As 2014 comes to a close, many of us are considering our 2015 resolutions. Having had nearly two years now immersed in the personal finance blogging world, I’d like to share some thoughts on what might be beneficial 2015 resolutions for those not yet bitten by the Financial Freedom bug. If I, knowing what I know now, were to be starting new in gaining control of my finances, here are some of the things I’d consider putting on my 2015 resolutions list:
2015 Resolutions for Your Money
1. Track Your Spending. Yep, this is definitely at the top of my list. When we first started tracking our spending in 2013 (after going over 2012 expenses and finding that we’d spent nearly 50% MORE than we thought we did in most budget areas) it was the beginning of life-changing money benefits for us. If you don’t do anything new or different with your money this year, at the very least, commit to tracking every dime you spend, broken down by category (restaurants, groceries, gas, entertainment, etc.) so that you finish 2015 with a crystal clear picture of where every dime of your income went – or didn’t go.
2. Make Saving a Habit. Don’t wait and see what’s left over at the end of the pay period before seeing whether or not you have money left for savings; instead, treat your savings account contributions like a bill, and pay yourself first every single month. And after the money is in the account, “fuhgit abot it”.
3. Give Regularly to a Cause You Can Be Cheerful About Supporting. God loves a cheerful giver, and cheerful giving is blessed giving. Support ministries and causes that you can be cheerful and joyful about supporting, and choose to be cheerful and grateful that you have the ability to make a difference in someone else’s life.
4. Get – and Keep – a Clear Picture of Your Net Worth. Set up a system so that you know at the touch of a button what your assets and liabilities are, how much you spend each month on your expenditures, and so on and so forth.
5. Get a Handle on Your Grocery Bill. Learn to menu plan, and to track or memorize prices on things you buy regularly so that you know which sales or a good deal and which sales are not. Don’t buy just because you want: buy because the item is part of your menu planned spend for specific meals that you’ve chosen to feed your family, and watch your grocery bill plummet.
6. Make a List of Your Top Money Priorities. What is truly important to you from a financial standpoint? Is it the ability to be debt free? To have a plush retirement account? To have your kids’ college expenses fully funded? To have the cash to pay for a vacation home? Make a list of your top 5 money priorities, and commit to doing what you need to do to accomplish those priorities.
7. Learn to Practice Value-Based Spending. Don’t go out to eat just because it’s fun or easy when eating out is not one of your top money priorities. When faced with a spending choice, ask yourself, truly, if the purchase you are about to make is a value-based purchase. If it’s not, consider walking away from that purchase and putting that money toward one of your top money priorities, such as making an extra payment toward debt.
8. Commit to Truly Getting Serious About Your Money. The time for wishy-washy goals and spending decisions is over, my friends. It’s time for diligence and commitment for your money and your money goals in 2015.
These tips were born out of our own reflection of our 2014 spending and 2015 goals. I know that by following these suggestions, our money situation will improve dramatically. Won’t you join us for a richer 2015?
Have you started working on your 2015 resolutions yet? What is your biggest financial goal for the coming year?
Great post! We’re thinking about our 2015 goals at the moment so this has been helpful 🙂 I’ve got a similar post planned for the end of the year so great minds think alike!
Yes, they do, my friend! Can’t wait to hear what your 2015 goals are – it’s always fun for me to hear about what others are planning for the new year.
LOVE this post! I don’t even think I have a favorite, they’re all so good. I will say that the net worth habit is one that is often overlooked. But all of these are so important. Great post!
Thanks, Natalie! Tracking our net worth really helps us to stay encouraged as we work toward debt freedom. It’s focusing on a positive, I think, that does the trick.
Great post! We recently starting tracking our net worth with Personal Capital. We also plan to rein in our spending a little in 2015. It never hurts to reevaluate things!
