Building Financial Habits that Last
Each January, millions of people select their New Year’s resolutions, such as spending less, paying down debt, and focusing on physical health. Now that we’re in March, many of those same goals may be moving to the back-burner. Without the glitz and glam of New Year’s in the rearview mirror, you may be wondering how to stick to your financial goals this Spring.
In order to build financial habits that last, it’s important to create an effective foundation. Below, we’ve compiled a list of tips that can help you keep those resolutions, while creating health savings and credit habits that will last a lifetime.
Set measurable goals
When it comes to setting goals, the first thing to remember is to keep it realistic and measurable. These parameters will ensure you can measure your goals, stay on track, and ensure you’re making progress. For example, you can resolve to increase your savings by a certain amount by the time you hit the mid-year point, decide to trim your spending in a specific category by a set percentage or promise to pay all your bills on time for the entire year.
Bonus tip: To make it easier, keep those goals SMART:
Creating a budget can take some time and lots of number crunching, but it’s not the real challenge of financial wellness. The hard part comes when you’ve got to actually stick to that budget and make it part of your life. One reason many people don’t end up keeping their budget is because they spend money without consciously thinking. To stick to your financial goals, be mindful about your spending. Before reaching the register, think critically about what and how much you’re purchasing, keeping yourself on track and mindful of your decisions.
Bonus tip: To make this process easier, find a financial tool that works for you. Community Financial members have access to My $ Manager, a free financial wellness tool that allows you to track your finances, set savings goals, pay down debt, create budgets, and more. My $ Manager is available within eBanking and the Mobile App.
Partner up with a friend
It’s basic psychology: When we know we have to answer to someone else, we’re more likely to stick to our goals — and this works for financial habits as well. Choose a friend who is in a similar financial bracket as you are and has a comparable relationship with money. Also, it helps if they have similar resolve to set and stick to those financial resolutions together. Set up a weekly time to review progress (or regression) you each have made, and make sure you both come prepared with details and proof to show how you’ve handled your money.
Write it down
In an era where some people can go without touching a pen and paper for days, writing down your financial goals can seem obsolete, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t happen. The act of putting your financial resolutions into writing will help to imprint them on your memory. Plus, you can change, edit, or add goals whenever you want!
Bonus tip: Writing doesn’t need to be physical in order to count. In My $ Manager, you can set and track your goals all in one place, making it easier to keep focused.
Sticking to your financial resolutions isn’t easy, no matter what time of year it is. Our Community Financial Sales Representatives are here to help you select, plan, and reach your goals in stride. Visit cfcu.org/contact or call (877) 937-2328 to speak to a representative and get started today!
Your Turn: What are some of your healthy financial habits? Share your favorites with us in the comments!
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