With the onslaught of New Year’s resolutions, it can be easy to end up buying services, products, or memberships that end up taking a financial toll throughout the rest of the year. From pricey gym memberships you forget to cancel to a whole new wardrobe that you throw out next year, the popular concept of “new year, new me” can be a toxic mindset for your bank account.
So how do you break bad spending habits while still reaching your goals? Take a look at some key pieces of advice to increase your financial health.
Don’t Let FOMO Get the Best of You
FOMO stands for the “fear of missing out.” Have you ever seen pictures of a friend at an amazing concert and regretted not buying $150 tickets to go as well? Yep, that’s FOMO. This anxiety to always be included can be particularly strong at the beginning of the new year where people embark on ambitious goals (that often cost a pretty penny).
Instead of getting swept up in this herd mentality, set aside a week or two to think about a major purchase before pulling out your wallet. If you truly think joining your friend on an expensive trip around the world or paying for a high-end pilates studio will help you achieve your 2019 goals, then do it. Just make sure to consider whether FOMO is driving you to make the purchase instead of your own internal motivation.
Take Control of Your Career
It’s easy to find a job that’s “good enough” and settle for a mediocre salary. More often than not, this income level won’t support the goals you’ve set for yourself in the new year. If you have big plans to move forward with your life, now is the time to act! Make a plan to ask for a raise or acquire new skills that could land you a higher paying job. If you want to start your own business or go back to school, that will require a significant investment—so make sure your finances are prepared to push you toward the finish line.
Use Cash Instead of Credit
While this might sound like a strange way to break bad spending habits, using a credit or debit card to make all your purchases can lead to a disconnect with your expenses. When you can’t physically see the amount of money you’re handing over, you don’t really understand how much you’re shelling out. If you’re planning to go all-in on a pricey purchase in the new year, pay for it with cash so you can understand just how much it will affect your finances. This is a good rule to stick with throughout the year so you don’t catch yourself making pointless purchases.
Spending “Fasts” Only Lead to Splurges
Cutting out unnecessary expenses to save up money for something you really want is never a bad idea. But when you go on a spending “fast” just for the sake of fasting, it can often lead to an irresponsible splurge once it’s over. Instead of rewarding your frugal spending with a big shopping spree, maintain a healthy balance of spending and saving throughout the year. This way you’ll encourage constant good habits instead of periodic episodes of responsible money management. This applies both to your new year’s resolutions and your spending once the January adrenaline wears off.
When you have big goals, it can be easy to spend big money. Instead, make the smart move to break bad financial habits, and you’ll see you funds go further than any other year before.