A survey by ING of 14,000 people in 14 countries found that financial New Year resolutions for 2013 were more popular than other resolutions. Overall, 40% in the poll were making a pledge to be better with money this year and just 16% were focusing on something else.
Make it stick
Making resolutions is the easy part. Sticking to them is harder. We offer six tips to help make resolutions a reality - including telling friends about your goal and using technology to keep you on track.
You can’t make sensible financial resolutions if you don’t know how much you are spending and saving. In other words, having a basic budget (or reviewing your existing budget) is essential. However, nearly 60% of respondents to a 2011 eZonomics poll said they did not keep a budget - all the more reason why our article Six tips for starting a budget will come in handy.2
Keep it real
Once you have made a budget you can figure out if your resolution is realistic. A financial goal for example to save €200 per month will fail if you don’t have €200 of “spare” income. Therefore, picking something manageable and reasonable and achieving it is much better than setting the bar too high and not reaching it.3
Make a commitment
Once you have a resolution that has a good chance of being met, setting up commitment devices - a self-imposed arrangement to help you achieve your goal – is a good idea. Using technology such as the StickK website may help you keep to your plan.4
Do it with friends
You don’t have to work on your resolutions on your own. In fact, research published by the NBER shows that enlisting help from friends and getting them to follow similar financial goals at the same time can be very effective.5
Technology can be a powerful tool. Research highlighted in When reminders can make you rich shows that automatic texts or calendar reminders showing whether you are meeting your goal helps people save more. Not bad for something that is relatively hassle free.6
Picture your goal
Having an actual picture of what you are trying to achieve, rather than a figure written down, makes the goal more realistic. Research suggests those shown pictures of themselves made to look older are more inclined to save for pensions. So if you are saving to buy a new car or a holiday, why not keep a picture of that cool convertible or that hot beach you’re after on your mobile phone?