I'm mapping out my financial New Year's resolutions now by researching different strategies for saving more money and getting ahead. Last year, I felt like my personal finance goals were kind of weak. In fact, I found an old napkin that outlined my financial goals from last year. I noticed that I failed reaching all of my goals. This year, I'm taking the time to come up with more doable New Year's resolutions to improve my finances.
It helped me to read an article by U. S. News and World Report that gave me tips on 50 ways to improve my finances. I should have read the guide last year.
Focusing on the why
My first mistake last year was to just set financial goals without thinking about why I wanted to reach the goals. According to the article, research has shown people are more successful when they think about the motivation behind a goal rather than how they will achieve it. Last year I made a goal to save $5,000 for retirement. This year I set a goal to save $5,000 for retirement so I can retire early and be able to spend more time taking care of my relatives.
Getting more organized
Last year I set a goal to get completely out of debt. Unfortunately, I didn't realize how much debt I had because I was lacking an organization system. I have already started organizing my important records and bills with plastic expandable folder files. After identifying all of our bills, I could rank the bills with the highest interest rate to the ones with the lowest interest rate.
Communicating with my spouse
I failed some of my financial goals last year simply because I was not on the same page as my husband. I assumed he would want to use his work bonus to pay down the mortgage. I didn't know he would be spending money on airline tickets and hotels for several trips. This year, we agreed to coordinate our efforts. We set a few shared long-term goals as well as New Year's resolutions related to our money such as refinancing to a lower interest rate in about 9 months.
Reducing our utility bills
My husband and I are often startled by our summer electric bill due to the heat in Florida. We are making an effort to save more money year-round by closing doors, unplugging appliances and conserving water. We are looking into having our windows tinted to reduce our cooling costs.
In addition to saving money with our conservation efforts and frugal habits, I'm also searching for new ways to earn money and invest in stocks that pay dividends. My husband and I are committed to the DIY lifestyle even though we aren't naturally handy. By this time next year, I hope to have saved an extra $10,000 compared to the prior year. And, I hope I will be on the path to reaching more of my goals than the ones from last year that I have listed on a crumpled-up napkin.
*Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Do you have a personal finance story that you'd like to share? Sign up with the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own finance articles.
More from this contributor:
- Banking & Budgeting