It’s that time of year again, and as 2016 kicks off you are likely considering your new year’s resolutions. According to www.statisticbrain.com, the top three 2015 resolutions were as follows:
- Lose Weight
- Get Organized
- Spend Less, Save More
Getting rid of debt, making a budget, and figuring how to save more are often financial New Year’s resolutions that individuals and families have to get financially healthy.
Here are five of my ideas that can help you get on track in 2016:
- Do A Budget Cleanse- It takes twenty one days to develop a habit, so spend fifteen minutes every day working on one line item in your family budget to see if you can save money. An easy one to take care of is to analyze your year-end credit card statements and cancel one recurring charge for a service you didn’t use in 2015.
- Pay Off At Least One Debt- Debt is just as emotionally traumatizing as the actual black and white about how it affects your family finances. Your first step is to see if you can do a zero balance credit card transfer in the New Year. Check out Discover, Chase, and Citi as three options for zero balance transfer. Start with your highest interest credit card rate first and pay it off as quickly as possible.
- Increase Your Savings By 5%- If you saved $500 a month last year in your 401(K), just try to move it to $525. Part of the key of getting wealthy is less about rate of return and more about becoming an avid saver. If you had a financial holiday hangover, consider starting to save $20 a week up front now so you don’t have the same issue in 2016.
- Decrease Your Food And Entertainment Expenses- Food was one of the biggest line items that increased in family budgets in 2015. Consider going to the grocery store once per week instead of three to four times per week. You should consider bringing lunch once or twice per week instead of going out for lunch. The average person is spending almost $10 per meal for lunch alone.
- Start A Change Jar- This is a great exercise to get your whole family into saving for 2016. Get a small or large change jar and set a goal for how much you want to save as a family for something special. This could be a trip, a new television, or a special event for the family. Get everyone in the house to focus in on putting all of their change every day in the jar.
The New Year is one of the best times to get your financial house in order! Good luck and get the habits in place the first twenty one days of the year.
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Ted Jenkin is a frequent guest columnist for the Wall Street Journal and Headline News Weekend Express. He is the co-CEO of oXYGen Financial. You can follow him on LinkedIn @ www.linkedin.com/in/theceoadvisor or on Twitter @tedjenkin.