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5 tips to rock your New Year's Resolution

Create a budget. Build your savings. Raise your credit score. Pay off credit card debt. Save money. If one of these was in your New Year’s resolutions, here are 5 tips to turn that goal into a reality.

  1. SMART Goals
  2. Budget
  3. Credit score
  4. Check yourself
  5. Ask for help

Blonde woman wearing glasses using a laptop and laughing with a plant in the background

Tip 1: Make sure your goal is S.M.A.R.T.

Want to make sure your goal is going to succeed? Start by making sure that your goal is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and has a time frame. The first letter of each of these tasks spell out S.M.A.R.T. Including these elements in your New Year’s resolution are important to creating achievable goals.

Having a goal of $1200 is nice, but doesn’t really give you much accountability.

Setting a monthly goal to save $100 each month for a year in order to go on a girls’ weekend in Sedona is a S.M.A.R.T. Goal because you’re making sure that it is specific to what you want, measurable with having a monthly task, attainable with your budget, relevant to your needs or wants, and has a time frame to be accomplished.

Make sure your goal is achievable by asking ask yourself if it’s S.M.A.R.T. This helps get to the primary purpose of your goal and strips away any wiggle room that may prevent your success.

Tip 2: Create a budget

Whether you want to save money or pay off debt, understanding where your money is going (or not going) is an important step to achieve your New Year’s resolution.

Shoot for your budget breaking down to 70-25-5.

70% of your income on needs, 25% towards saving (long-term and emergency), and 5% for giving back (community charities, church, schools, etc.)

Here are some quick resources to get started with your budget:

  • Review your bills
    Go through your bills and find places where you can cut spending, find savings, and just be conscious of where your money is going each month.
  • Use Numerica's online tools
    Creating a budget can be overwhelming. Use Numerica’s free Online Banking budgeting tools to get your budget started in about 20 minutes.
  • Free budget worksheet
    F-R-E-E. We’re talking about saving money here, so why spend money on software or systems? This is a simple spreadsheet you can print out to start mastering your money. 

Tip 3: Understand your credit score

If your New Year’s resolution is about finances, you have to talk about your credit score too. Why does your credit score matter? From buying a house to paying down credit card debt, or building up your savings accounts; your credit score impacts many areas of your daily life.

Beginning the house hunt in the New Year? Some loan options can be approved with a score between 600 and 620, but you might find yourself paying more interest. Focusing on raising your score to 700 could get you better lending options at lower rates.

Paying more money on higher interest rates takes away from the money you could be putting towards your goals.

A better understanding of the five factors of a credit score can help you stay on track to not only increase your credit score, but also working to achieve your financial goals.

Tip 4: Check yourself

The year starts with such high hopes for our financial goals. As time passes, it’s easy to get caught up with everyday life and forget our New Year’s resolution and long-term goals. Sometimes, the biggest obstacle in achieving our goals, is ourselves.

How can you be more accountable to for your goals’ success?

Be aware of your spending habits to help prevent New Year’s resolution catastrophes.

Understanding your relationship with money can help you identify spending behaviors that contribute to your financial goal’s downfall.

If you know that you avoid talking about money, you can’t overcome that avoidance just by creating a budget. It’s a great first step, but you’ll need to be extra diligent in checking your money progress and having those tough conversations to reach your goal.

Ask yourself if the purchase is a need or a want.

Keeping to a budget can boil down to being realistic with your purchases - do you really need that item or do you just want it.

Do you really NEED those red-soled pumps for your cousin’s wedding or is it a want? But you need a pair of new shoes, right? Well, maybe not. Do you have something at home that can work? Be honest with yourself, even though you may not like the answer.

If your goal is to spend less and save more, impulse spending could be your Achilles heel that kills your goal.

Tip 5: Ask for help

You’ve read the articles, looked at the tips and helpful hints, and printed off all the worksheets. Still unsure of what to do?

Numerica is here to help. Having money conversations, figuring out how to take steps toward achieving your goals, and finding the right accounts for you is why we’re here. Let’s work together to make your New Year’s resolution into a reality.

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