There are two types of people in this world: Those who make New Year’s resolutions, and those who don’t. Me? I’m firmly in the latter; I stopped making them after realizing they’d be discarded by the first week of February. (Which probably says something about my self-discipline, but I digress.) However, as a young woman who’s forever learning new things about the way the world works, I have come to realize that setting intentions is invaluable. If you don’t have goals set, you’re liable to wander around aimlessly in circles. So this year, I’ve decided to make some resolutions on manifesting abundance and financial success.
That said, to avoid any confusion or misdirection, I reached out to some experts in the industry to get the low-down on the best financial resolutions to make for the upcoming year and exactly how to achieve them. And since finances aren’t a one-size-fits-all, I sourced a variety of experts: a New York Times bestselling author and Happiness Expert, the founder of YNAB (You Need A Budget), a certified financial therapist, and a CEO and co-founder of a mobile app that personalizes digital cash gifts.
Make your money goals come to fruition this year with these financial new year’s resolutions. With expert-backed insight on how to overcome money fears and improve your credit score, to wellness practices like trusting the universe and flow of money, these resolutions will help turn you into the wealthy woman you’re meant to be.
1. I will let go of money fear and anxiety
Money is an emotionally charged topic, but it’s time to let go of any financial fears and anxieties so you can reach your goals. Granted, this is often easier said than done, which is why Rubin suggests trying to get to the root of those negative emotions first and foremost. Identifying the source of your fear will better help you understand it, and from there, you can then take the next step and find possible solutions. “For me, I also find action is the antidote to anxiety,” she told me. “By taking concrete steps towards an aim, I give myself more peace of mind.” Rubin also admitted that she’s learned to ask for help, which can be especially great when you’re chartering new financial territory.
Additionally, Rubin also said that learning how to view money as a tool can be helpful. She said that money can support things like going on an unforgettable trip, starting a new business, freedom from worry, donating to the causes you believe in, or providing for others. “While money can’t buy happiness, it can buy things that greatly contribute to happiness,” she clarified.
2. I will get clear on my money goals
Northwestern Mutual recently conducted a survey amongst people ranging from ages 26-57. Of those surveyed, they found that 87% have significant life goals but don’t know how to get there or the exact cost of pursuing them, and this lack of knowledge holds them back from actively pursuing them. If the last two years have taught us anything, though, it’s that time is precious and life can change in an instant. “Many Americans are having a collective moment of awakening, coined by Northwestern Mutual as ‘The Great Realization’,” Rubin explained. “This is the moment where our priorities come into sharp focus and question everything: Where we live, where we work and most importantly, how we are spending our lives.” She went on to elaborate that for many people, this involves a lot of reprioritization to do things like travel more, buy a home, start a business, and so on.
Get clear on your money goals. These goals don’t have to be simply making money and becoming rich (though there’s no shame in wanting that); they can be paying off bad debt, saving up for a down payment on a house, or even building your savings to reach a goal you have in mind. Everyone’s money goals will look different, but getting clear on what you want financially will help you formulate a plan and start taking the steps to make it happen.
3. I will follow a budgeting system that works for me
Finding a budgeting system that works for you and your unique needs, goals, and lifestyle will help you actually follow it. There’s a ton of methods out there, but one of the most popular is the 50/30/20 rule. With this system 50% of your income is allocated towards living expenses, 30% goes towards “fun” expenses—like a night out, vacation, wedding, travel, etc.—and 20% goes towards savings, investments, and debt payments.
While the 50/30/20 rule is likely to work well for those who are balanced with their finances, overspenders might do better with a cash-based approach like the envelope system, and meticulous planners (looking at you, earth signs) may benefit from Jesse Mecham’s mindset. Mecham told me he likes to use every dollar in a deliberate way. “I teach people to look at the money they have right now and ask themselves: What does this money need to do before I get paid again? Then, assign every dollar a job based on whatever matters most to you,” he said. In addition, Mecham also believes that having a plan for your money will help you feel in control of your finances, which will remove any induced feelings of guilt around spending it.
