Did you procrastinate or abandon your 2023 New Year resolutions? Well, you are not alone. By February, the enthusiasm is usually gone, and people return to their old habits. An astonishing 80% of new year resolutions fail by February.
A combination of different things can cause your money resolutions to fail. But mostly, it's because you set over-ambitious goals you didn’t specify, or you made one mistake and decided to jump ship.
But don't give up yet. With all the January pressure and stress to get your finances and life in order now gone, it's the perfect time to reset your money resolutions.
This article will cover 20 money moves you can make to restart your failed 2023 resolutions.
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Without a budget, you will struggle to achieve any financial goal you set for yourself. A budget is a plan you create to balance your income and expenses to ensure you know where your money is going. It will help you track your spending, control your finances, and save money.
Creating a budget is usually easy, but where most people struggle is sticking to one. Changing your money habits and taking control of your spending won't happen overnight. For your plan to work and ensure you don't lose steam along the way, you need to try a different approach this February.
First, start by creating a system that works for you. The 50/30/20 budget rule is ideal for beginners. Second, track your spending daily. It can be tricky, but unless you know where your money is going, you won't be able to cut expenses. Finally, set small realistic goals you can easily smash to gain confidence and momentum. For example, commit to saving 5-10% of your income for the first two months.
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Financial goals are defined plans you set on how you are going to make, spend, save, and invest your money. Your financial goals are designed to help you meet your current and future objectives, and the ultimate goal is to achieve financial freedom. To reach that point, you need to learn how to set S.M.A.R.T goals, I.e., Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound.
Financial goals are divided into three categories depending on their timeframes;
Short-term goals: These are objectives you want to achieve within a year. They include saving for a big purchase, creating an emergency fund, saving for a holiday, etc.
Medium-term goals: These are objectives you want to accomplish within two to five years. They include saving for a home down payment, buying a car, planning a wedding, starting a business, etc.
Long-Term Goals: These objectives take more than five years to plan and accomplish. They include buying a house in cash, saving and investing for a child's education and retirement, and paying off huge debts like mortgages.
To achieve your goals, ensure that you track them and prioritise them according to your needs and aspirations.
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Did you struggle to meet your savings goal in January? Then you need to adopt new strategies that can help you save more.
To save more money, you first need to know what's stopping you from meeting your savings goal. If it is because of your spending, you need to consider your budget and cut off some expenses. This will leave you with extra money to save.
Next, consider opening a lock-saving account and automating your savings. This creates a boundary between you and your savings, forcing you to stick to your budget and avoid overspending or impulse shopping.
Finally, sign up for reward programs from supermarkets and online stores. You can accumulate loyalty points to get things at a discount, especially towards the end of the month. This ensures you spend less money on everyday purchases leaving you with extra to save.
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Increasing your income can provide you with the money you need to reach your savings goals and pay the ever-increasing monthly expenses as the cost keeps rising.
There are multiple ways you can increase your income. Some strategies you can try include:
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Paying yourself first is the equivalent of self-love in the financial world. Show yourself the love you deserve by directing a portion of your income to your savings account before making other plans with your money. For example, immediately after you receive your payslip, take 10% out and budget using the remaining 90%.
Paying yourself first is the best money-saving technique that ensures you put your needs first. You can live below your means, save towards your goals, and create a cushion for financial emergencies.
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Financial emergencies are unpredictable, and the best way to keep yourself prepared for them is by having a financial backup. An emergency or rainy day fund is money you set aside as an unforeseeable expense. You can fall back on it anytime you have an unexpected bill or lose your income.
Having an emergency fund prevents you from using your savings, selling your assets, or going into debt whenever you have a financial fix. It is the best way to preserve your wealth and avoid financial instability.
Consider saving enough money to cover three to six months of your living expenses. You should also keep the money in liquid and easily accessible accounts. You don't need a lump sum to get started. You can build your emergency fund over 12 months. But first, ensure you can quantify how much you need per month.
