Can you believe that it is already half way through 2023? It feels like it was just yesterday that we all sat down to make our New Year financial resolutions. The question now is: Have you been able to stick to those resolutions? Some may have been able to, while others may not. There might be those who have even thrown their resolutions out the window.
Well, just because you have already quit – or never started – your financial new year’s resolution doesn’t mean it is too late to get back on track (or even take your first steps).
Before we begin, here are a few reasons why your financial resolutions have gone off track in the first place.
Issue 1: You never started
This is probably the number one culprit as to why financial resolutions fail. There can be any number of reasons as to why you never get started with your resolutions. You could have simply forgotten about it, never made a proper saving plan, or were simply too lazy to get started.
Issue 2: Unrealistic goals
Another big issue could be that your resolution goals were simply too unrealistic and lofty. You might have planned to save too much or given yourself too little time to meet your goal. An unattainable goal can lead to demotivation, leading you to abandon your quest altogether.
Issue 3: You went over budget
Saving up cash is not easy. Life is riddled with unexpected expenses. A random new bill or debt can hit you from nowhere, forcing you to dip into your savings or emergency budget to cope. On the other hand, you might find yourself a victim of impulse spending, buying something you really want, despite breaking your monthly budget.
These are just a few examples as to why you might have failed your financial resolutions thus far. Everyone has different circumstances that may lead to going off track, but it is not too late to get things rolling in the right direction once more.
Here are a few things you can do to make your financial comeback for 2023.
Find out what works best for you with regards to your savings habits and concentrate on that. Do you need to automate your savings? Does the cash envelope system help you save more? Whatever it is that helps you regularly add to your savings and pay off debts in time, focus on that. Celebrate your success and challenge yourself to increase your contributions slightly.
Once you find out what techniques and strategies work for you, take a look at the ones that didn’t and try to narrow down why they didn’t work. Make sure your goal is clear, achievable and aligned with your values and actions. One of the biggest killers of motivation is that you might be striving for perfection, when instead you should be aiming for steady progress. You don’t have to constantly high massive goals every month, if you are showing stable improvement, that is good enough.
Huge changes that aren’t sustainable cause us to fall back on old habits. Reaching a goal is about making small, incremental changes. This is by no means a fast process, but the results are well worth the wait and will have a long lasting impact. Remember that growth equals consistency.
3. Correct your course
If your main goal with your money resolutions is to save more or pay debt, but it is not happening fast enough, you have a few options available to you. The first is to increase your income. This can come in the form of part-time or contract work to supplement your main income.
Another option is to reduce your expenses. Maybe hold back on getting the latest and greatest with regards to your hobbies for a bit. You can also try cancelling subscriptions that you are not using or even eat out less.
The final option is to do both. Look for an alternative means to supplement your main income while also cutting back on unnecessary spending. The extra money saved and earned can be put towards your financial goals. Just be careful not to burn yourself out by overworking and depriving yourself of entertainment for too long.
4. Visual reminders
Use something that you really, truly, want as a motivator to save up more. Cutting spending on leisure activities and items is a good way to save up extra cash, but going too long without buying something you want can be detrimental to your motivation. Keep a picture of what you really want on your desktop or phone home screen as a reminder of what you can purchase once you hit your saving goals. Track your progress and remind yourself of the motivation behind the sacrifice.
5. Seek extra help
Sometimes, everything might be just a bit too overwhelming for you. There is no shame in asking for help if you aren’t able to meet your financial goals or make any meaningful progress. You can try connecting with non-profit counselling agents for free and unbiased advice.
Organisations such as Agensi Kaunseling dan Pengurusan Kredit (AKPK) provides free counselling services and financial advice for individuals on issues such as budget management, cash flow management and credit and loan issues. You can also talk to your personal financial planner if you have one, or educate yourself through books, podcasts, and blogs.