Three New Year’s Resolutions for the Fiscally Minded

Tis the season my friends… At this time of year it’s customary to eat as much turkey as is physically possible, lavish each other with expensive gifts, drink large quantities of whatever happens to be left in your drinks cabinet (normally something horrible like Cointreau) and then 6 days later repent everything and promise that this year will be the year you sort your life out and get back to the gym.

With Christmas soon to be here and gone it’s time to set out your agenda for 2012 and start formulating those all important New Year’s resolutions. Most people tend to stick with the same old mantras of ‘I will go to the gym at least once a week’, or ‘I’ll eat salad at least once a week’. As 2012 is looking like it’s going to be another difficult year financially, it’s time to sprinkle a little frugality and pragmatism into those New Year resolutions – after all, a healthy bank balance leads to a healthy peace of mind…

I will not impulse buy on a whim and a prayer.

Everyone is guilty of doing this on occasion, for most of us it happens just around payday. You may decide to go out on your lunch-break, or into town on a Saturday, and then all of a sudden you find yourself attracted to a shiny object and BHAM! You’re at the till handing over your credit card and buying something you don’t really need. Avoid impulse buying in 2012. If you need an item then that’s justifiable, but if you can live without it then don’t buy it – you’ll save lots in the long run by keeping your impulses in check.

I will keep a spreadsheet of all my outgoing and incoming. I will budget like a responsible adult.

OK so let’s be honest, spreadsheets aren’t cool or sexy, but if used correctly, they can be immensely helpful, especially for those living on a budget. Having lived in a shared house for many years I understand the pain of having to keep track of all the bills, as well as the individual debts that build up over time. Believe me, keeping a household account is a lot easier than fretting about how much that bill was, or who owes who what. It also allows you to work out the average monthly/annual cost of certain bills, helping you to budget for the future with a little more ease. Keeping a spreadsheet or a household account is all about sticking to a routine and being ordered. Keep your financial info up to date and stick with it.

I will set aside something every month for a rainy day

Let’s face up to reality here, the western global economy and its’ particular brand of consumer capitalism is unlikely to make a healthy recovery back to the affluent levels of 1996 anytime soon. Even the most optimistic outlook on the global economy suggests that most western economies will either stay stagnant or experience only slight growth throughout 2012. With that in mind it makes sense, if you haven’t already, to start planning for a rainy day. Setting up a standing order or using an online system to filter away a few dollars here and there is simple. Even if you only manage to save a few bucks each month it can still make all the difference for when that rainy day eventually arrives.

Keeping an eye on your finances is relatively easy – sticking to your budget is much harder. It takes a lot of willpower to keep things on track, but savings a little bit here and there, as well as being more fiscally responsible will pay dividends in the long run.