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Money Culture

The 10 Most Common Money Resolutions and How to Find Yours

Setting new year financial resolutions can help you reach your big (or small) money goals.

Rebecca Lake • January 7, 2022

The start of a new year is a great time to consider a money makeover. Setting New Year financial resolutions can help you get on track with saving, debt repayment and other money goals. 

But which financial resolutions are the best to set? And how do you stick with them all year long? 

If you’re ready to get ahead, try these tips for saving money in the new year. 

10 Most Common Financial Resolutions

There are plenty of New Year financial goals you could set but it’s important to choose money resolutions that reflect where you are now–and where you want to go. If you’re stumped for ideas, here are some of the most popular New Year resolution ideas for 2022.

Financial resolution #1: Set clear new year financial goals

Setting new year financial resolutions starts with knowing what you want to achieve with your money. Being S.M.A.R.T. about goal-setting can help. 

S.M.A.R.T. goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

Here’s what a typical goal looks like: I want to save more money.

Now, here’s what a S.M.A.R.T. goal looks like: I want to save $10,000 in the next 12 months. 

This goal is specific, it’s one you can measure, it’s achievable and realistic, and there’s a time factor. Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals for your money in the new year can make it easier to create an action plan for reaching them. 

Financial resolution #2: Automate savings

Wanting to save more money is a common financial resolution. According to a MassMutual survey, 37% of people who plan to make financial resolutions for 2022 say putting more money in savings is their top goal. 

If you’ve struggled with setting money aside, automating is a simple way to create a new year savings plan that sticks. Some of the ways you can put savings on autopilot include:

  • Scheduling automatic transfers from your checking account to your savings account each payday
  • Having part of your paycheck routed to savings (if you have direct deposit)
  • Enrolling in your employer’s 401k plan if you haven’t already

You can also save automatically with a Chime Checking Account. The Spend When You Save feature rounds up debit card transactions and deposits the difference into savings for you. 

Financial resolution #3: Make your budget–and stick to it

Making a budget matters for staying on top of your spending. But just making it isn’t enough–you have to live it every day. 

As you make your new year money resolutions, creating a realistic budget and spending plan belongs near the top of the list. Using budgeting apps can help. You can also use the features included with your bank account to stay on top of your money. 

For example, you can use banking alerts to:

  • Track debit card transactions and spending
  • Monitor your balances (to help avoid overdraft fees)
  • Keep up with bill payment due dates

You can also use your mobile banking app to set up automatic bill payments. That can make it easier to stick to your budget and avoid late payment fees. 

Financial resolution #4: Start an emergency fund

An estimated 64% of Americans could cover a $400 emergency with cash, according to Federal Reserve data. But that means nearly a third of Americans are unprepared for financial emergencies. 

If your emergency fund isn’t as large as you’d like it to be (or it’s nonexistent), you could make growing it one of your new year money resolutions. 

Go back to your budget and look at how much money you have to save for emergencies each month. Then commit to transferring that amount to a dedicated emergency fund savings account monthly. 

A common rule of thumb is to save three to six months’ worth of expenses for emergencies. But if you need a smaller goal to help you get into the savings habit, aim to save $1,000 to start. 

Financial resolution #5: Get a handle on student loan debt

Student loan debt can be a drain on your budget and keep you from reaching money goals that might be important to you. Committing to paying it down is one of the best new year financial resolutions you can make if you’re ready to ditch the debt. 

How you go about this depends on whether you have federal or private student loans

With federal loans, you can look into consolidation which can help to streamline your payments. You can also research whether you might be eligible for public service loan forgiveness.

If you have private student loans, refinancing to a new loan could make sense if you’re able to get a lower interest rate. You could save money on interest and make your payments more manageable. 

Financial resolution #6: Improve your credit score

Credit scores are more than a three-digit number; they’re also a financial calling card of sorts that tell lenders how responsible you are with money.

If your credit score is less than stellar, vowing to improve it could be a great financial resolution to make. Some of the most effective ways to raise your score include:

  • Paying bills on time
  • Keeping credit card balances low
  • Limiting how often you apply for new credit

But what if you have limited or no credit history at all? 

You could start building credit by asking someone to add you to one of their credit cards as an authorized user. Or you could open a credit builder credit card in your own name. You can use a credit builder card to establish a positive credit history when you use the card responsibly. 

Financial resolution #7: Get a better deal on rent

Rent prices skyrocketed in 2021, with prices up nearly 20% for a one-bedroom unit and 17% for a two-bedroom unit year-over-year. Buying a home could be cheaper but that’s not realistic for every renter. 

