Three tips to accomplish your New Year’s financial resolutions in 2012

Miss Money Bee

New Year’s resolutions that center around your finances are a time-honored tradition in the U.S., and the prospects of accomplishing new goals and enjoying new experiences can make you feel optimistic and positive. But once the holiday high wears off, the hard part kicks in: sticking to your goals.

This can be especially true if you’re saddled with holiday debt or going through tough financial times as a result of the economy. But there is always room for improvement no matter your position and keeping three uplifting and effective tips in mind can lead you down the path of financial independence.

1. Set concrete goals
Knowing exactly what you’re trying to accomplish vs. setting abstract goals can make a huge difference in whether or not you achieve them – as well as your own personal sense of accomplishment. For example, if you set a goal to save $5,000 over the course of the year, you can pinpoint exactly how much you need to save from each paycheck to reach your mark and put a plan in motion. If you say, “I want to save more this year,” you may not be as motivated to put a concrete, finite amount into a savings fund and fail to reach your financial potential.

2. Be realistic
It’s great to be ambitious and make a plan to pay off your student loan in full or make a 20 percent down payment on your mortgage. But if your income doesn’t support these goals, you are likely to get discouraged and give up altogether. Instead, set a benchmark for reaching large goals and take things a step at a time. Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day and it may take time to achieve what you want. But setting goals that allow you to measure your progress can keep you motivated and excited about your financial ventures.

3. Set reminders and use visual aids
Once you start to settle into a new year, it’s easy to forget about your goal to put $20 extra toward your credit card bill each week or save enough to take a cruise this summer. But keeping visual images, such as travel brochures or pictures of your dream home, can remind you to stay on track when you’re tempted to slip up. Just remember that even though the steps you are taking may seem small, they will result in a healthier financial position and more independence.

Good luck and let us know what your New Year Money Resolutions are!