How to Set Actionable Steps to Keep Your New Year’s Resolution
It’s a new year and a fresh start. Like many people, you’re probably lining up your goals for 2019 – one of which might be to save more money. In recent years, the most popular New Year’s resolutions have been to eat healthier, improve your life and make better financial decisions. According to Huffington Post, 40 percent of Americans set New Year’s resolutions, but only 8 percent actually follow through for the entire year. In order to achieve your dream of financial freedom, you’ll need to set actionable stepping stones that can help meet your long-term goals. It’s important to take things slow and keep your eye on the prize.
Track Your Spending Habits and Stick to Your Budget
You’ll never hit your savings goals if you don’t know how much money you have coming in and out of your account each month. It’s a good idea to check in on your finances at least once a week – that way the end of the month doesn’t sneak up on you! There are several great apps that can help you identify how much you spend on average and set up a realistic budget.
Cut Down on Unnecessary Expenses
Now that you’ve assessed your average spending and set up a budget, it’s time to see where you can save. For example, if a large portion of your money is spent on eating out, maybe try making your coffee at home and skipping that $6 cup of joe each morning on your way to work. The same goes for eating at restaurants. If you eat out for lunch every day, try packing your lunch more often. The important thing to remember is that you don’t have to cut everything all at once. In fact, you are far more likely to succeed if you take little steps toward your end goal. You can also keep yourself motivated by setting up a reward system. If you stick to your budget, then at the end of the month you get to do something special. Hold yourself accountable, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly your savings increases!
Set Up a Savings Account
Finally, a great way to help meet your financial goals is to set up a savings account. Often, you’ll be able to set up automatic recurring deposits so that, each month, a designated amount will automatically be transferred into your savings. Savings or money market accounts may be available at your bank or credit union and will help you set aside money for an emergency fund, home renovations, a vacation, or other plans.
If you are interested in saving for college, either for yourself or for your child, setting up an account in the NC 529 Plan is a great idea! NC 529 Accounts are a tax-advantaged and simple way to start saving for higher education. It only takes $25 to set up, and anyone can contribute. 529 Accounts are different from regular savings accounts because the earnings are tax-free when used for qualified education expenses. Contributions make great birthday and holiday presents from friends and family members. You can even sign up for automatic payroll deductions, so you don’t even have to think about it. The experts at NC 529 will be happy to help you through each step of the process, so visit NC 529.org to get started today.
Now is the time to take action and make 2019 your year. Long-term savings goals can seem incredibly overwhelming, but by breaking it down into actionable mini-steps, you are setting yourself up for success. As long as you stay dedicated, you’ll be saving up in no time.