Want to improve your finances in the New Year? You aren’t alone. Financial resolutions are among the most common, with people resolving to get out of debt, save more money, and clean up their spending.
But “spend less” and “save more” may not cut it. Most people don’t keep their New Years resolutions—not from lack of willpower, but because they don’t have concrete ideas about how to keep them.
Fear not—here’s a list of specific money-centric New Year’s resolutions that will help you make 2018 the most profitable yet.
1. Have a “no spend” day once a week
Incorporate one day a week where you pack lunch instead of buying it, skip the mid-afternoon Diet Coke from the deli, and get creative with the groceries already in your fridge rather than buying more.
You could save a surprising amount this way. For instance, if you’re in the habit of spending about $10 a day on lunch at work, you could save $480 a year by skipping the restaurant meal once a week. And that’s just one thing you might buy in a typical day.
2. Refinance your student loans
If you have student loans and you haven’t refinanced, you’re leaving money on the table. Our own data shows that people who refinanced saved an average of $259 per month and $19,231 over the life of the loan. That’s much more effective than giving up your daily latte habit.
Speaking of which…
3. Give up your daily latte habit
It might not be as effective as refinancing, but have you ever considered those little daily indulgences that seem inexpensive in the moment—but add up over the long term?
For instance, let’s say you spend $4 on a latte every morning before work. That’s $80 a month, and $960 a year. You could buy a plane ticket for that much. And no doubt that’s not the only little indulgence in your life. It could be well worth your time to do an “indulgence audit” and pick out a few you could do without.
4. Increase your retirement fund contributions
If you have a retirement account, consider upping your payment. And if your employer offers to match your contribution, make sure you’re taking advantage of that.
Doing this for just one year could boost your retirement savings by thousands of dollars—or more—over the course of that year. And as the interest compounds, this resolution can keep paying off for years to come.
If you don’t have a retirement account, it’s never too late to get started. Make that your New Year’s resolution, and your older self will thank you.
5. Automate your savings
If your employer has direct deposit, you may have the option to automatically distribute a certain amount into a savings account every month. You can also set your retirement account to deduct a set amount each month.
Even better—refinance your student loans. Then supercharge your savings by siphoning the amount you save automatically into your savings or retirement account. You’re already used to spending that much every month on your loans, so your finances won’t feel a pinch.
Is refinancing right for you? Use our Refi Ready tool to find out how much you could save.