Every year, Canadians make New Year’s resolutions. It’s natural – the turning of the calendar makes us think of fresh starts. In fact, about 3 in 10 Canadians make resolutions every year, on everything from getting fit to getting out of debt, but most of them (73%) end up breaking them.1
But you don’t need to be one of those statistics and you don’t have to have too much willpower to stick to these financial resolutions. Whether your goal is to get out of debt fast, save more money, these easy tips can make you one of those Canadians who successfully sticks to New Year’s resolutions.
One of the best ways to accomplish any goal is to make it specific. Do you want to lose weight? You’re more likely to be successful if you give yourself a specific plan. “I resolve to lose 10 pounds this year by losing 1.2 pounds a month by going to the gym once a week and cutting chips and cookies out of my diet” is a stronger action plan than “I resolve to get skinnier.”
And remember, a resolution is only as good as your ability to keep it. Don’t feel you have to take on too many resolutions – even just one of the following is a great start.
Monitor your credit score every 3 months
Knowing your credit score and making sure it’s accurate is an important part of a healthy financial regimen. Ranging from about 300 points to 900 points, your credit score determines how easy or difficult it is to get a loan and at what rate. You can get your credit report free once a year from one of Canada’s credit bureaus (TransUnion and Equifax) and you can sign up for credit monitoring services that can you give unlimited credit score checks.
Save a percentage of your income every week
Be specific on this one. Rather that resolving to “save money,” make a resolution to save a percentage of what you make. Many experts advise saving 20% of your income, especially for retirement savings, but that can be difficult for many of us to do. Why not start a savings plan that is easy and then you can always work up from there with each new year that passes once you find it’s not that hard? If you take home $500 a week, or $2,000 a month, saving 1% of your take-home pay is a mere $5 a week (less than the price of two Starbucks lattes!), or $260 a year. That’s $1,300 in 5 years. If you can save $25 a week, or 5% of your take-home pay, you’ll save $1,300 before the next New Year comes around.
Track your expenses every day
This sounds harder than it is. Many people find that they can lose weight when they track the food they eat, helping them be more mindful of what and how much they eat. It’s the same with money. If you track how much you spend, every little amount, you become more mindful of what you’re spending and gain insight into where you might be spending too much. Some people log it all into an easy spreadsheet but there are also free apps you can download on your phone. Put an alert on your phone to remind you every day!
You can make this year the one where you stick to your financial resolutions and that’s a great feeling. Happy New Year!