We plan on reigning in spending too next year. Funny how us frugal folk can never be frugal enough. 🙂
Great list to go after Laurie! We have our goals set for next year and one of our main ones is to set aside a pretty good chunk of cash for a new to us car. I’m planning to pay for it in cash, as I would hate to add on a payment, so it’s going to take some serious cash. 🙂
Yay for the new car, finally! Glad to hear you’ve at least set a time period to pick one up. And bonus for paying in cash: I know you can do it!
Good stuff Laurie! #4 net worth was a eye opener for us, we were so focused on the day to day budget that we lost sight of our big picture. Tracking our network worth gave us the bird eye view of everything and gave us a better understand of what the daily, weekly and monthly work was going towards.
Same here, Brian! Also, I think tracking net worth is a great positive factor to focus on, whereas focusing on debt can bring one down.
The grocery budget is still a sore spot for me. I’m working on it! 🙂 Great tips Laurie that I’ll share with my Facebook group too. As a freelancer, my goal next year is to increase my income. This year was really tough. 🙁
Thanks, Tonya! I don’t have a doubt in the world that you can increase your income this year – you are so talented in so many ways!
So many of these are my 2015 list, especially tracking, saving, and groceries! I have been planning my resolutions for a few weeks and now I’m just fine tuning them and making sure they are realistic.
Good for you for being ahead of the game, Kara! I actually love goal planning – I find it encouraging and motivating.
This is an awesome list Laurie!! For us, setting our money priorities was a huge step in getting our finances together. Once we determined, as a couple, what is important to us, it was easy to realize what was not important which made it easier to save money in those areas. Having the priorities also gives us clarity as we are working on a joint goal together. We have not come up with our official list of goals for next year, mostly because my business direction is about to shift dramatically (for the good I hope) but we know we need to set goals to help us stay focused.
Cant’ wait to hear more about how the biz is changing, Shannon! Hope you’ll share about that soon. 🙂
The Hub-meister recently started seriously tracking our spending. It’s really, really annoying. But I’m glad he’s doing it. 🙂
It’s definitely finance changing, isn’t it! 🙂
Excellent ideas! I think people will just feel more financially secure if they adopt these ideas, even if they didn’t earn a single dollar more.
Agreed, Al! It’s amazing how much money you can “Find” by following these simple tips.
2014 was our best year financially, before that it was 2013, and I can go on and on. We have been able to grow a little each year and learn from the year before and then decide to do a little better or learn a little more about investing. We just want to stay consistent and not lose site of the long-term goal we have and lose a whole year of progress because we decided we want to spend it. We have big goals and it will take a long time and we are doing well, but you always have to evaluate and try harder…if not we would have lost a significant amount of money because we were afraid of a little risk.
You guys are seriously kicking it, Lance. Keep up the awesome work, and thank you so much for being a constant inspiration for us and for so many others.
Making saving a habit is a big one in my opinion. I know too many people who save what is left over, and nothing is left over so they just live paycheck to paycheck. You have to make saving a priority and pay yourself first. If you don’t see it, you won’t be tempted to spend it. Out of sight out of mind while your money accumulates in your account, rather than going down the drain spending it on frivolous things.
Exactly, Andrew! If you pay yourself last, you’ll likely never get paid.
Great post! Our main goal for 2015 is mainly to save money and hopefully not sell our house for too below our asking price. Not looking forward to putting it on the market but it has to be done!
I have a feeling it’ll sell quickly and you’ll be on your way to your new town/new home. Here’s to a great 2015, Michelle!
Great list! I’m not the biggest fan of the term “resolutions” because (in the UK at least) the most common day for people failing their resolutions which are set on 1st January is 10th January. Instead, I think its important that people talk about, and think in terms of, goals.
My main two financial goals in 2015 will be a % increase in net wealth and a specific % savings rate, as these are the annual goals that I have found in the past years have been the driver of all other short-term goals.
If anyone wants to join me in striving towards these two goals in 2015, head on over and sign up to our 2015 savings challenge.
Love that you have used those goals, Moneystepper, and proven that they work! I’m still figuring out what goals we want to have this year besides reducing spending and eliminating debt.