So what can you do to bring your housing costs down? Negotiating rent is one option. 

Your landlord may be willing to cut you a deal on rent if you’re able to offer them a solid incentive to do so. For example, they might lower the rent if you agree to a longer lease term or pay a larger security deposit. Or you might be able to get a deal by offering to do minor repairs yourself (assuming you know what you’re doing). 

Asking for a better deal on rent doesn’t guarantee you’ll get it. But it’s worth a try when you’re trying to find extra cash as part of your new year savings plan. 

Financial resolution #8: Cut out unnecessary spending

Money wasted is money that you can’t save or invest. So one of the smartest new year resolution ideas for 2022 is to ditch wasteful spending. 

Some of the things you might be wasting money on include:

  • Bank fees
  • Meals out
  • Subscription and streaming services you don’t use
  • Gym memberships

Switching banks is an easy fix if you want to avoid high banking fees. Moving to an online-only bank account could save you money and help you unlock useful benefits like getting paid up to two days early with direct deposit.

You can also make weeding out the junk expenses in your budget by letting an app do it for you. There are apps that will help you cancel subscriptions you forgot about and some can even negotiate your utility, internet or cell phone bills for you for added savings. 

Financial resolution #9: Work on filling the gaps in your financial plan

A budget is the most basic financial tool you can have and if one of your new year money resolutions is making one, then you’re on the right path. But there are other things you might need to make your financial plan complete, including:

  • Life insurance and/or disability insurance
  • An Individual Retirement Account (IRA) if you’re not saving for retirement at work
  • A will or trust

Making sure you have these things in place can help you protect yourself financially now and in the future. And they can be especially important if you’re married and/or have kids who depend on you for income. 

Financial resolution #10: Boost your income

One of your new year financial resolutions might be making more money. Wages for workers trended upward overall in 2021, which is good news. But if you don’t want to wait around for a pay raise, you could work on growing your income yourself. 

How? By starting one or more side hustles. 

A side hustle is anything you do to make money (legally) on the side while working a part-time job, full-time job or attending school. It’s possible to make money with online side hustles or offline side hustles. 

If you’re looking for some ideas on how to make money on the side, check out some of the opportunities available with Chime partners

How to Set a Money Resolution That Will Actually Stick

Setting new year money resolutions means you’re thinking about ways to improve your finances. But it’s important to choose financial resolutions you can–and will–stick to for the year. 

Here are some tips for setting money resolutions that last:

  • Automate as much as possible. Automating savings, investments or debt repayments can help you stick to your financial resolutions because you don’t have to remember to keep up with them. You can set up an automatic payment or transfer and forget it, leaving you free to focus on other financial goals.
  • Write it down. Writing down your financial goals can help reinforce them in your mind so that you’re more likely to stay committed to them. If you write down your goals, place them somewhere that you’re likely to see them every day so you have a visual reminder of what you’re working toward. 
  • Take a bite-sized approach. Setting big financial goals can be problematic if you get overwhelmed by them almost right away. So you can make it easier to stick with your new year financial resolutions by taking those big goals and breaking them down into smaller, less daunting tasks. 
  • Get an accountability partner. If you’ve struggled with sticking to money goals in the past, having an accountability partner along for the ride could help. This is someone you can check in with regularly to report your goal progress. The best accountability partner will also gently but firmly point out when you’re going astray and help you get back on track with your financial goals. 

FAQ

How do I make a financial new year's resolution?

Making financial new year’s resolutions starts with understanding what improvements you want to make with your money situation. From there, you can create specific goals to work toward and break each goal down into individual action steps. 

What are some easy savings tips for the new year?

The easiest way to save money in the new year is to automate deposits into savings or use an app that does it for you. After that, using an app to cancel subscriptions and negotiate bills is another simple way to save more money. You can also look into student loan refinancing or debt consolidation if you want to cut out high-interest charges. 

How do I pick the right financial goal for me?

Choosing the right financial goal for you depends on where you are now financially and where you’d like to eventually be. You may have multiple financial goals you’d like to work toward, such as saving more money, paying off debt or investing for retirement. Prioritizing each goal by order of importance can help you decide which goal to work on first.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking to make a fresh start financially, setting new year’s money resolutions can help. As you plan out your financial resolutions, remember that the year may not go exactly as you planned and it may be necessary to adjust your goals from time to time. Scheduling a monthly money check-in to review your budget, savings and goal progress can help you stay the course as you work through your resolutions list. 

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