- Eighty-five percent of Americans are confident about their finances for 2019.
- Thirty-two percent of people are thinking about creating financial goals for the new year.
- The percentage of Americans considering financial resolutions is up from 2018.
It’s a new year, which means another chance to make resolutions and actually keep them. Although hitting the gym might be on the top of most people’s list for 2019, this year looks like it will be a year of financial goals as well.
Last year, 76 percent of Americans believed they would be financially better off in 2018, but only 27 percent of people actually committed to making financial resolutions, according to Fidelity’s annual “New Year’s Financial Resolution Study.” With the new year underway, 75 percent of Americans feel they will be financially better off in 2019, and 32 percent of people are considering making financial resolutions. At the same time, about one in four people are concerned about the state of their finances for 2019, a recent GOBankingRates study found.
Although the year is already in swing, it’s not too late to get your finances on track. Here are seven financial resolutions for the new year that you should consider.
1. Pay Off Debt
The average personal debt is up to more than $38,000, according to the Northwestern Mutual’s “Planning & Progress Study 2018.” To make a dent in your debt this year, be strategic with your debt payments. Financial expert Dave Ramsey recommends making minimum payments on all debts except the smallest. Throw all the money you can at the smallest debt and after you pay it off, “take the money you were paying on that debt and roll it into the next highest payment,” Ramsey wrote in a blog post. “It’s a debt snowball!”
2. Save More Money
Get resourceful. If you like to eat out a lot, many restaurants have discounts available if you check in through Yelp. Also, try making all your purchases on a cash-back rewards credit card. Robert Farrington wrote in The College Investor that, depending on the card, you can save big every month. For example, if your credit card gives you 2 percent cash back and you spend an average of $1,000, you could save $20 a month.
3. Spend Less
This tip might be easier said than done, but it was one of the top three financial resolutions for 2019, according to the Fidelity study. If you have trouble with spending money, America Saves recommends that you budget by using cash and envelopes. In this strategy, you set aside a fixed amount of spending cash in an envelope. By doing this, you can have a more realistic picture of how much money you actually can spend.
4. Get a Side Gig
Although wages might be higher than in past years, the cost of living is steadily rising. Consumer prices rose 2.2 percent from November 2017 to November 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So, it pays to have another source of income. If you have a full-time job, try freelancing. Check out job boards like Indeed or Glassdoor, which post job openings regularly. You might even find some luck on Craigslist.
5. Open a Savings Account
Following this tip is as easy as stopping by or calling your bank. If you have direct deposit, have some of your income be automatically deposited into your savings account.
6. Invest Money
Even if you’re not an investing guru, you can still invest your money wisely. Apps such as Acorns allow you to invest your spare change or extra cash from your daily purchases into various ETFs.
7. Open a Retirement Savings Account
According to a GOBankingRates study, about 42 percent of Americans will retire “broke” — with $10,000 or less saved. Opening a retirement savings account might not seem necessary now, but it will be invaluable in your golden years. You can get started by talking to your employer about opening a 401k account or speaking with a banker about opening an IRA if you choose.
Click through to find out how your finances measure up to the typical American’s.
More on Saving Money
- How to Save Money Fast: 3 Ways to Save $1K in a Month
- This Is How Much Money You Should Have Saved by 30 — and What to Do If You Fall Short
- 16 Expert Tips to Manage Your Money Better
- Watch: Treating Finances Like a Game Will Help Get You Rich
We make money easy. Get weekly email updates, including expert advice to help you Live Richer™.