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Paying your bills on time is crucial to ensure you stay on track to achieve your financial resolutions. The biggest benefit of paying your bills on time is that you can stick to your budget and manage your spending well. This is because when you delay your bills, you will get a sense that you have extra money, and you might end up overspending.
When you spend money meant to pay bills, you will find yourself in an uncomfortable predicament affecting your financial resolutions. You will have to borrow money from your savings when the bill is finally due, or worse, you might have to take a short-term debt to settle it. Both these practices can kill your morale, forcing you to abandon your resolutions.
Paying bills on time can prevent you from incurring unnecessary penalties, and it gives you peace of mind.
A no-spend challenge is perfect for getting your finances in shape and resuming all your 2023 resolutions. It is ideal for you if you overspent or failed to meet your targets in January. The challenge is simple; you will only spend money on necessities in the whole month of February.
When doing a no-spend challenge, you will only spend money on essentials like food, transport and housing. You will avoid expenses such as entertainment, eating out, buying new gadgets, or staying over the weekend. A no-spend challenge will help you curb bad spending habits and put extra money in your account.
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A money-saving challenge is a fun and motivating way to save money. Don't beat yourself up if you got carried away in January and failed to start your 52-week saving challenge. You can still catch up or start and do it at your pace.
The money-saving challenge is meant to help develop a strong saving culture. Therefore, to ensure that you stay on track and never lose momentum try new tricks such as depositing your money in a lock saving account and automating your savings. You will not have to worry about missing savings or withdrawing money at any inconvenience.
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These are loans you take for personal use whenever you are in a fix or need to buy something you can't afford. Some of the most common consumer loans in Kenya are digital loans, auto loans, and buy now, pay later loans. While these loans can help you address your immediate needs, they can be counterproductive when trying to achieve your financial goals.
First, they are expensive and have unfriendly terms. You will pay high-interest rates, and if you delay payment, you risk getting listed on CRB and affecting your creditworthiness. Second, they can lead to a debt trap that will prevent you from saving and meeting your other goals.
To avoid consumer loans, consider building an emergency fund, planning your purchases, prioritising long-term goals over immediate gratifications and sticking to your budget.
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If part of your 2023 money resolutions is reducing your debt, you need to create a strategy for how you will repay your loans. You will struggle to lower your debt burden and accomplish your other goals without a repayment plan.
The three primary debt repayment strategies you should consider are:
Debt Consolidation: This strategy involves combining all your debts. You can take out one loan to pay off all your existing loans. This way, you will only have one loan to repay. It is suitable for people at risk of defaulting.
Debt Snowball: In this strategy, you will prioritise the smallest debt. You will start by paying them off while making the minimum payment on your other loans. It is suitable for anyone looking for motivation to pay off debt.
Debt Avalanche: In this plan, you will prioritise debts with the highest interest rates while paying minimum payments on other loans. It's suitable for you if some have expensive debts and want to save on interest payments in the long run.
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One of the best ways to track where your money is going and bring some order to how you spend and manage money is to start planning your purchases. It is the best way to curb impulse spending, avoid debt, and stick to a budget.
While planning for big purchases like a washing machine or fridge is easy, it is the Ksh500 or Ksh1,000 unplanned spending that hurts your finances.
Planning your purchases, even the smallest ones, ensures you have to spend money on things you don't need or regret later. It will also help you develop smart shopping techniques like carrying a list. These incremental changes can help you develop the good spending habits you need to accomplish your resolutions and long-term goals.
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You won’t be able to avoid the pitfall preventing you from reaching your financial goals if you don't know where they are. Equipping yourself with personal finance knowledge will help you avoid mistakes and ensure you get the best out of your money.
Wherever your resolutions are this year, you can only accomplish them by knowing how to achieve them best. If your goal is investing more, you need to know where and how to invest. You need to understand all the risks and ensure you make the best decisions.
To keep yourself financially educated, start getting financial education from reputable sources, reading financial literature, and talking to a licenced financial advisor.
