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12 Realistic Financial Resolutions

Piggy bank and stacks of coins sitting next to a man as he types on his laptop.

A new year brings the opportunity for fresh starts, resolutions, and trying new things. When it comes to financial health, there are a few New Year’s resolutions you should consider setting to make your financial health a priority. At Landmark National Bank, we’re here to help with tips for saving money in the new year.

Create a “Why” and Revisit it Often

One of the easiest first steps you can take in saving is determining why you want, or need, to reorganize your funds. Whether you’re preparing to buy your first home or building an emergency fund, having a clear purpose can help drive your efforts to an end goal.

Your reason for saving doesn’t have to be final. Taking a job out of state? Keep working toward saving a house, or shift your efforts to paying off student loans in the meantime. If you achieve your goal for an emergency fund, create a new goal that fits your current situation and work to meet that one next. Revisiting your “Why” can get you back on track if you slip up or start to waver.

Open a Savings Account

Savings accounts are a great way to put away money and earn interest without putting in any work. These accounts typically have a required opening balance and minimum balance but give you the ability to earn interest based on the type of account you have. Landmark National Bank offers a variety of personal savings account options, including an account designed just for young savers!

Create a Monthly Budget and Stick to It

The idea of making a budget can seem intimidating, so don’t be afraid to start small. There are many ways to create a budget, this means you’ll be able to choose one that works best for your needs. A couple of popular budgeting methods include the 50/30/20 method and a zero-based budget approach.

The 50/30/20 splits your income into three categories with 50% going to living expenses such as rent, utilities, and food, 20% to savings, and 30% to spend as you decide. You can even do this by hand by separating cash into envelopes so when you’ve spent one, you’re not able to dip into other accounts.

A zero-based budget approach requires you to know where every dollar goes. This type of budget is best for someone who has a set income each month and has experience budgeting, as it does take some extra work and digging.

With Landmark’s online banking, you can also categorize your transactions, and then generate a chart that shows you how much money you are spending by category every month.

Look for Ways to Boost Your Income

If there’s no wiggle room in your budget to save more than you are now, your best option may be looking into additional sources of income. This may include a second job, picking up more responsibilities at work, or freelancing with the skills you already possess.

Part-time jobs can also come with extra perks. Working the front desk at a gym may earn you a free membership, and a few hours a week at your local grocery store typically earns you a discount you can use for food and essentials.

If you have knowledge and experience in a creative field, advertise your services on freelance sites such as Upwork and Fiverr and pick up projects when you have the capacity to do so.

Meet with a Financial Advisor

Financial advisors can help you plan for life’s biggest events to make sure you’re making the best financial moves. Even though you may not think you need a financial advisor, it’s not always a good idea to wait it out until you need someone knowledgeable to seek it out.

A financial advisor can also help develop a strategy for upcoming events such as starting a family, buying a home, or planning for retirement. Depending on the one you choose, your advisor may even act as sounding boards to help you confidently take control of decision-making.

Review Your Subscriptions

Subscriptions and memberships can add up quickly and easily get out of hand if you’re not paying close attention to when they renew. Between streaming services, magazines, and shopping subscriptions, you may be spending a lot more than you realize. Take time to total up all the services you have and review them individually to see if you’re using it enough to justify the monthly expense.

There are even apps such as TrueBill that will find these for you so you can decide what to cut and what to keep. Instead of a cooking magazine that you may not use every month, look around for free recipes online or wait until your favorite dish is featured to pick up a copy. Some publications even offer digital versions of their work for a lower price if you still want to access the information in a different format.

Pay off Your Debt

A survey conducted by Inside 1031 found 55% of people have credit card debt that they carry from month to month. In addition, 40% of people haven’t been debt free since 2018. Whether the debt comes from irresponsible spending habits or an emergency expense, leaving it to grow and rack up interest will only cause problems in the long run. If you have credit card debt, make it a goal to pay it off.

There are many approaches you can take to paying off your debt, but two of the most common include paying off the largest debt first (the avalanche method) or paying off the smallest amount first and working up (the snowball method.)

Once your debt is paid off, you’ll have more freedom in your budget and can work toward building up savings and creating an emergency fund for the future.

Be Energy Efficient

Utility bills fluctuate throughout the year depending on your location and your preferences on heating, cooling, and appliances. While it brings an upfront cost, consider switching to energy-efficient appliances, using LED light bulbs, and buying rechargeable batteries.

These items last longer than their non energy-efficient counterparts and will save on electricity bills in the long run. In addition, unplug electronics if you’ll be gone for a long weekend and turn off lights and TVs when you’re not using them. If large windows and sunlight bring up the temperature of your home in the summer, opt for blackout curtains that not only keep out the bright rays but the heat as well.

Maximize Credit Card Rewards

Credit cards can seem intimidating when it comes to paying off debt, but they’re one of the best ways to build and improve your credit score if you can manage and pay them off on a regular basis. If you’re going to be using credit cards, choose one that offers cash back when you do. Explore your credit card options with Landmark National Bank.

Prioritize Cooking from Home

While running through a drive-thru on your way home from work may seem like it saves time, the money you pay for convenience will really add up. Cooking at home can be fun, and easy, with the help of a delivery service.

These kits can be customized based on diet preferences and have a new menu you can pick from each week. You’ll also save time when it comes to stopping at a restaurant or drive-thru, as these delivery services bring the food directly to your door. Expand your knowledge in the kitchen by sourcing favorite recipes from friends and family, so you never run out of new options to try.

Try a Savings Challenge

Money-saving may seem like a monotonous task, but it doesn’t need to be. Money saving challenges are a way to give yourself goals and switch up how, and how much, you’re contributing to your savings account each month.

A few popular variations include a no-spend challenge and the 52-week challenge. In a no-spend challenge, you don’t buy anything outside your normal living expenses. This means not spending money on clothing, take-out, or entertainment. Start with a week to see how well you do and extend from there.

During a 52-week challenge, you’ll start by saving $1 during week one and increase as you go, saving $2 during week 2, $3 during week 3 and so on. By the end of the year, you will have saved almost $1,400 that you didn’t have set aside before.

Refinance Your Home or Student Loans

Mortgage rates have been sitting at attractive levels since mid-2020, giving homeowners the opportunity to switch out their existing mortgages for a new one. If you don’t own your own home, the same thing can be done for student loans and even credit card debt.

Refinancing your loans into one single loan with a lower interest rate, or one that is somewhere in the middle of all your rates.

For some people, refinancing can mean securing lower interest rates that help them owe less in the long run. For others, the psychology of making one large payment on one account feels more successful than making small payments on many accounts.

Save Money in the New Year with Landmark National Bank

There are many approaches you can take to tackle your financial goals in 2022. Whether you’re opening your first savings account or saving for a future vacation, Landmark National Bank is here to support you through every step of the way.

Use our online and mobile banking tools to manage your money and budget on the go, or explore home loan options to see if refinancing is the best option for you. Work toward your financial goals this year with Landmark National Bank. Visit a Landmark National Bank branch location near you today!

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