The Most Popular New Year's Resolutions and Their More Attainable Alternatives

The Most Popular New Year's Resolutions and Their More Attainable Alternatives

Written by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated December 16, 2016

New Year’s Resolutions, we love to make them, but when that clock strikes midnight on the 31st, we love to hate them even more. There’s almost nothing more satisfying than accomplishing a goal, especially when it comes to your finances. But, there’s also almost nothing more difficult than getting it together when it comes to your finances. So this year when you start to think about what financial resolutions you’re going to set, here’s what we suggest you do: Instead of cutting something out completely or at all, resolve to instead add new and better habits into your life.

Want to Spend Less Money? Decide to Save More Instead.

Instead of setting the goal to never spend any money ever again, decide to save more. Cutting back is hard and no fun, which can often lead you to simply give up. But on the other hand, increasing your savings is a slightly less restrictive goal and therefore you may be more likely to stick with it.

How to Save More

People often deal with expenses and bills at the beginning of each month and then at the end of the month, save whatever money they have left over. The problem with this method is that, more often than not, there is little to no money left over at the end of the month to save. So instead, make saving your number one priority. Set up an automatic transfer from your chequing account to your saving account. Depending on how you’re paid, transfers a set amount weekly, semi-weekly, or monthly. This way you’ll be able to save a significant amount of each paycheque without even needing to think about it.

Bonus

Transferring your money into a savings account before you have the chance to spend it means you’ll not only be saving more you’ll actually be spending less too.

Check out our Essential Guide for Saving, here.

Think Creating a Budget is a Good Idea? Try Tracking Your Spending Instead.

If you’re looking to put yourself on a budget, but don’t actually want to take the time to create a budget or know that you’ll never be able to stick to the strict guidelines that come with budgets, try tracking your spending instead.

How to Track Your Spending

There is no right or wrong way to track your spending, just keep in mind that the number one thing you need to make sure you’re doing is keeping track of every dollar you spend, within a specific period of time. We suggest that you track your expenses on a monthly basis.

You’ll need to create a list of all your bills, for example, rent or mortgage payments, utilities, cable or satellite etc. You should also get in the habit of saving all your receipts and storing them all together. Finally, at the end of the month, you should create a list or spreadsheet to compile all of your transactions for that month. You can organize this however you like, create categories or simply list everything out.

Bonus

By tracking your spending for a couple months or even the whole year, you’ll be one step closer to having a budget. This means if you ever do decide to create a budget you won’t have as much work to do.

Want to be Debt Free? Create a Plan to Consistently Pay Down Your Balances.

Being debt free is probably one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions out there. Carrying around debt is no fun, therefore it’s no wonder why being debt free is such a popular goal. Here’s the thing, we definitely don’t think that you should look at being debt free as an unattainable resolution, we think it’s one of the best resolutions you can set for yourself. But, we do think you need to look at this resolution from a very specific angle.

Looking for debt repayment motivation? Check this out.

How to be Debt Free

It’s really easy to tell yourself you’re going to change your financial habits (or any habit you might consider to be a bad one) in the future. The real problem is when the future becomes the present and you haven’t figured out how to be debt free yet. First things first, you need to look at becoming debt free as a journey, it’s not going to happen overnight and it’s not going to happen without a plan and some hard work. For example, let’s say you have a couple of credit cards that all have balances on them. You always make the minimum payments on time and sometimes you’re even able to contribute a bit more. But you still use those credit cards and the interest is accumulating fast. First, stop using all of your credit cards. Figure out the interest rates for all of them, you’ll want to pay off the balance of the card that’s costing you the most first. Now you need to determine how to make large and consistent payments every single month. This is your key to paying down debt, consistency.

Bonus

Besides actually being on the right track toward a debt free future, you’re getting a firsthand look at just how difficult it is to pay down debt. We’re hoping this will be a very valuable lesson for you and prevent you from racking up too much unnecessary debt in the future.

Caitlin is a graduate of Dawson College and Concordia University and has been working in the personal finance industry for over eight years. She believes that education and knowledge are the two most important factors in the creation of healthy financial habits. She also believes that openly discussing money and credit, and the responsibilities that come with them can lead to better decisions and a greater sense of financial security. One of the main ways she’s built good financial habits is by budgeting and tracking her spending through the YNAB budgeting app. She also automates her savings so she never forgets to put aside a portion of her income into her TFSA. She believes investing and passive income is key to earning financial freedom. She also uses her Aeroplan TD credit card to collect Aeroplan points so that she can save money when she travels.

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