February 07, 2020 · Budget, Credit, Education, Investment

New Year’s Financial Resolutions You Can Really Keep

For many people, one thing the new year always brings is new year's resolutions—promises to ourselves and others that will take actions to alter—and usually improve—some (or many) aspects of our life. It's common for people to want to change their weight and exercise program, modify a personal relationship, do something different with their job or career, travel more, begin (or invest more time in) a hobby or sport.

These resolutions may be quite practical or highly unrealistic, but they all involve change, doing something differently than we did before. New year's resolutions also have a reputation for being difficult to keep, since for more than a few people, change is difficult; it's normal to continue the momentum of old habits and it's a struggle to shift a course that has been maintained for a long time.

As with other resolutions, financial resolutions may also be challenging to complete, especially for those on a tight budget. Saving money, cutting expenses, spending more carefully, limiting credit card use or trying to invest wisely can be tough goals to reach. So for 2020, it's literally worth considering some financial resolutions that are more likely to be achievable, with realistic goals and measurable benefits. So…what could someone do this year with their money that's attainable? Even though the new year has begun, it's not too late to make or revise resolutions for the rest of the year:

  • If you are carrying credit card debt on your account, then vow to use your credit card less while you pay down the debt. Use cash more for every day purchases and try to limit what you buy online.
  • Stash a little cash away every week, then put it into a savings account every month. Every week, pull a one, five, 10 or 20-dollar bill out of your wallet and stash it in a hidden location. At the end of the month, take the cash and put it into savings.
  • Create an additional savings account and hide it from your main view. If you bank with Delta Community, you can add an additional savings account, and then hide it from your main account overview in Online Banking. Schedule your checking account to transfer a set amount of money each month to the hidden savings account, and as it's “out of sight, out of mind,” you can accumulate these extra savings and be less tempted to spend it.
  • Attend a free financial workshop, seminar or webinar on managing your finances. Credit unions, banks and other financial institutions have no-cost opportunities throughout the year to learn more about managing money. Delta Community's Financial Education Center has monthly workshops covering different money matters and they're held in multiple locations across Atlanta.
  • A version of the above resolution is to pick just one financial subject for 2020 and commit to learning much more about it than you do now—maybe the subject is mortgages, investing in the stock market, the financial benefits of improving your home, saving money on insurance (home, personal, vehicle or some other type), where to find good deals on used cars and how to value, etc.
  • Check your cell phone bill, and if you're not reaching your data limit each month, then look into moving down to a lower-cost monthly plan. If you're careful about data use on your phone and you usually don't get up to your monthly data capacity limit, check with your cell service carrier to find out whether a different plan with less data—that also costs less—might be for you.

There are a lot of resolutions you can make for the new year that affect your life. Think through what financial resolutions for you are both helpful and achievable—and get started. Don't get discouraged if you can't succeed with your resolution every week or even every month; remember that it's something that you want to make happen for the year.