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Penny’s money formula for successful New Year’s resolutions

Have you ever started the year strong with New Year’s resolutions, only to flip-flop a few weeks later? Yup. You’re not alone. 

MONEY falls into the Top 3 most common New Year resolutions (following health + self improvement) – and it’s one of the “most failed” too! But, guess what? There’s a way to break this cycle of broken promises. 

Today, we show you how to set up your 2022 money goals, and give you a checklist of what to look out for to help you stay on track.

So, if you’ve dreaded financial resolutions, or struggled with how to budget money things – keep reading. You’re in for a New Year’s treat! 

👀: 6min read

How to budget money

📸: Pinterest

(PS. For the record: “on track” to us = you can make more money, clear debt, and reach your full financial potential in 2022. That’s why we’re here!)

How to set up your New Year’s Resolutions in 5 easy steps

Before we start, we want to emphasize: You Are Not Alone

Most people suck at keeping their New Year promises. 

And there’s enough studies out there to prove it:

  • About 70% of people plan to make New Year resolutions (vs. not at all), and this number tapers off the older we get. (People.com)
  • Out of those people, approximately 80% drop their resolution goals by JANUARY 19th!!! (Inc.com)
  • At the end of the year, “completers” make up a measly 8% of achievers. (Forbes, University of Scranton study)

Ok, only 8% from 70%??? That is NOT a good statistic.

How can you rise above that 8% success rate?

You need a realistic New Year’s resolution plan. 

There are many variables that determine the success of keeping and achieving New Year’s resolutions (age, demographic, place of residence, gender, etc.). But, they all have a handful of things in common. 

So, we compiled the big takeaways from our research, plus a good ol’ dose of personal experience from the Penny Finance team – and created an easy, 5-step action plan just for you.

Step 1: Get specific

Realize that a resolution is just a statement.

Say your goal is, “I will save more this year.” 

Okay, great! Now dive into the details:

  • What’s more? How much more? 
  • This year when? In 6 months? In 12 months? 
  • What for? Vacation? Home? Birthday shopping spree? 

If you want to save money, that’s a great start. But you need more than that to determine how to get where you want to be. A better version of “I’ll save more” can be:

“By the end of this year I will save $1,000 to build my emergency savings.”

Step 2: Gameplan

Action is how you achieve. Action is how you go beyond that 8% success rate. 

Once you have your New Year’s resolution, think: How am I going to accomplish this goal? 

Start big, get small. 

If your goal is to save $1k in 1 year, break it down to tiny, bite-sized pieces. 

For example: 

“I will set aside $83 per month to reach my $1k goal by the end of the year.”

If saving $83/month doesn’t feel doable for you right now, adjust your goal. 

How much can you save? It’s okay if your numbers need to be lower. What matters is that you take action. Keep it real. Those baby steps add up.

Step 3: Nurture your nature

Honor where you’re at. This is especially important if saving money isn’t something you’re used to.

Be radically honest with yourself: 

  • Is it in your nature to do everything you wrote above? 
  • Will you remember to set aside that $83?
  • What actions or habits can you take to set yourself up for success?

Maybe this means setting up a reminder or auto-transfer to move the money auto-magically.

Or creating a savings account that you’re not gonna touch, no-matter-what. 

Make it as easy and effortless as possible for you to take action.

Step 4: Hold yourself accountable

Set a reminder to check in on your progress halfway through the year (or more).

  • Are you on track with your money goals? 
  • Does anything need shifting? 
  • Would an accountability buddy help?

Having a digital financial advisor like Penny is especially helpful, because she helps you stay on track. She’s like your personal trainer, for money moves. ;)

Step 5: Trust the process

Be gentle with yourself when you fall off. You can ALWAYS get back on.

Old habits are hard to break because they’re literally hard-wired into your mind and body. If you forgot to transfer money that month (or for several months), don’t beat yourself up. Set up that auto-transfer, or add reminders to your calendar. 

Take a deep breath. And try again. 

Trust that in time, you’ll build new money habits – and a hefty sum with it.

Not sure where to start? Here’s your 2022 Money Goals Checklist

Here’s a list to help you make 2022 your best money-making year yet!

1. Update your mini budget 

  • What are the big numbers you’re working with? 
  • How much do you need for home, health/insurance, transportation, etc.? 
  • What about general/fun stuff costs, like eating out and shopping? 

Not familiar with our mini-budget method? Here’s a crash course.

Don’t try to budget out every line item. Most never stick with it, because traditional budgeting doesn’t make sense. Know your big numbers. Play within them.

2. Check your spending

  • How are your money habits? 
  • Are you living within your means and making enough to support your lifestyle?
  • Are you spending in areas you genuinely care about?

3. Check your loans

  • What are you paying monthly? 
  • How much longer until they’re gone?
  • Are you happy with that? Is there anything you’d like to adjust (pay more, pay less)?

4. Check your credit cards

  • Are you paying the statement balance in full every month? (gotta avoid those pesky interest charges!!!)
  • If you’re working towards paying them off, how’s your payoff plan?
  • How many credit cards do you own? Can you consolidate them? 
  • Do you get benefits, like travel rewards or cash back? 
  • Have you updated your income on the credit card portals?

Your credit score is another great way to gauge your financial health. You can get a free copy of your credit report at USA.gov (everyone can get this 1x/yr!) OR by logging into your actual credit card site.

5. Check your savings

  • Is your emergency fund set up? 
  • Have you met your emergency fund money goals?
  • If not, how much can you set aside each month to reach that goal in a time frame that feels good to you?

6. Check your nest egg (aka your retirements accounts)

  • Did you contribute as much as you could into your 401k/IRA?
  • If not, what adjustments can you make to reach your goal this year? 
  • If you switched employers, have you set up your new 401k/IRA and transferred your old one?
  • Have you invested from your 401k/IRA? 
  • Are they returning at least 7%?
  • What investment adjustments should be made now that you’re a year older?

We meant what we said in the beginning of this post: 

Our goal is to empower all women to embrace the fierce financial girl-boss within. 

We’re here so you can reach full financial freedom, with your own wallet, on your own terms. 

Are you ready to make real money moves in 2022? 

Join the Penny Finance community today for only $10/month.

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