finance

Vowed to cut your spending? Here's how to actually stick to your New Year's resolution.

So it’s a new year and you have told the universe that this is going to be your year where you get serious about saving money.

This is the year you are finally going to get into your new house, take that holiday or pay off that credit card debt that has crept up. This is the year you are going to become a financial grown up.

Then New Year’s Day rocks around and, if you are anything like me, you probably have a little bit of a champagne headache and are feeling slightly less enthused about your goal.

Then you head back to work and get busy with life and before you know its February and you’ve forgotten all about your plan to save more.

Sound familiar?

This is a very common story because University of Scranton research suggest that only eight per cent of people achieve their New Year’s resolution.

The good news is there are some steps you can take to make it easier to stick to your money resolutions:

Set a goal that you actually care about.

Often the reason we fail at sticking to a goal is that we are saving for something that’s not really important to us.

Let’s say you are saving for a house. But you just can’t seem to stick to your budget. It could be because you don’t really want a house as you don’t really value security.

Instead, you might be saving for a house because you think it’s the right thing to do because your mum and dad or society expect of you.

But maybe you would find it easier to save if it was for a holiday as you really value freedom or adventure.

It’s easier to say no to that new pair of shoes (or whatever your savings kryptonite is) if you are saving for something that is important to you.

So before you start your budget ensure what you are saving for is something you really value.

Write your goal down.

If you want to increase your chance at achieving your goals then Dr Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at the Dominican University in California, tells us by just writing them down you are 42 per cent more likely to achieve and this further increases if you share it with someone else.

So if you are serious about your goal why not jump into our free community The Savings Squad and let us know what you are working towards as just by doing this you nearly double your chances of achieving it.

Being reminded of your goal regularly will also help to keep you focused after the initial motivation/excitement has occurred. So consider:

• Having a photo of your goal as your phone or computer screen saver
• Incorporating it into your password eg “Newyork2019!”
• Stick a Post-it note on your bathroom mirror

Have an accountability buddy.

Have you ever found it easier to exercise when you are in a team or group setting but you just can’t seem to drag yourself to the gym?

If you answered yes then it could be because like many of us you are an “obliger”. This is where we can meet other people’s expectations (we don’t want to let them down) but struggle to meet expectations we impose on ourselves.

ADVERTISEMENT

For instance, as an obliger even if you really want to get fit and that aligns with your values you will often find a good reason not to go the gym (working late etc) but if you were in a team sport then rarely (if ever) would you not show up as you wouldn’t want to let the team down.

If you are an obliger like me then having an accountability buddy can help keep you on track.

Unfortunately, informal accountability buddies can sometimes be unreliable. If that buddy loses interest, gets distracted, or doesn’t want to play the enforcer then your progress can stall.

Because it can be tough to find a reliable accountability buddy among friends and family, obligers may do better with a professional coach to assist with setting concrete goals, establishing deadlines, and providing feedback on progress.

For instance, if you are trying to get fit you might engage a personal trainer or if you are trying to save more you could engage a financial adviser.

Allow for fun.

Most budgets fail as they don’t allow enough for fun.

Having a budget that doesn’t allow for enough fun is a bit like being on a 1200 calorie diet – that might be ok for a little while but long term that’s not sustainable and not realistic.

So when establishing your budget (or as I like to call it a Spending Plan) ensure you have allocated enough money for things like holidays or entertainment otherwise just like a restrictive diet you could have a blowout and undo all your hard work.

I find a great way to ensure we don’t overindulge on fun spending is to have separate bank accounts for our fun/more discretionary spending.

Can you boost your income?

We often get caught up with trying to reduce our expenses to increase our savings but have you ever looked at the other side of your budget and tried to increase your income?

These are just a few of the ways you could generate more income:

Best wishes for an amazing year ahead. May all your savings goals come true and most importantly remember to strive for progress not perfection with your savings. You got this!

Adele Martin is a certified financial planner and money mentor. She helps people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s with the education, tools, and support they need to enjoy financial success. You can find out more about Adele on her website or join the Savings Squad.

The information (including taxation) provided in this blog is general in nature and does not consider your individual circumstances or needs. Do not act until you seek professional advice and consider the Product Disclosure Statement. The author, Adele Martin, is a Certified Financial Planner at Firefly Wealth which is an Authorised Representative of RI Advice Group ABN 23 001 774 125 AFSL 238429. The views expressed in the blog are solely those of the author, they are not reflective or indicative of RI licensees’ position and are not attributed to the RI Advice Group. They cannot be reproduced in any form without the written consent of the author.

Light blue and pink butterfly illustration. You click, we help. Shooting star illustration.

Mamamia is funding 100 girls in school, every day.

So just by spending time with Mamamia, you’re helping educate girls, which is the best tool to lift them out of poverty.

Thanks for helping!

Light blue and pink butterfly illustration. Girl with pigtails sitting at desk writing in notebook. Row of four books.
Three hands holding books
00:00 / ???