5 Money Resolutions to Add to Next Year's To-Do List

Get a head start on the new year by setting high-impact and achievable money goals.

When the countdown to the new year begins, most people are throwing financial caution to the wind—what with holiday spending and end-of-year sales. As counterintuitive as it might sound, the end of the year is also a good season to take stock of financial goals and set New Year's money resolutions. Before buying gadgets and gifts, goal-setters should learn where their dollars earn the most value and figure out how to stop impulse buying altogether.

Take stock of those lingering tasks on your to-do list and roll over any goals left to be achieved. Most importantly, don't wait until the last minute to set money resolutions that could change your life forever. These five goals are money musts that shouldn't be put off for yet another year.

Top Financial Resolutions

01 of 05

Learn more about an investing tool that intimidates you.

For some, maybe it's real estate investing; for others, it's cryptocurrencies and NFTs. Even stocks, exchange traded funds, or bonds have some gray areas that could truly improve your financial life. No matter how money savvy you believe you are, we all have blind spots. Choose one method of investing that intimidates you, and resolve to overcome it.

Remember: The point is not to convince yourself that this investment vehicle is right for you. Instead, it's to prove that you can learn enough about even the scariest of money topics (and make independent decisions that are fact-based). If you don't know where to begin, consider Dominique Broadway's free Investing Masterclass to identify where you need the most help.

02 of 05

Get a grip on credit card debt.

Lauren Bringle, an accredited financial counselor at Self Financial, a fintech company on a mission to help people build credit and savings, says it is time to shop smarter. "Be mindful about what you put on your credit card," says Bringle. "If you save money buying something on sale but spend the next few years paying off your shopping spree on your credit card, you didn't actually save money. Carrying too large a balance on your credit card could also hurt your credit score. So if you dream about things like buying a new house or car or applying for a new credit card in the next few months, it's essential to keep your credit healthy."

While you can transfer high interest debt to a low or zero APR card or personal loan, it's best to be thoughtful about holiday spending and to be modest with indulgences to stay on track to meet bigger goals. If you're not sure where to begin to pay off your personal debt, check out First Gen Money's brief and informative YouTube Video series.

03 of 05

Pick a discount or rewards program—and stick to it.

We've all been tempted by one cash-back program or another, but big rewards accumulate over time and with momentum. Colleen McCreary, financial advocate and chief people officer at Credit Karma, says that more people should take advantage of credit card points and rewards programs.

"Make sure the card you're using to shop is going the extra mile for you, whether that means earning you points for every purchase or cash back," she suggests. "And, once you have enough points, use them! Call your credit card company and see what your credit card reward points can get you."

If you don't know where to begin, try The Points Guy's Beginner Guide. And no matter which program you choose, make those rewards count by consistently using the same program over the year.

04 of 05

Integrate giving into every dollar you spend.

Conscious consumerism is here to stay. Take the time to research the companies and brands where you spend the most money.

Now more than ever, it's easy to make sure that your ethics align with your favorite brands' corporate values and practices. If you're an Amazon user, try Amazon Launchpad to find small, newer brands to shop—or Brightly, a sustainability platform that features eco-friendly content, community, and brand recommendations that ignite change. Or better yet, take your purchases offline to local brick-and-mortar shops and restaurants that make an impact on your community.

05 of 05

Teach financial literacy to a kid in your life.

The book Rich Dad Poor Dad, by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter, is a timeless personal finance classic. Love it or hate it, the book shows that kids are impressionable and that the people in their lives have the ability to make or break the money stories they carry into adulthood. But parents aren't the only educators when it comes to personal finance; it takes a village and teachers, neighbors, mentors, and older peers also have a part to play.

Next year, resolve to talk to a child in your life about money and the financial literacy habits they'll need to succeed. Read books together that can explain what money is and how it works. Break the habit of gifting kids depreciating assets and consumer goods; instead, give stocks or bonds to teach them about investing at an early age. Educate teens about the wealth and wage gap. Resolve to be a money mentor, so that the next generation gets a head start on financial literacy.

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