For many people, the beginning of a new year means the beginning of a new version of themselves. New Year's Resolutions are a way to set goals, learn more, and work towards a life in line with one's own expectations.
Whether you've decided to commit to a healthier lifestyle, go back to school, or travel the world, when these resolutions are realistic, measurable and specific, I find they're easier to track and stick to.
After reflecting on my current financial situation and idealizing where I'd like to be financially by the end of 2017, I created 4 financial-themed resolutions with the hope of better understanding my finances and making better money decisions this year.
This year, I'm aiming to:
1. Keep my credit card bill under $300 per month all year
In 2016, I hesitated to check my credit card bill every month because I knew that seeing all my expenses piled up would cause me to stress out. This year, I want to avoid the stress by setting a limit to how much I'll allow myself to use my credit card monthly, based on my past experience, income and budget. I plan to achieve this by saving my credit card for emergencies, transportation or unavoidable online purchases where they only take payment by credit card.
2. Learn one new thing about personal finances every month
Having recently graduated from university, I'm on a journey to better understand my finances. I want to learn about investing, budgeting, and spending, and ultimately gain one new perspective per month on how to manage my finances and make smart decisions with my money. Reading articles and books about finances are two ways I plan to gain my 12 pieces of knowledge.
3. Increase my student loan payment from $300 to $500 per month by August
As I mentioned, I recently graduated. I've been making only the minimum payments on my student loans. At this rate, it'll take me around 12 years to pay off my loans, which makes me feel trapped. I know I'll pay off my loans eventually, but sooner is better. I plan to continue my job hunt to gain stable employment, which will then help me increase my monthly payment. I've set August as a manageable deadline.
4. Be able to afford a car by December
One of the biggest goals I had in 2016 was to be able to afford a reliable vehicle upon graduation, including being able to pay for gas and insurance. I've been taking the bus for the last 5 years, which has been great for my wallet, but hard on me. Ideally, I plan to have one stable job and some freelance work by the end of the year, so I can aim to achieve my goal and purchase a car.
Make your own resolutions
Try setting 2-3 realistic financial resolutions of your own for 2017 based on your financial situation. Setting deadlines or using a "per month" system like I have can help make your resolutions as specific and measurable as possible, so it's easier to track your progress in shorter time frames.