Great tips! We’ll be sitting down to put together a 2015 plan in the next couple of weeks.
Good for you guys, Amy! Written goals are achieved with a much great percentage of success than non-written goals.
This is a good one! I really need to challenge myself and what I can do next year and really pay off a bigger chunk on my debt. I am still having issues using my CC 🙁 These are really good tips to start on.
Ditto here, Ciel Belle. Here’s to a successful, debt free 2015, for both of us!
Great list, Laurie! You know I’m a big proponent of value-based spending and it really does make a huge difference in how you use your money. And how you feel about telling yourself “no” too, which is equally as important. I think tracking spending is one of the most eye-opening experiences for most people. Even those who believe they have a fairly good grasp on where their money goes, always find surprises. We’re in the midst of planning our 2015 goals, both personally and professionally and it’s always such an exciting, hopeful time. I love it!
I think it’s an exciting time too! Like a time of renewal. 🙂
I still want to be able to quit my job 🙂 aside from that, we are making it a goal to pay off our next largest loan. We think we will have a tiny one paid off this year, but if not, then we will add that to our resolutions!
I know that being home with the girls is definitely in your future, Kirsten. Keep up with those awesome goals!
Great resolutions, Laurie. I have not made mine yet but it is on my to-do list. One that I know will be on there for sure is your #8. I need to get serious about money, saving it, earning it and paying off debt. It’s time for action!
Me too, Tanya! Here’s to success in 2015. 🙂
I love this! I am working on my goals and especially want to make sure all my spending is values-based. 2015 is going to be good, I can feel it! 🙂
I agree, my friend! 🙂
Good article! I have a good handle on things, but my system is a bit of a mess. It could do with some New Year clean up, along with a plan for the next year.
Great plan, Cindy!! A little organization is always a good thing. 🙂
We have not thought about 2015 resolutions yet and I am dreading it as we failed miserably in 2014. Ugh! On the bright side, we do automatically save $750 for retirement every month. It helps to look at the accomplishments;0)
That is a huge start, Jayleen! Not sure if you’ve read The Wealthy Barber, but that’s a great book about how simply saving a certain percentage of your income every month can trump many other money mistakes.
I think that my biggest money goal for 2015 will be tracking our spending. I have been making good progress on our debt ($3000 in pay down on the principle since July 2014) but I think that tracking our spending and seeing where we can improve will help us make even better progress in 2015. Also getting a handle on our grocery budget is a huge goal too, right now I tend to pop into the store multiple times a week and pick up something for dinner that night or for lunches that week but I know we can save money by stocking up during sales and planning out weekly menus. Thanks for another great post Laurie!
Spend tracking was HUGE for us, CT Mommy, and I’ll bet you’ll find it hugely beneficial too. It really does make a difference!
I love this one Laurie! I think I should focus on make saving a habit and tracking my spending.
A great plan, Clarisse. I know you can do it!
Great advice, Laurie! 2014 was the first year when we tracked all our spendings and it’s indeed enlightening to have a place to look at, see the big picture and realize that there are so many areas you can work on. We still have many of your advice to implement, but hopefully 2015 will be the year when we do.
I know you guys can do it, C. You are pros at perseverance!
Great advice! We haven’t made any new year’s resolutions yet, but we ought to! I like #5 a lot–people overlook how powerful a low grocery bill is. We all need food and we all grocery shop every month. If you can get your food costs down permanently (like you have), then you’ll be saving just that much more money every month.
Exactly, Mrs. FW! And we are seeing just how low that grocery bill can be with our December grocery challenge. 🙂
Love this list! I feel like 7 and 8 have had the biggest impact on my financial improvements and quality of life. We have a wedding at the beginning of the year so I’m trying to focus on that and then look to the big picture for the rest of the year. So much could change, it’s tough for us to nail down a concrete goal. Certainly to do better than the year before is a good start 🙂
I agree, Brittany! Any improvement is a success, IMHO. 🙂
I think 2015 goals are next on my list, I don’t believe in having a new year’s resolution per se. I do have one all set and that’s paying off my last and final student loan, I’m excited about that one.
