The most effective way to keep the financial resolutions you made for 2022 is to make them realistic in the first place because this is the only way to honor them in the long run.
None of us know what the coming year will bring. It is tempting (especially after the excesses of Christmas) to make a list of what we need to do to rectify what we’ve done. This especially applies to frugality choices.
This article explores ways to commit to and achieve our resolutions by creating a list of the smallest and simplest of hopes.
Why does the last month tend to bring yearnings for a new personal budget?
The final month of the calendar year is all about winding down and celebrating. So, it is when families visit, friends get together, and budgets are blown as we plan our celebrations for Christmas.
Regardless of the country or the season, finishing off a year requires assessing our lives so far and resolving what we find wanting. And this applies especially to recent spending and lifestyle choices.
What do we typically hope to achieve with our new frugality?
By applying a dose of abstinence to the new year’s calendar, many people hope to redress the excesses and indulgences of Christmas.
However, new year’s resolutions typically extend into the rest of the year as well, and the idea of frugality extends to every area of our lives.
Things that people hope to improve, develop, change, reduce, expand, or achieve include:
- Health, both physical and mental.
- Relationships, both personal and work-related.
- Finance, both personal and family.
- Education, both formal and individual.
- Experience, both lifestyle, and learning.
- Career opportunities, both solo and with a company.
A typical resolution list might look like this:
- Cutting down on certain foods and alcohol.
- No longer eat out or order takeout.
- Read the 100 Must-Read Books of the 20th century.
- Make new relationships.
- Pay off all your debts.
- Spend less money.
- Get a higher-paying job.
- Study for a degree.
- Travel more.
- Clean up the house.
What makes it so challenging, even impossible, to achieve many resolutions of frugality?
Unfortunately, the new year also brings new energy, interests, and plans. Most of these will involve spending money, committing time, and using energy.
Therefore, we need to focus on this “danger period” and re-adjust its focus.
For example, consider the following scenarios, now recast from the previous list to be a little more achievable:
- Cut down on alcohol on weekdays only. This is still a good achievement and it will save money.
- Only order takeout one day a week. This is still a treat.
- Make a strict schedule to reduce current debts slowly but steadily, and a moderate household budget for all spending.
- Spend time discovering what you love instead of what you need to achieve.
- Choose one local travel destination – a place you have never visited.
What’s the best way to apply a dose of reality to my 2022 resolutions?
The easiest way to make your financial resolutions realistic is to ask specific questions, and if they pass the test, they are probably valuable and achievable.
- How long will it take? Short and simple tasks are more likely to be achieved. This is because long-term goals are challenging to begin, let alone complete. Even if your goal is to achieve an eventual house makeover, your resolution should be listed as just the first task – even if this task will only take half an hour.
- Do I want it? The high season can provoke some very ambitious resolutions. However, if a re-examination of these reveals humbler and more realistic goals, then let yourself off the hook. For example, instead of running a half marathon, write “try a YouTube yoga session” instead. It is clear which of these is most likely to be achieved – and yet both have equal potential to be beneficial.
- Did I make this frugal resolution for myself or to impress others? Of course, this is the most confronting and challenging point to consider. However, regardless of how clear your answer is, a resolution made for the benefit of others is the least likely to capture your heart for long or to attract your real energy at all.
What is the best way to stay focused on my frugal resolutions?
After making your list and examining it for counterfeit declarations, rewrite it in the most personal terms you can. This makes it your list.
Anything still on your list is likely to be there for the right reasons. If a long and arduous goal remains, it is meant to.
Consider ways to break it up into small, simple, and attractive pieces – read more from The Frugal Biddy.
Keeping resolutions of frugality and applying them to our lives has never been easy, especially when the decisions have been made at the hectic and heady end of the year.
However, by realizing that frugality can also embrace simplicity and humility, we can reform our promises and achieve our desires.
Image by Iryna Imalgo