4. I will build a rainy day and emergency fund
Although both rainy day and emergency funds will protect you in crises, they are not the same. An emergency fund will protect you during something major, like an unexpected job loss, whereas a rainy day fund will protect you during something smaller, like surprise car repairs. Having both funds is vital because you never want to be in a position where you can’t pay your bills or buy food until your next paycheck. This year, make it a goal to build a rainy day and emergency fund. Just be sure these funds are stored in accounts that are easily accessible, like a high-yield savings account or Marcus fund.
In order to figure out how much you should have in your emergency fund, Mecham recommends taking a look at your expenses. You may not be able to anticipate something like a job loss, but you can anticipate your expenses. So create a plan for how to cover them even if your income changes.” On average, most financial experts recommend having at least three to six months’ worth of expenses saved up.
Similarly, according to Mecham, the best way to prepare for a rainy day is to break up larger, infrequent expenses and treat them like monthly expenses. Putting away a little money each month for something like a car repair will make it feel like less of an emergency if and when said car breaks down.
5. I will regularly check in on my finances
Your financial situation can change frequently for a number of reasons (think: promotions, big purchases, etc.), which is why regularly checking in on it is so crucial. Take the time to sit down and look at your money periodically, whether it’s weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. This will give you the opportunity to reassess and adjust your budget and expenses as needed. Plus, it will help ensure you know exactly where your money is going, which is one key element to taking charge of your finances.
6. I will grow my wealth
This is always the goal, right? But how often do you take steps to actually do it? This doesn’t mean you need to get a new job or turn your hobby into a side hustle, there are ways to increase your wealth without even lifting a finger, like creating and contributing to any sort of an investment portfolio. A little goes a long way with investments, so you don’t have to contribute an astronomical amount of income to it.
Be sure to do your research so you can figure out which type of investment portfolio will work best for you. Personal investment portfolios are great for growing your wealth and having immediate access to it, whereas 401(k)s and IRAs are great for ensuring you’re financially secure in retirement. That said, you don’t have to pick and choose; you can create a personal investment portfolio and retirement account if you wish to do so. Platforms like Ellevest, Public, and Robinhood are great for beginners and can help you get started. In addition, be sure to talk to your employer about retirement options and how you can start making contributions to it now.
7. I will spend mindfully
Being more mindful with money is key to leveling up your finances. This means putting thought behind every purchase, buying things intentionally with the goal of bringing yourself joy, and holding yourself accountable and taking note of when and how much you’re spending. In addition, becoming more conscious of your spending will help you make smarter money moves and become more financially independent.
Additionally, you’re also going to want to work on practicing discipline with those impulse purchases. If you see something you want but don’t need, don’t buy it right away. Instead, leave the store and come back a couple days later, or add it to your cart and let it sit there for a day or two if you’re shopping online. You might find that taking a step back will help you forget about the item altogether. However, if you can’t get it off your mind, take a look at your finances and figure out whether or not you can realistically afford to treat yourself at that moment in time. Likewise, if the item goes out of stock for some reason, try to think of it as not being meant to be, and remember that something better and cuter will come along in the near future.
8. I will prepare for big events ahead of time
With rising inflation and the cost of day-to-day living, financially preparing for big events can be overwhelming, to say the least. However, to make things easier on yourself and your wallet, Patterson swears by saving as early as you can, and suggests looking into setting up a separate account for these event expenses—like a high-yield savings account or Marcus fund—and allocating a percentage of your “fun” money into this fund. So, take the time now to mark down in your calendar any major events for the year ahead (think: birthdays, weddings, showers, vacations, graduations, etc.). “The more you can plan ahead of time the better,” Patterson admitted to me.
