9 Ways to Keep Your Financial Resolutions in the Second Half of the Year
You started the year with big goals. You wanted to learn a new language and shake up your workout routine. You wanted to host a dinner party and reconnect with that old friend you lost touch with in college. You thought you might finally take the leap to pursue a career in something you’re more passionate about. Perhaps most importantly, you were confident that this would be the year that you step up your financial responsibility and get more serious about your money. With all of those big ambitions, we’re pretty sure you haven’t been able to accomplish all of your resolutions in the first half of the year.
We don’t believe there’s any such thing as “failing” at a resolution, but we also understand if you’re feeling a little disappointed that you weren’t able to make it all happen. You’re a high-achieving lady, after all! We can’t exactly turn back the clock and help you buckle down every goal, but we can help you get refocused on any financial resolutions that may have fallen to the wayside, thanks to a little expertise from Credit Karma personal finance expert Tim Devaney. Keep scrolling for nine practical tips that will help you change your habits just enough that you can start feeling better about those finances.
1. Say yes to anything free for a day. For a full 24 hours, give yourself permission to indulge in any and all things that come without a cost. Plan the occasion around a weekend when you know there are a few free activities planned in your area, so you can say yes to concerts, movie nights, parties, and no-cost hangouts with friends. You might also give yourself the go-ahead to eat ice cream for breakfast (as long as it’s already in your refrigerator) or to wear your cutest PJs to the grocery store. This might sound a little silly, but framing a whole day around saying “yes!” instead of feeling like your savings goals are all about deprivation might be just the mindset shift you need to get back on track.
2. Freeze your gym membership. We’re all about prioritizing physical health, but gym memberships can come at quite a cost. As long as the weather is still good where you live — and before winter comes knocking again — you might consider freezing your pricey membership and taking your exercise routine outside. Ensure that there are no fees associated with pausing your membership (or that they’re at least significantly lower than your usual monthly bill), then make a plan to go jogging in the park or to check out a free yoga app on your back porch with friends.
3. Grow your own veggies. There are start-up costs associated with building your own vegetable garden, but if you can maintain it you’ll find yourself saving beaucoup bucks on groceries moving forward. Getting out in the garden is also a great way to get fresh air and exercise and to ensure that you’re regularly including produce in your diet. And who knows? You might even discover a green thumb!
4. Think critically about your subscriptions. Take a good, hard look at your recurring monthly expenses. If you pay for magazines that you don’t actually read or belong to a wine club that has done little but leave you with a serious overflow of booze, you might consider cancelling some subscriptions, at least for the rest of this year. When you start racking up these minor changes to your expenditures, you’ll be amazed by how much they can add up.
5. Give up coffee runs. You may feel like you’re totally reliant on your daily Starbucks fix, but the truth is that you really can live without it. Challenge yourself to a month — or two! or three! — without store-bought coffee drinks. Even if you have to stock up on supplies to make coffee for yourself at home, you’ll save money in the long run. (Taking time to prep your own pour-over in the morning can also be a great opportunity to work on that mindfulness meditation resolution.)
6. Buy generic. Next time you’re out running errands, fill your cart with generic rather than name-brand items. If you closely compare the ingredients, you’ll find that there’s often little difference between the two… except for the price tag. Some generics and store brands are even prepared in exactly the same place as name brands, just with different packaging.
7. Start an automatic savings plan with your bank. If you’re one of the many people who struggle to consistently transfer cash from checking to savings, call your bank to find out what kinds of automatic savings programs are available. Most financial institutions already have a plan like this in place, or can at least help you set up a recurring transfer that will have you working toward your financial ambitions without even knowing it.
8. Unplug “vampire” appliances. According to Devaney, there are electronics in your house that are running up your bill even when they’re not actually being used. To turn off the spigot and save yourself some green, unplug your television when it’s not on, and when your laptop or cell phone is fully charged, unplug that charger from the wall.
9. Use up your groceries. Challenge yourself to a whole weekend of cooking only with the items you already have in your pantry or refrigerator. (There’s no eating out, either!) Push yourself even further by seeing how long you can go without restocking nonperishables. You’ll help your budget and give yourself a chance to get a little extra creative in the kitchen.
Tweet us how you stay on track with your financial goals once the excitement has worn off @BritandCo.
(Photos via Getty)