It’s January 4th. You’ve probably considered your New Year’s resolutions by now — and you may have even embarked on a few of the long-term goals you’ve set for yourself, too. But then again, there are plenty of us who firmly believe in never starting anything new unless it’s a Monday! So, starting Monday, January 7th, you’re going to make a new money resolution for 2013 and get started on it right away.
Not sure what kind of financial resolution to make? No fear. We turned to some of our favorite personal finance experts to get a few ideas.
Kristl Story, The Budget Diet
Do the math…if you cut your spending by just $11 a day, you’ll save just over $4000 a year. How’s that for a New Year’s resolution! Get started today by eliminated those little expenses that really add up. Here are a couple of examples: Don’t do the drive-thru for breakfast…SAVE $5 per day, $1865 per year. Brown bag it to work…SAVE $6 per day, $2190 per year.
Ashley Jacobs, Wise Bread
A fantastic budget-friendly resolution for 2013 is to implement one, new money-saving strategy each month. For example, if you don’t compare prices before making purchases, implement that strategy in January or if you don’t use coupons, make it a point to start using coupons in February. By the end of the year, you will be using 12 new money saving strategies that will make your budget healthier!
Jeffrey Trull, Money Spruce
To help yourself better budget in 2013, give technology a try. I was an inconsistent budgeter until I started using an online budgeting service and also installed its app on my iPhone. I think an option like this makes budgeting simpler, more automatic and encourages more people to stick with it.
J Money, Budgets Are Sexy
The best thing anyone can do before they jump on the New Year’s Budget Train this season is to put on the brakes and keep it SIMPLE. While all the passion and motivation is great out the gate, it’s best to take a step back first and start *tracking* everything for at least one month. You can do it with a spreadsheet, with online software, or simply with a pencil and paper (remember those?). If you can identify where all your money is coming and going FIRST it’ll all sink in faster and you’ll learn a lot more about your habits than creating a budget blindly and upsetting yourself after week two. You’ll be amazed at how fast you start curbing expenses before then anyways now that you’re holding yourself accountable. Once you’ve tracked it for a while, and only then, is it smart to give that first budget a try and start working yourself up from there. This should be exciting news for you because it means all you have to do in January is track your money! How hard can that be?
Philip Taylor, PT Money
One of the best things people can do for their budget in the New Year is to include their savings goals as their first and most important budget item. Your budget should begin with “expenses” towards your retirement, education, health, and short-term savings funds. If you pay yourself first, then you’ll be free to spend the rest however you please.