3 Money Resolutions You Can Keep in 2016

 

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:

  1. 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.

    1D OTRA

    If you can’t tell from our excited faces, it was worth the price of the tickets to have floor seats at 1D.

  2. 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!
  3. 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!

 

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3 Ways to Make Your New Year’s Resolution Stick

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It’s January 7th, which means we are a week into the New Year and, if you’re like me, you might have given up on your New Year’s Resolution already. I had every intention of keeping a food diary but then I forgot to do it on the first and then … Yea … I haven’t started it yet. Statistics show that it takes about 21 days to form a new habit; if you’ve been good about following your resolution so far, you’re well on your to making it permanent. But if you’re like 92% of Americans, you might already be struggling to “read more” or “go to the gym.” Don’t give up! You can still commit to your resolution and make it work. Here are some tips:

1. Don’t quit cold turkey. 100% resolutions like “giving up coffee” or “never using your credit card again” rarely stick because they’re too absolute. Chances are you made a resolution like this to break a bad habit and that means temptation to fall back into that habit probably lurks around every corner. When you inevitably give in and eat a piece of candy or skip the gym you’ll feel guilty and defeated which will make you more likely to just give up altogether. Instead set resolutions that allow for some wiggle room. Instead of “I’m not drinking coffee any more,” try, “I’ll only drink coffee on the weekends.”

2. Be specific. Some resolutions sound good when you repeat them to everyone at a New Year’s Eve Party, but don’t work so well once January 1st actually rolls around and you have to put them into action. Stuff like “lose weight” sounds like a great idea, but how do you measure your success? How much weight? How are you going to do it? Focusing on a small, behavioral resolution increases your likelihood of achieving your goal. “I’m going to go to yoga class 3 times a week” is a resolution that will help you lose weight AND you will be able to definitively say if you stuck to it or not. Keep the goal small, realistic, and achievable.

3. Only say it if you mean it. Do you even really care about losing weight? Or do you even like going to the gym? Resolutions for resolutions sake are never effective. Make your resolution something you actually want to do, even if it seems small or insignificant. One year my boss’s resolution was to get a library card. Seems simple, but it was something she had been meaning to do for a long time and making it her resolution made her actually get herself to the local library. If your resolution is something you’re not enthusiastic about, you won’t commit to it.

Hope these tips help you stick to your resolution. Now if only I could find that notebook I meant to write my meals down in…