Improving your financial situation is a common desire at this time of year. In fact, aside from fitness aspirations, finance-related resolutions are often the most popular goal among people who want to make big life changes. But what are the best ways to succeed, given that research suggests at least 54% of people fall by the wayside within six months?
Here are some tips to ensure 2019 is the year you achieve your savings goals.
1. Choose a single, clear savings goal
One of the biggest challenges when embarking on a New Year's resolution is getting out of the starting gate.
More than one-third of people have already given up on their 'New Year, New Me' attitude by the end of January, one survey found.
When asked why, 40% of respondents said they had too many other things to do, while 33% admitted they weren't committed enough to the goals they set.
You can overcome these problems by narrowing your focus to just one clear-cut objective. Perhaps you want to save for a home deposit or pay off an existing mortgage more quickly? Maybe you've always dreamed of travelling the world or enjoying your golden years in style?
These are all worthy goals, but you may find it easier to stay on track by choosing the most important one and working towards that first. Don't forget, there's always next year to add a new goal if the next 12 months goes well!
2. Break down your goal into manageable chunks
Crossing the finishing line on your savings goals requires time, effort and commitment. Many of your biggest aspirations take years or even decades to accomplish, so it's not surprising that many people fall back into their regular routines after the Christmas break.
Setting small, more achievable short-term goals can help you achieve your financial ambitions. A Bupa study found that 52% of Brits would find it easier to keep their New Year's resolutions if they used this technique.
For example, if you're saving for a wedding, calculate how much you'll need to hit your target and decide a realistic timeline based on your income and essential outgoings. You can now set a specific savings total for 2019 and break this down into measurable monthly amounts.
The motto "ink it, don't think it" could also stand you in good stead. Make sure you write down your goals and place them somewhere prominent as a constant reminder.
3. Use technology to your advantage
Don't make your New Year's resolution harder than it needs to be. You can use innovative technology to perform some of the heavy lifting when it comes to achieving your savings objectives. More than a quarter (26%) of men and 21% of women claim technology is key to keeping to their New Year commitments.
A money management app for your mobile devices can be a good place to start. These range from lightweight platforms that help you stick to a budget all the way to sophisticated personal finance tools with multiple features for examining every area of your spending.
Speaking of spending, you may need to break some bad habits to maximise your savings. This can be tricky; one study found learning and performing a new behaviour automatically can take as long as 254 days.
In the meantime, use online comparison sites that allow you to find the best prices on a multitude of everyday expenses. You may also find sharing any New Year's resolutions on social media will encourage you to stay focused by adding an air of accountability.
All it takes is a little planning
No matter your goal, making your money work for you is an excellent way to meet your financial goals without any extra effort on your part.