Wednesday, January 31, 2018

New Year, New Plan - Financial Resolutions for 2018

New Year’s Resolutions are easy to make. Publicly claiming “I will eat more kale” might earn you some brownie points with the health gurus, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll go through with it. Or you could start off the year strong, working out daily, and two weeks later you haven’t given the gym a second thought. So when people say “2018 is the year that I’ll save more money,” what are some actual ways of putting their money where their mouth is?

Financial Resolutions

Determine Your Priorities
Drawing a line between necessary expenses and everything else will help you paint a picture of your savings potential. Sitting down and accounting for your monthly payments matched to your income also allows for a bit of spring cleaning and clarity to then grow from there.

Set Specific Goals
Now that you have an idea of the monthly costs that can’t be changed, it’s time to determine what you’re hoping to accomplish. Resolutions that are specific are typically easier to stick with. “I will save more this year” is great, but “I’d like to put $100 into a savings account each month” is a tangible goal that can then be worked out. 

Target Areas of Change
Just as important as identifying the spending that can’t be changed is identifying the habits that CAN be changed. This could be something as simple as looking at how often you go out for lunch or dinner; if you go out often after work or on the weekends; tiny things like how often you buy coffee vs. how often you make your own. If saving is important, then frivolous spending, no matter how small, should be considered a habit that can be changed to accommodate a new savings strategy.

Find Alternatives
Spending $10/day on lunch and coffee? Make coffee in the morning before you leave, or cook meals at home that can make plenty of servings for work lunches. Tallying up how much you spend on buying lunch each day can quickly add up. Doing this exercise gives you an idea of what you’d save with a packed lunch. Buying an afternoon soda to stay awake? Drink more water and go for a brisk walk to perk you up. 

Have a Buddy System
Have someone keep you accountable for your habits. It could be your significant other, it could be a family member, friend or coworker, but having a second pair of eyes on those unconscious spending habits can help curb a bad habit. 

The above examples are simple suggestions for making changes in your life, but if you are looking for financial advice that you can pair with your New Year’s resolutions, McHenry Savings Bank is here to help. We have been serving the banking needs of the residents of McHenry County since 1955.  Call us (815) 385-3000 or stop in at any of our locations.


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