7 Alternative Financial Resolutions for 2021
I don’t know about you, but I don’t tend to keep my New Year’s resolutions. So much so that I opted out of doing them for the last little while. It’s not that goals aren’t great things to strive for, but coming up with vague goals isn’t effective–you set them and move on within a month or so.
Another challenge is that our financial goals tend to be boring or take a long time to achieve. Yes, it’s important to set aside money for retirement or make sure your beneficiaries are up to date on your life insurance policy, but where’s the fun in it all?
Instead, find a way to work towards a sound financial future while having fun along the way. I’m not suggesting that you ignore financial goals like set and budget and all that. What I am saying is that you can incorporate these seven alternative financial resolutions so you can start off 2021 with a bang.
1. Learn a New Essential Skill Each Month
Learning a new skill can be for fun, but it can help you save money in the long run, directly and indirectly.
Here are some ideas:
- Jog for 15 minutes a day – Learning to run (or any type of exercise really) can be a great way to stay in shape and find like-minded people to socialize with. As your health improves, your medical bills can go down because you won’t need to visit the doctor as often.
- Learn a new recipe – Grab a cookbook or queue up some Youtube videos and find dishes you think you and your family enjoy. Not only will you have delicious meals, but you’re saving money by not dining out.
Whatever new skill you do decide to learn, make sure to break it down into manageable tasks. For example, consider downloading an app that teaches you to run a 5k within a few weeks so you can ease into it.
2. Determine Your Core Values
Creating a budget isn’t exactly fun for most people but there is a way to help you make it more purposeful: determining your core values. Your values help guide most of your decisions throughout life and can help you feel happier in your life, so why not incorporate it with your finances?
To start, determine what your values are–sit down as a family if you want to. If you’re finding this tricky, figure out when you felt the happiest or if there were any purchases you made that helped you feel that way.
Once you have a list of values, you can use these to think about your current spending and adjust accordingly. For example, if you really value community but you haven’t taken the time to invite friends over for a meal, perhaps you can schedule that in and make room in the budget to do so.
3. Practice Negotiation Skills
Practicing the art of conversation can help you deepen your relationships. Being able to truly listen to one another means that you can increase the quality of your interactions and feel more connected to one another.
Negotiation also falls into the art of conversation as well. Think what you can do with this new skill–get a raise, successfully ask for a higher salary at a new job, lower your cable bills and more.
4. Support Your Local Businesses
Becoming a customer of local businesses can help keep the money in your community and can help you build relationships with those around you. Plus if you own your own business, supporting others could mean that others will want to support your business too.
It could mean spending a bit more compared to a big box store, but local businesses also feature products that these places might not have. Local businesses also include community banks and credit unions. Becoming a member of a credit union means you’re benefiting those around you as many use some of the proceeds to fund community charity projects.
5. Practice Gratitude
When you’re grateful for what you have, you’ll feel content and tend to want less. In other words, you could spend less money on useless items because you feel like you have more than enough.
Starting a gratitude practice doesn’t need to be complicated. You can start by writing one thing you’re grateful for in your daily planner, by reflecting on the good parts of your day before you head off to sleep or while meditating. Incorporate it into an existing routine to help make it stick.
6. Start a Legacy Binder
It might sound morbid to think about legacy, but think of it as an act of love towards those you care about. Yes, you want to have an estate plan in place (like having your will notarized) but you can also pass on things like your stories, and memories you want your heirs to keep. This can also be the place to store information like bank accounts or security boxes.
To do so, you can purchase a simple notebook and start jotting down whatever you want. Over time, you may want to organize your thoughts and go as far as writing letters to individuals.
7. Find More Joy
Money is also meant to be a source of joy, so make an intention to spend it on things that really make you happy. Even better, find some way to spend time doing things you love–you’d be surprised at how little that can cost. For me, being able to head to the local coffee by myself, order a latte, and read a book for an hour brings me joy and costs me around $5.
Now that you’ve read this list of alternative financial resolutions, keep in mind that you don’t have to do them all at once or only during the new year. Whatever you choose, hopefully, you’ll find some worthwhile and meaningful goals to work towards in 2021. Then you can sit back and reflect at the end of next year on all the wonderful things that have transpired in your life.