We all have many New Year's resolutions that we hope will lead to a better life, but so often those goals fall to the wayside only to pop back up for another failed attempt again and again.
Things like "Dry January" is the obvious one but let's face it: saving more money has to be a close second. If you have health and wealth you're in pretty great shape, but the problem is that often too many people try to make huge, sudden, and massive changes and it proves to be just too much.
So what types of small, easy, and basic tips can help to make sure you actually make your financial goals in 2017 instead of having to make the same resolutions for 2018?
#1: Plan Your Savings Goal
Without a plan, you have no chance. If you don't know how much you want to save in a year, you're not going to make that number. If that's the only number you have, you can't break down what you need as monthly and weekly goals. Choose a reasonable goal, give yourself a little bit of leeway (but not too much - like planning out 48 or 50 weeks instead of the full 52), and set up a spending and savings plan that can help you reach that.
Self discipline is much easier when you have a clear path and plan to follow.
#2: Get Rid Of Temptation
You can't be tempted if the temptation isn't there. One of the best ways to save is to have part of your check sent to an account in another bank, one which you cut up the debit card for or don't set up online banking - meaning it would take a lot of extra effort to go and raid your savings. The harder it is to do, the less likely you are to do it.
#3: Track Expenses For One Month
Two months is a little better, but one month is generally enough. This is tracking, not budgeting (though that is also a good idea). You want to see where every single penny of the money you're spending is going so you can make a realistic accounting of what your actual expenses are.
Use this to trim the fat and make small changes for big savings. I tried this earlier this year and found to my shock just how much I was spending on my morning coffee.
#4: Set Up A Budget
This is generally best done after tracking expenses for a bit so you're not underestimating expenses or overestimating your resolve. There are plenty of resources for creating and sticking to a budget so take advantage of them!
#5: Take Advantage Of Small Adjustments
Using coupons for the first time, buying stuff during sales, or even making small adjustments like "the cheapest soda" versus "brand X at full price" are all little changes that can make life altering differences when all the savings are added up over the long term.
#6: Use Technology To Your Advantage
This could mean finding great deals online that are better than what you can get in person. This could also mean activating rewards programs for a credit card (although not using one at all is better if you can manage that) or there are even high quality saving apps that can be set up to make saving money relatively painless and much easier than using good old fashioned resolve, there are also a lot of money saving apps, aswell as finding freebie and free sample sites.
#7: Reward Your Momentum
You know what makes willpower much easier? The occasional reward. If you track your momentum so you can actually see yourself gaining on your goals then you are going to be encouraged and keep going with that. Don't completely starve yourself of fun. There's no reason for it, and that is often counter productive. Check on your progress every so often, make corrections or increases as you see fit and give yourself some small little celebration for making a goal.
Whether that is an ice cream during summer, one meal at your favourite bar, or something else entirely, you have plenty of options.
Follow these 7 tips and you will be far more likely to reach your savings goals!