You’d assume that a list of the top 10 New Year’s resolution ideas would have “lose weight” and “exercise more” on it – but they’re SO 2018. Instead, check out these top 10 financial New Year’s resolutions for 2019 to save money and get on the path to wealth this New Year!
What to keep in mind when choosing which of these New Year’s resolution ideas to follow
The whole concept of a New Year’s resolution is kind of strange, when you think about it.
I mean, you could start to make a positive change in your life any day of the year, really!
Instead, those fireworks seem to trigger something in all of us that makes us say that THIS is the year where I’m going to get my act together!
Of course, the vast majority of us fall off the wagon within about three weeks…
So the trick with any New Year’s resolution – whether it be related to your money or not – is to make it something that you can actually achieve.
You can’t declare on January 1st that you’re going to run a marathon by Easter if your running shoes have been gathering dust in a cupboard somewhere for months (or, ahem, years).
And similarly, you probably can’t turn yourself into a financial mastermind overnight.
Which is perfectly ok! After all, the very fact that you’re thinking about improving your finances makes you automatically better than the VAST majority of people who just keep accumulating debt while wondering why things aren’t improving.
So all of this is why this list of New Year’s resolution ideas for 2019 are all relatively simple to do.
Just pick one (or more!) that you want to focus on and you’re good to go!
Each of them may take, at most, an hour to set up the first time. From then on, you’ll simply have to schedule regular check-ups on your progress.
For me, I like to set a recurring event in my Google Calendar that reminds me on the first Thursday of every month to take a quick temperature check of my finances.
I take a look at my investments, make sure that my spending is in check and just generally see if there are any areas of improvement.
And you could definitely do the same. Just pick an hour that you know you’re normally home, set the event in your calendar to recur however often you need it to – and voila!
So…ready to get your finances in order this New Year?
1. Create a budget
Making sure that you have a budget – that you actually follow! – is one of the best things you can do for your finances.
And this is especially the case when you’re trying to control your spending and save more money.
After all, by tracking your expenses, you’ll easily be able to see where you may be spending more than you thought you were – and, in turn, where you’re able to cut back.
While it can seem daunting at first to work out how to put all of your finances into a budget, it’s actually super straightforward.
In fact, this step-by-step guide to creating a budget will walk you through just what you need to do.
And when you’re at the part where you have to set your spending goals (that is, how much money you should be allocating to each area of your life), the 50/30/20 rule is a great, easy guide to help you figure that out.
As an extra push to help you get started, here’s a free downloadable budget template – just fill it in and you’re on your way!
2. Get your debt under control
If you have any debt, you should absolutely make it a priority to pay it off.
Now, it may be too hard for you to get rid of ALL your debt in one year.
But by aiming to get rid of at least one of your debts in 2019, you’ll definitely be well on your way to a great financial future.
This simple step-by-step guide to getting out of debt will show you just how to do it but, essentially, we recommend that you aim to pay off the debt with the highest interest rate first.
Because it’s costing you the most in interest, getting rid of it first can save you the most in the long run – literally tens of thousands of dollars, in some cases.
This is probably going to be any credit card debts you have, but take a look at your own financial situation and see just what you want to aim to wipe out this New Year.
RELATED ARTICLE: WHY YOU SHOULD BE PAYING OFF CREDIT CARDS IN FULL (AND HOW TO DO IT)
3. Open a retirement account (or, if you already have one, max out your contributions)
If you don’t have a retirement account open yet, like a 401(k), close this window and go do it now. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.
After all, by opening this account now, you’re setting yourself up for retirement by letting your money grow without you having to do anything.
Also known as: the magic of compound interest.
Of course, this only works if you’re making regular contributions, so you should definitely consider making that a focus tin 2019.
And the very best part of any 401(k) is if your employer offers to match a portion of your 401(k) contributions.
If you’re not taking advantage of this, start doing it right now.
After all, it’s essentially free money.
Making it a great New Year’s resolution to truly set up your financial future.
MORE INFORMATION: HOW TO MAXIMIZE YOUR 401(K) BY TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS
4. Save more money by having clear saving goals
This is one of those New Year’s resolutions that often appears on lists next to “exercise more” – and, much like resolving to exercise more, many of us fail at really doing this consistently throughout the whole year.
The trick is to not simply tell yourself to “save more money”. Instead, have an actual goal in mind.
Perhaps you want to save $500 each month. Or double your current savings rate to, say, 10% of your income. Or save $1,000 for a holiday by a certain date.
