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Six-Month Checkup on New Year's Resolutions

Truth time: how are you doing on your financial promises for 2018?

According to StatisticBrain, 41% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, however, over 42% of those making the resolutions will, “never succeed and fail on their resolution each year.” Okay, those statistics are depressing. The good news is that they also found that, “People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions.”

So...how are you doing on the money resolutions you made six months ago?

Cut Spending:

Reducing your spending may be an obvious resolution, but a dollar here and a dollar there can sneak up on you. You know the feeling; you and your partner come home at night, you are tired and hungry, and the restaurant is a few doors down (and even closer is your phone with your favorite takeout or delivery on speed-dial). MarketWatch revealed a new survey showing, “… that 45% of American cite food costs as their biggest budget buster, which proves that for one reason or another, eating out is a really easy trap for many of us to fall into.”

Solution**:** Plan ahead, before you are exhausted and hungry. Make some healthy meals each week and freeze them. You can also set up automatic delivery of fresh food that will not break the bank. If you know that a great meal is waiting for you at home, the impulse to dine out will be less. Try this for a month, track the savings, and start to see if it works.

Reduce Debt:

If you have successfully cut your spending, it is time to look at all of your expenses and find ways to decrease your overall outlay. Reducing debt cannot be done on a whim. Decreasing your deficit entails a systematic approach that will eventually increase savings that can be used to pay down your shortfall.

The best process for reducing your debt is to lay out all of your monthly payments and examine each bill. Find out if you can get a better deal on debt. Do you have an auto loan? Different companies could offer a lower rate. The same is true for home mortgages and even life insurance.

Solutions**:**

The latest gadgets and apps can help you reduce your debt. For instance, many people have disconnected their landline phones and opted for a smartphone only. And, with all the competition between mobile phone carriers, you will have no problem shopping around for the best price. Also, if you are tied to your computer screen for all of your news and entertainment, it may be time to downgrade or cancel your service altogether.

Another way to reduce debt is to buy in bulk and shop for sales. Why not stock up on items you use all of the time (and at a lower price)? You may also need to examine your entertainment budget. I’m not asking you to sit at home every night with nothing to do, but nightly outings to movies, ice skating, and coffee can impact your savings. Schedule a potluck dinner with friends and create a weekly game night.

Invest:

You have probably heard it before, but you need to start investing for your future, Remember your New Year’s resolution to reduce some of your debt by following my advice above? Well, half of that savings should go to paying off debt, and the other half should go toward investing.

Investing should not be scary. One of most common reasons for not investing is that there isn’t enough money. Here is my advice: Start now! You can invest with a small contribution each week. Make this your top New Year’s resolution.

You don’t have to be Warren Buffet to pick stocks. You are a savvy consumer and you see the trends. For instance, if you bought $1,000 of Netflix stock 10 years ago, your investment would be worth $51,966 today. The best strategy is to diversify and not think that you will guess right.

Use your mobile device to open an investment account. There are lots of investment apps. For instance, I am an advisor to a company called DriveWealth. I like them because they let you invest small amounts of money and also purchase fractional shares, which is a great way to facilitate a regular investing strategy. Small dollar amounts invested may be the key to keeping this resolution. Decide on a dollar amount you can invest each week or each month and stick to the number.

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I didn't reach all my goals but I did about 50% does that qualify to be classified as "keeping my resolution".

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