As we approach the New Year, you may be having another one of those classic moments of self-reflection. Will I finally become more organized? Can I commit myself to losing those few pounds that I have been meaning to for so long? Do I embark on that family trip to Europe which I have longed for? These are all great things to be focusing on as we turn the page to 2017, but let’s not forget about the important goal of making sure your financial situation is well-managed and maintained. In the spirit of the New Year, below are five financial resolutions that you can strive to implement into your lifestyle.
Increase Your Savings by a Small Amount Each Month. Even if you are already a consistent saver, try to see if you can increase the amount you save each month. This is obviously dependent on the income you receive, but you can easily perform a trial period of this for about three months. Doing this will allow you to see the effect of not having that extra money around for spending. If everything works out, you can keep the increased saving for the things you wish to do later in life (like retire)!
Maximize Your Retirement Account Contributions. If you are not already contributing the maximum possible to your retirement account(s), make this the year you do so. If you have a traditional/Roth IRA, the maximum contribution for 2017 is $5,500 ($6,500 if you are age 50 or older). For 401(k) plans, you can defer as much as $18,000 of your paycheck (or $24,000 if age 50 or older).
Develop an Organized System for Your Finances. Creating an organizational system for your finances ensures you never miss a payment and can also reduce the time you spend in managing your financial situation. Think about setting up smartphone alerts for your bill due dates and a specific date when you review your position each month. It is less about the colored highlighters and folders and more about creating a system that works for you.
Make That Eat-Out Weekend Eat-In. Take account of all the money you spend eating out and ordering delivery, particularly on weekends when the temptation is high. Consider making every other weekend an eat-in one, where you practice less on your restaurant searching and more on those cooking skills you are secretly hiding! You will quickly realize all the money you spend on eating out, and will be able to save this money for your future or other activities you may wish to do.
Think Hard About That Gym Membership. If getting fit is going to be one of your New Year resolutions for 2017, you may want to consider skipping out on that gym membership. Already have a gym membership? You still may want to evaluate if you are really getting your money’s worth. If not, consider canceling your membership and make working out at home your resolution for the New Year instead of relying on that potentially costly gym membership.