimum balance in their checking account pays their financial institution around $14.76 a month in fees. That means switching to a free checking account could save you over $175 a year. Sure it can be a pain to switch your direct deposit and automatic withdrawals, but your wallet will thank you for the effort. Plus why would you pay for a checking account when some financial institutions are paying YOU to bank there? My credit union offers free Kasasa® checking accounts that allow you to earn rewards for banking with us. What that means is if you use your debit card 12 times a month and check mobile banking, you could earn up to $6 cashback a month*. I use my debit card like 66 times a month and check my mobile app everyday so they’re basically giving me $6 for stuff I would do anyways. You can search for a financial institution near you that offers Kasasa here so you can start earning money on your checking account too. You won’t regret it!
- Donate to a Cause That’s Important to You – It could be $5, $50, or $500. The amount doesn’t matter, just the fact that you’re contributing to something bigger than yourself. We often think that just because we don’t have a lot to give we can’t make a difference. But nothing could be further from the truth. When it comes to making positive change, a little goes a long way. So this year donate what you can to a cause you care about. Help out your local food pantry or contribute to a fundraiser for your high school’s athletic department. You could even go online to crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe to search around for a cause you feel passionate about. Whoever you chose to help out, I’m sure they’ll appreciate your support. And you’ll feel good about how you spent your money.
Hope your 2016 is happy, healthy, and financially fit!