New year's money resolutions you can actually stick to

The start of a new year is a great time to focus on your financial fitness, and just like any other New Year's resolution, financial goals need to be realistic and achievable.

Our top finance resolutions for 2020 may be simple to action, but they will pack a real financial punch if you can stick to them for 12 months.

1. Set up an automatic savings plan

This is a set and forget task that guarantees results. You could open a high interest savings account and have a nominated amount transferred every pay day. As your savings grow, pledge to keep a minimum balance as your emergency fund. If you’re hit with an unexpected expense, you can use the savings you've built.

2. Make better use of your credit card

Use your credit card more wisely in 2020 by paying off the entire balance each month. If you frequently pay with a credit card, take full advantage of any loyalty or rewards program to redeem gift cards, flights and so on. Many Australians have more than one credit card. If this is you, you could look at consolidating all your cards into one. You might be able to manage any lingering debt using a zero interest balance transfer or interest-free introductory offer. Yes, it’s a bit of a hassle to swap all your recurring payments, but the savings could be well worth the effort.

3. Pay your bills on payday

Be disciplined about paying your bills on payday and limiting your discretionary spending to the funds you have left. It can help to set up direct debits to pay your bills. That way, they'll be paid automatically when they're due, you'll save yourself time and also get a clearer picture of how much cash you can splash for the rest of the month.

4. Boost your financial literacy

Money management isn’t routinely taught in schools, so you could be one of the many Australians who lack confidence around managing their personal finances. Getting a handle on the essentials may seem like a daunting task, but you really only need to commit to half an hour a week to boost your financial knowledge. In that time, you could read a chapter of a popular book like The Barefoot Investor or A Real Girl's Guide to Money, or check out leading blogs like the Aussie Finance Blog or MoneyMag. Not a fan of reading? Listen to a podcast when you're on the move. We like The Australian Finance Podcast and She's On The Money.

5. Save up for something you really want

Discipline deserves a reward. You’re much more likely to stick to your resolutions if you allow yourself a treat. You could allocate part of your savings to fund a holiday. Or you could update your furniture or wardrobe. Paying cash for these big ticket items is a real thrill and will keep you motivated well into 2020.

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