That’s awesome, Steven!!! Big celebration when that happens, I hope!
Our biggest financial goals will be keeping healthcare costs as low as possible and finding a new to us vehicle to replace our minivan. It’s staggering what our HC premium is doing starting Jan. 1. It’s a hit to the budget for sure but we’ve already put a plan in place to help us manage it.
Are you guys using a health sharing plan like Christian Medi-Share, Brian, or does Kim have healthcare through work?
Tracking our net worth is a big part of the way that we keep our financial goals at the forefront of our minds. It’s so motivating to watch those numbers (hopefully!) increase every quarter when we calculate it. I think that calculating net worth on a regular basis is a must if you want to improve your financial situation.
I agree, Dee. We weren’t tracking our net worth when we first started our journey, but after we started tracking it, our motivation really increased.
My focus will be #5 for the next while. There are certain expenses that are inflexible, like property taxes – nothing you can do to lower them – but groceries are very flexible. We used to spend easily over $200 weekly on groceries, but when we make a real effort, we can go lower than $150. Multiply that $50 weekly savings by the 52 weeks in a year, and that’s quite a savings!
That’s a huge savings, Prudence!!! Good for you guys for getting those grocery expenses under control.
I’d probably need to have a set of resolutions patterned to what you provided Laurie. I really need to make saving a habit and to stay away from temptations like gadgets and clothes.
You can do it, Jayson – I know you can!
I know I’m a little late to the party, but great list. I’m thinking about my goals for next year, and appreciate having this as a starting point.
Great, Chela, glad you like it. Can’t wait to hear what you decide for next year’s goals.
All of these are great goals for 2015! We have 1 big one: Pay off $24,000 of debt! We’re also going to see what budget lines we can realistically reduce.
Good for you, Gretchen! We have some big debt reduction goals too. Excited to get started on them.
Great list. I think tracking spending is #1 for good reason: it’s difficult to get where you want to go if you don’t know where you are now. We’re tracking pros at this point, but for 2015 we’re going to work on increasing our saving rate.
Couldn’t agree more, Gary, about the need for tracking spending. Love that you’re at the place where you’re working on increasing that savings rate. That’s always fun. 🙂
Our overarching goal for 2015 is the save, save, save!! Several of your suggestions will help us reach that goal. As converts from heavy consumers to major savers, 2014 was our year to get serious. I’m so glad that we did. There is no turning back now… We are addicted to it!
Good for you guys, Mrs. Maroon!!! We are converts from being heavy consumers too, and honestly, don’t miss it a bit. 🙂
Great suggestions Laurie! I need to get more serious about my money in 2015 if I want to hit my goals. Great reminder!
Me too, Kayla. 2015 will be a “gazelle intense” year for both of us, I suspect. 🙂
You pretty much summed up a road map to good finances for the year. Our hope for 2015 is to continue on the same path we’ve been on for the last few years. Someday, we’ll reach our desination!
You guys are doing great, Kim, and I have a feeling you’ll be there before you know it. 🙂
Thank you for these tips! I would have to say that getting my food budget under control and your tip about value spending really stick out to me and will be at the top of my 2015 priority list. I’m just starting out but I’m really ready to get this lifestyle change in gear.
Glad to know you liked the post!! I’m with you on making big changes this year. Looking forward to 2015!
Great suggestions! Especially the 7th 😉
Thanks, Simon. I like that one too. It has truly been life-changing for us.
Awesome points. #7 is one I really think is going to be new and important for us – thinking about spending in terms of how it fits into our value system.
This is even more critical with children. What am I teaching them, and what values and I instilling in them when we spend foolishly or impatiently? Am I explaining the values behind our decisions?
So true, Jay!!!! It’s so important to teach kids to use their money wisely. We are definitely in need of a more financially astute generation.
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