You could even do it in terms of cutting your spending. For example, you could aim to spend $100 per month on eating out instead of your current $200.
If you give yourself an actual goal to aim for, you’re much more likely to achieve it.
And how exactly can you achieve this? There are a ton of ways to do so!
Check out these articles for some great ideas to help you to start saving money this New Year:
5. Schedule a financial date night every month
This is a great way to really get your finances under control – and make sure that they stay that way throughout the year.
If you live with a partner, then it’s great if you can do this with him or her so that you’re both on the same page.
But you can also have this date night with yourself. Simply grab a glass of wine, put on some music and settle down with…your money.
(The romance is real!)
These 8 easy money management steps to improve your financial health tonight show you how, in only an hour, you can seriously improve your money situation.
Knowing that you have to look at your finances for any areas of improvement can seem seriously overwhelming.
But when it’s broken down into the steps in that article, you’ll see that it’s really not hard at all.
And by scheduling this for once a month, you can keep making sure that you’re on the right track – or, if there’s an issue, you can get it under control before it becomes a much bigger problem.
6. Keep an eye on your credit score and credit report
This is probably the easiest one on the list, just because it’s so quick to do.
Making sure you regularly check your credit score is super important as it lets you know immediately if things are where they should be – or if you need to start working on improving it.
Luckily, it’s super easy to do – just check your credit score for free here.
Similarly, you should regularly keep an eye on your credit report, especially if you think you’ll need to take on debt, such as a mortgage, in future.
By doing this, you’ll quickly see if there’s anything that shouldn’t be on there, like mistakes or fraud, which can have a massive effect on bringing your credit score down.
Again, this is easy to do – simply get your free credit report here.
I’d recommend that you set a reminder to yourself to check this every three months. Checking more frequently than that won’t really achieve much but checking less frequently might allow a problem to slip through the cracks, which could create bigger issues for you in future.
7. Start a side hustle
One way to achieve some of the other resolutions above, like paying off your debt or saving more, is to increase your income.
And a great way to do that is to start a side hustle.
There are literally hundreds of side hustles out there that let you earn more money in addition to your main source of income.
And many people have even turned these into their full time jobs!
For me, this blog is my side hustle allowing me to earn money outside of my main job – while talking about topics that I love!
If you’re interested in doing the same, it’s super easy to start a blog for only $3.95 per month.
And even without any tech skills (which I absolutely DO NOT have), you can follow this guide to start your blog in less than 15 minutes.
That said, if blogging isn’t your thing, there are a ton of other side hustles you can do to make seriously great money:
8. Build an emergency fund
It’s always good to have three to six months of living expenses on hand, just in case something happens and you need to access that money quickly.
After all, nasty financial surprises are often expensive and so it’s always good to be prepared.
So consider adding “build an emergency fund” to your New Year’s resolution list in 2019.
The best thing you can do is to keep this money in a high-interest savings account like this one so you can earn interest on it.
That account has zero fees with a massive interest rate of 1.55% – making it a great place to keep your emergency fund.
9. Work on your financial education
While we often talk about investing your money around here, it can also be just as valuable to invest in your own education.
In particular, gaining an understanding of financial concepts will help you enormously going forward.
So consider aiming to read one personal finance book per month in 2019.
I’d personally recommend that you start with the ones below
They’re all short enough to finish in a month, are well written and, best of all, are great at explaining what can often be complicated financial ideas in really simple, understandable ways.
- The Simple Path to Wealth (my absolutely favourite that I always recommend to friends)
- The Millionaire Next Door
- The Richest Man in Babylon
- I Will Teach You To Be Rich
You can even get two of these as audiobooks for free!
Just sign up here for a free 30-day trial with Audible and you’ll get two free audiobooks to keep – even if you cancel before having to pay at the end of the free trial period.
10. Exercise more
I know. THE New Year’s resolution idea you always hear about.
But this can actually save you money in the long run. After all, working on your fitness now can save you a ton in health-related expenses down the track.
And seeing as many of you are going to include this on your list of New Year’s resolutions anyway (given that it’s the most common resolution), it’s good to make sure that you’re doing it as cheaply as possible!
So check out this article on 5 WAYS TO SMASH YOUR FITNESS GOALS FOR FREE to see just how you can start getting a healthier body AND a healthier wallet this New Year.
What’s your New Year’s resolution for 2019 – financial or otherwise?