6 Financial New Year’s Resolutions for 2022 You Can Stick To

Financial Planning Tips

Did 2021 leave you off track with your finances? From unexpected dental bills to car repairs to extra money spent on all those streaming services for binge watching your favorite shows (HBOMax, Netflix and Amazon Prime really were must-haves in 2021!) It’s easy to spend more than you realize.

You’re not alone. According to a recent report from CNBC, between dining out and travel, Americans are spending an average of $765 more a month compared with last year. With all that extra spending, it’s not surprising your financial health may have gotten derailed. The beginning of the year is the perfect time to chart a new course.

Below are 6 Financial New Year’s Resolutions that can help you stay on track in 2022 and bring you one step closer to financial freedom.

Budget, budget, budget

These days, it’s rare that we pull out cash when we’re shopping. Instead, we pull out our debit cards or credit cards for nearly every purchase. But that presents a problem: we are detached from what those purchases actually cost us. We don’t pay as much attention to all those little deductions coming from our checking account or charges to our credit accounts and it’s easy to spend more than we intended. As your financial success rests on having more money coming in your household than going out, having a budget and a method of tracking spending is key.

When you create a budget and start tracking your expenses, you might be in for a surprise. Maybe it’s your need for your daily Starbucks fix or you order take out food more than you realized. Did those chinese egg rolls and pizza really add up to that much last month? Creating a household budget is an important step in getting you on track. From helping you track your income and expenses to quickly seeing if there’s any money left at the end of the month for treating yourself to that trip to the hair salon you’ve been putting off, following a budget will help ensure you are spending your money carefully and thoughtfully. That said, it’s important to do a financial audit of your income and expenses and then budget, budget, budget!

Good to Know: Software Programs like Quicken can be used for tracking income and expenses. There are also plenty of apps that can help with budgeting, including PocketGuard or You Need a Budget.

Set Aside Savings Each Month

From setting aside money each month for an emergency fund for unexpected medical expenses or household repairs to adding to your savings account, you should definitely map out how much money to allocate monthly. You’ll be relieved that you did when you need that emergency root canal!

Paying Yourself First is Key

If you are like most people, paying yourself is typically the last thing on your to-do list. It’s important to pay your future self first, though, or it’s likely you’ll keep putting it off. By committing to a certain amount each month and adding it to your monthly budget, you’ll set yourself on a path to a more secure financial future. And whether you contribute to a 401(k) for your golden years or set aside part of your income in a savings account for your future needs, your future self will thank you for it!

Reap the Financial Benefits of Eating In

Whether you reduce your dining at restaurants or order from the take-out menu budget or you lean into your inner Rachel Ray with more home-cooked meals, the savings can easily add up. With the hundreds of dollars typically spent on eating out and ordering take-out, you can place that money in a savings account to add to your emergency fund and also have more wiggle room in your budget for hobbies, travel, and entertainment.

Scrutinize Your Subscriptions (& Cancel the ones you aren’t using)

Did you sign up for a free 30 day trial and forget to cancel? These days, it’s not just the entertainment streaming subscriptions that are pulling each month from your bank account. We now have to keep track of all sorts of services we subscribe to from cosmetics from Etsy to monthly meal services to streaming music and apps we use on our smartphones. It happens all the time. You tell yourself you’ll cancel the subscription before it renews and before you know it, it’s automatically been deducted from your bank account. Take the time to look at every subscription service you use and eliminate those you can live without.

Pay Down Your Debt

Reducing debt is a really important step to gaining financial freedom and the first step to reducing your debt is coming up with a plan to do it. That may mean you need to cut back on spending and you may need to make some financial sacrifices. While it may not be possible to pay off all your debt at once, minimizing the balance on your credit cards each month will help you have more control over your financial future and thus, more control over your life!