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Automating your finances is a smart way of reducing the burden of managing your finances. One of the reasons new year's resolutions fail is that people tend to postpone (and then forget) those repetitive tasks that take time. After some time, they'll be too behind and unable to catch up.
Automation can help you streamline everything from paying bills, savings, debt repayment, and budgeting. This will ensure you save time, keep your money organised, and stay on track to achieve your goals. Additionally, it allows you to embrace all personal finance best practices, like paying yourself first and paying bills on time.
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The world and the future are unpredictable. You need to invest in insurance to protect yourself from unforeseeable events that might hurt your pockets. Today, you can get insurance for anything you can think of. However, you should only buy the ones that protect you and your properties.
Some vital insurance you consider is Health insurance, income protection and disability insurance, auto insurance, homeowners/renters insurance, and travel insurance when you are on the road.
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Investing is risky, but it is essential for anyone looking to grow their money.
If you are just getting started with investing, ensure that you do thorough research. This will ensure you minimise the chances of losing your money. Second, know your risk tolerance and investment goals. Those two concepts will inform your decisions on which vehicles to choose from and how to diversify your portfolio.
Finally, remember to be on the lookout for get-rich-quick schemes that promise too good to be true returns. Investing requires patience. Therefore, ensure that you control your greed to avoid temptations that can lead to significant losses.
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To be self-dependent in your golden years, you need to start planning for retirement when you are still young.
Retirement planning is a crucial part of financial planning and benefits those who start early. This is because you can take advantage of compounded earnings and ensure your money grows.
There are multiple retirement funds you can choose from in Kenya. The biggest one is NSSF which allows you to contribute as little as Ksh200 to your pension plan monthly. Apart from NSSF, you can invest in other registered schemes offered by the Retirement Benefits Authority licensed institutions.
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Valentine's day is around the corner, so it's the perfect time to have your annual conversation with your partner. Money plays a significant role in relationships and is one of the major causes of conflict. Therefore, regular talks about your finances can help you avoid disputes and align your goals.
Some topics you can cover as you bond over this complicated topic include:
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An accountability partner is someone who can motivate and encourage you to chase your financial goals. They will also criticise you and help you break bad money habits. You can also go to your accountability partner whenever you are at a crossroads or need a second opinion.
Accountability partners are essential if you need help accomplishing your new year's resolutions. They might be missing the piece in your puzzle. You are more likely to stick to your goals and realise your resolutions when you have someone to report to.
When looking for an accountability partner, consider someone with the same goals as you. Ideally, they should also be looking for the same, i.e., someone to hold them accountable. Ensure you pick someone you can trust with your personal information.
If you can find an accountability partner, consider getting a financial coach or a mentor. They can help you achieve the same thing but in a more professional setting.
While your partner can help you, don’t forget that personal accountability is the key to financial success.
Fear, like any other emotion, can hold you back and prevent you from accomplishing your goals. It will keep you in a comfort zone and stop you from taking risks. Some of your biggest fears include losing your income, savings, and assets, providing for your dependents, or going into debt.
While all those fears are justified, you need not dwell on them. To prosper financially, you need to face your fears and find a way to deal with them. For example, if you fear losing your income or failing to provide for your family, you need to consider ways to protect yourself from loss of income.
To overcome any money fear you have, you need to take action. Start by writing down all the fears you have and explore ways to deal with each of them.
If you get anxious or depressed about money, you should consider seeing a mental health expert.
Read Also: 10 Common Money Fears and How to Overcome Them - Money Psychology
Accomplishing financial resolutions requires commitment, time and effort. Along the way, you will run into roadblocks, and you might feel like giving up, but you will need to push through. Sometimes it might feel like you are behind, and you won’t be able to catch up. That might lead to a wrong “all or nothing” mentality that is self-destructive.
Remember that it is better to accomplish half than zero items on your resolution list. If you break one of your resolutions, consider it an innocent mistake and get yourself up. For example, if you didn’t stick to a budget in one week, find ways to recover by cutting spending significantly the next week instead of letting the whole month go to waste.
Good luck as you restart your 2023 resolutions.