We know money isn’t everything, but we also know that money is a critical part of life. The better we can manage it, the less stressed we’ll be about making ends meet, the more we’ll be able to spend on the things that matter most to us, and the more we can focus on all the non-money things that make life so wonderful.
So if your New Year’s Resolution is to build better money habits, congratulations! This is one of the smartest changes you can make in your day-to-day life.
But why wait until the New Year to live your best life? Here are four compelling reasons to start your new financial resolutions now.
You’ll Avoid the Big Holiday Spending Pitfall
Our holiday spending has seriously crept up over the last few years. The average holiday debt for American consumers who fund the holidays with credit is up from $986 in 2015 to $1,230 in 2018. Don’t be a statistic in 2019. You’re only making more work for yourself in the New Year.
By starting your resolution now, you’ll be able to sail through the holiday season with a sensible spending plan while your motivation to spend smarter is still high. And you’ll come out the other side feeling invincible because you’ve already survived the most difficult spending season!
There are so many low-cost ways to enjoy the holiday season that are far more meaningful than expensive gift-giving and fancy decorations. Make your own ornaments and gifts. Bake your own seasonal goodies. And enjoy free holiday activities like holiday movie nights, sledding, caroling, and lights tours.
Your Savings Account Will Get a Head Start on the New Year
Starting your lower-spending, higher-savings resolution now will do more than just keep you out of the holiday hole. It will also help you get a head start on the New Year.
What is your financial goal for the coming year? Are you hoping to eliminate your credit card debt? Save enough for an epic family vacation? Or maybe set aside enough money to launch that business idea you’ve been thinking about? Whatever your goal, it’s going to be easier to reach when you give yourself an extra 30-60 days to make it happen.
Start making active, purposeful strides toward your goal now, and come January 1, you’ll already be winning.
You’ll Identify as a Do-er Instead of a Procrastinator
Every time you put off something you know you should be doing, you’re reinforcing your identity as someone who procrastinates. James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, asserts that, “Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity.”
Instead of waiting until January (whereby casting your vote in your identity as a procrastinator), start building your healthy financial habits today, and cast your vote in your identity as a woman of action!
This identity element is critical to building and maintaining new habits. When you identify as a smart spender, smart spending will effortlessly be part of your lifestyle. And to build that identity, you need to start taking actions that cast votes in that direction today.
You’ll Have Room For Another New Year’s Resolution
By giving yourself the next several weeks to build your new spending habit, smart spending will become your new normal by New Year. And that means you’ll have excess motivation and energy that you can put toward tackling another resolution!
You could go with one of the standards: eat healthier, exercise more, read everyday…
Or you could take advantage of your financial moment to further improve your finances. There are so many financial milestones you can achieve in the New Year:
Pay off your credit cards
Build an emergency fund
Get your retirement savings on track
Wipe out your student loans
Start your New Year’s Resolution now to avoid the holiday pitfall, get a head start on your goals, build your identity as a smart spender, and make room for an additional New Year’s Resolution in January. By this time next year, money will no longer be a source of stress but a tool for achieving the lifestyle of your dreams.
Happy (Early) New Year!
Michelle Clardie teaches #HappyMoneyManagement to women who want to make saving and investing more fun. She recently traded in her corporate career to move abroad and blog full-time. Check her out at savingsandsangria.com.