Patterson also mentioned that how much you spend on gifts will depend on the type of event and your relationship to the individual. “Thinking of you” and “appreciation” gifts are on the lower-end of the scale, and gifts for birthdays, graduations, and showers are somewhere in the middle. Weddings, though, are on the highest end of gifting totals; The Knot found that the average wedding gift was $160 in 2022, and Patterson told me that the average wedding gift on Memento was slightly over $220. That said, she cautioned against spending beyond your means. “If you have a smaller budget or aren’t able to save as much as you’d hoped, there are ways you can explore cutting costs for events too.” Patterson recommends doing things like at-home beauty treatments or looking into cheaper travel options and accommodations to save.
9. I will commit to living within my means
Lifestyle creep is real, and with rising inflation, now’s the time to cut out unnecessary spending. This doesn’t mean you have to live a boring life and never treat yourself. Rather, it means prioritizing spending money on what matters most to you, and cutting back wherever you can.
Sit down and look at your income and expenses and current financial situation; look for any areas you could cut back in that would give you more peace of mind. Maybe you can cancel the gym membership and do free workouts at home; maybe you challenge yourself to become a better chef and start making more meals at home. Likewise, take the time to look into potential lower-cost options for things you’re currently paying for. For example, if your car insurance premium has gone up, spend an afternoon calling different insurance companies to see if you can get a better rate. Don’t spend more money than you have to in any area of life. It may feel like you’re making sacrifices, but the more you can save now, the better off you will be in the long-run.
10. I will build and improve my credit score
Your credit score directly impacts your ability to take out a loan for things like a house or car, and the higher your score, the better loan you’ll receive. Barnes told me that using a credit card is one of the easiest ways to build a strong credit history, but to avoid swiping away funds you don’t have, she recommends identifying what you’d like to use your credit card for first and foremost. Then, you can find a card that best suits your needs and lifestyle. “If you are seeking a credit card that simplifies your spending decisions, consider one that offers cash rewards, like the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card, which offers 2% cash rewards on all purchases,” Barnes said.
In addition, Barnes also emphasized the importance of committing to and getting in the habit of paying your bills on time, in full, before or on the due date. “While this is not directly tied to building credit, it’s the first financially healthy habit to have,” she told me. However, if you’re ever experiencing financial challenges, Barnes suggests reaching out to creditors to discuss possibly adjusting payment dates or talking through repayment options.
11. I will trust the flow of money
As humans, it’s natural to want to control everything—especially when it comes to finances. However, when all is said and done, there is only so much we can do. You cannot spend every waking hour of every day stressing and obsessing over your finances; in fact, that will only hinder you from prospering in life. Instead, trust the flow of money, and trust that it will flow to you. Trusting the flow of money will help level up your money EQ, which is key to manifesting abundance.
Do what you can to make money and the right money moves, and let go of the rest. Money is fluctuating, but living in a constant state of fear and worry will only block you from receiving abundance in your life. Stop stressing, and trust that when the time is right, the right riches will flow to you.
12. I will stop comparing my situation to others
It’s easy to fall into the comparison trap, especially in today’s world of Instagram flexes and flashy TikTok videos. It can also be so easy to feel discouraged, ashamed and like you’re missing out when you have to turn down events that other people around you can say yes to without hesitation. But the truth is, no one knows what it’s like to walk in anyone else’s shoes, and no two situations are the same. At the end of the day, everyone’s finances look different, and your situation is unique to you and you alone. This is also true for the financial situations of your BFF, significant other, or—dare I say—favorite influencer.
Whenever you feel yourself starting to compare your situation to others, take a step back and focus on your values instead of finances; think about the value you’re bringing into everything you’re doing—value that doesn’t have a monetary number. Maybe you can’t contribute as much financially, but generosity comes in all shapes and sizes; you can still contribute by being a good listener or being kind to and supporting others.
In addition, it’s also important to stay focused on your goals. Just because you have to make some sacrifices now doesn’t mean you’ll have to make them for the rest of your life. Likewise, honesty is always the best policy. Embrace your financial situation for what it is right now; be honest with yourself and others about what you can and can not afford. This is one of the best things you can do for yourself on your journey to financial freedom. Remember: Your finances do not define you, and you are on the path that is meant for you and you alone.