During my giveaway for David Bach’s book I asked everyone to enter by telling me what your top financial resolution is for the year. I loved the responses so much, and wanted to share them with you.
My advice: If you are trying to save a certain amount or percentage have it automatically deducted from your account as soon as you get paid. I’m using automation to reach my goal of saving a full month’s expenses this year.
- Alicia said: “My top resolution is to stop spending most of our income and save at least half of everything we make.”
Wow, that is a GREAT goal. I can dream about the day I can do that!
- Daniel said: “My resolution for the year is to continue saving over 40% of my take home pay. It may be tough to be consistent about it, and when I find a new apartment in July, I’ll have to do my research and put in a lot of effort to find a place that doesn’t suck away too much of my money.”
I love that he’s focusing on making his goal happen so diligently. It would be easy to say I’ll just save 30% and so I don’t have to spend time researching apartments. Way to go, Daniel!
- Kim said: “My resolution is to invest at least 20% of my income in the new year.”
Love your goal, Kim!
- Belle said: “My top financial goal is to save at least 15K in my emergency fund. Wish me luck!”
Good luck, Belle!
- Brad said: “My top financial resolution is to finish our fully funded emergency fund which we want to be $15,000. It’s a big one but we plan to up our efforts to raise our income.”
Great goal, Brad! If you hate debt you might want to check out Brad’s site cleverly called, Enemy of Debt.
- Aik said: “My top financial resolution is to save more money for my future traveling expenses. I want to see the world!”
A fantastic goal! I would love to see more of the world, but we’re waiting until the kids are older.
My advice: Use an online service like Mint or Wesabe to track your money. You’ll need about 2 hours to set it up, but once you’re done setting it up you can set it and check back once a week. I love using site’s like these to keep track of all our credit cards, and investment accounts.
- Melissa said: “…my top financial resolution for the year is to actually start keeping track of what i spend. I have a very rough idea of where my money goes, but I bet I’d be shocked at how much goes to eating out and shopping…. Something I need to get a handle on! So, I resolve to start using a tracking program to keep tabs on everything.”
It’s likely there will be a few surprises when you start tracking spending. You can use my method of a No Spend Month or Week to really get a handle on how much you are spending, or take cut back gradually like Ramit Sethi.
- Elizabeth said: “I want to know what I spend and I want to shop around and make sure that I am not paying more than I should for utilities, insurance, food, etc.”
I recommend baby steps. Start with the biggest expense on your list (usually your housing), and go down from there. By slashing our expenses we saved over $17,000 last year.
- Lisa said: “My top goal is to track all of our spending this year… Every last penny!”
I love tracking spending, it can be kind o addictive for a numbers geek like me.
Pay off Debt
My advice: The first step is to put your credit cards down and back away very slowly. Stop adding to your debt and come up with an amount you can use to pay off debt every month. Focus on one debt at a time. If I can do it, so can you.
- Nancy said: “My top resolution this year is to finish paying off cc debt.”
Excellent goal, I’d love to know how she is going to do it. Debt snowball? Earning more? Spending less?
- Jennifer Y said: “Our top financial goal this year is to pay off one of our vehicles. I would also like to beef up our emergency fund!”
Paying off your cars is a great goal-there is nothing like getting that title in your hands! Once the vehicles are paid off you could divert half the money into your emergency fund, and half into a vehicle replacement fund.
- Mrs. Money said: “My top one is to pay off more debt!”
Would love to hear how you plan to pay off debt, and how much you want to pay off this year.
- Shannon said: “My financial resolution is to pay off any debt I have this year besides the mortgage.”
An excellent goal! That’s our stretch goal for this year. Shannon also mentioned a small business she is starting to help earn more to pay off debt. I LOVE that. Shannon, let me know when your business is up and running!
- MoneyFunk said: “Gonna beat my snowball schedule by at least $5K this year.”
Great goal! Now go enter her giveaway for Tim Ferris’ updated 4 hour work week.
My advice: Track you spending and figure out what you want to spend money on (travel, good food, a comfortable house for your family), and mercilessly cut expenses elsewhere. Don’t care about TV, cut the cable. Get creative, almost everyone can find at least a few hundred dollars to cut from their budget.
- RhapsodyDiva said: “My top financial resolution is live below our means and still have fun.”
This is one of my goals, too. We need to make sure we have fun without feeling deprived. I plan to write a blog post on this soon. I have a TON of ideas.
- Kristia said: “My top 2010 financial resolution is to make do, borrow, barter or buy 2nd hand before I buy anything new.”
- Ryan said: “#1 goals: reduce wasteful spending on non-essentials and put together 529 plan for kids.”
I love the goal of spending less to save more!
- Melanie said: “My top resolution is to figure out how to eat more locally and organically for less money! Will probably start with the garden.”
Part of the reason I am doing my 365 days of homecooking challenge is to eat better. With our savings from not eating out I’m planning to put in a garden and spend more on groceries. I’ll be spending more on groceries and food, but overall we’ll be saving money.
- Liz said: “My top financial goal (I hate resolutions) for the year is to improve our budgeting through the use of the multiple bank accounts I now have.”
I put this in the spend less category because I think focuses on small tweaks to your budgeting can help you save more than you’d think!
My advice: Use a list. Never leave home without it, and do NOT buy anything that isn’t on your list. If you know a big expense is coming up like replacing winter coats for the kids, see if it makes sense to shop ahead. For instance winter coats by Land’s End (which last through multiple kids) are 50-60% off right now. $30 for next year’s $70 winter coat is a smart way to spend.
- Dustin said: “My top financial resolution is to buy our next car (a minivan, woo hoo) with cash!”
I LOVE your goal, Dustin! We recently decided be a one car family to avoid taking on more debt.
- @youngandthirfty said: “My top financial resolution is to save up enough money to buy a place next year.”
Awesome! What a fantastic goal.
My advice: These are all great goals that don’t fit into the above categories. Whether you are starting from scratch or are looking at early retirement, use the ideas above (which are personal finance basics) to have a great 2010.
- Karolyn said: “My resolution for 2010, is to take steps to be able to retire early.”
I’d love to know more specifics. Will you be saving more, earning more?
Starting from Scratch:
- Clarabela said: “Getting my finances together is one of my major goals for 2010. I am trying to pay off all my credit cards and build an emergency savings account and could use some good advice.”
This is the year to do it! I’ve never seen so much excitement, something about having social media to hold us accountable, perhaps? Hope you were able to pick up a copy of the free download, if not I have some great books that I’ll be giving away next week. Stay tuned!
Keep On, Keepin’ On
- Matthew said: “My #1 resolution is to be continue my journey on becoming financially free.“
I love that you have found what works for you, and you are committed to sticking with it! I’d love to hear your definition of financially free, Matthew.
- Amanda said: “My husband and I need a financial makeover especially since the recession hit us a little extra hard this past year. Need to try something new as well as try and save (or just recover) more.”
Amanda I have a great product I’ll be sharing soon that I think would be perfect for you. Of course if it’s not a matter of spending smarter, but earning more, I would recommend you watch I Will Teach You To Be Rich over the next few weeks. Ramit is talking about earning more this year, which for many people is the key to getting financially fit.
- Financial Samurai said: “My #1 financial resolution is try to make a million bucks this year.”
Sam, you know where to find me if you want to share. 😉
If you didn’t share I’d still love to know what your #1 financial goal is this year. I told you mine, now you tell me yours.