Personal finance resolutions should be a focus for most Americans.  According to the American Psychological Association, roughly 93% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions.  Whether it is to exercise more, eat healthier or get that emergency savings fund going, we all have something we want to improve upon. Whatever your motivation is, financial resolutions should definitely be at the top of your list.

With that being said, many people will either cheat or not complete their resolutions.  In an effort to make you more prepared to see your personal finance resolutions to completion, we’ve compiled a list of the most common resolutions and what things you can do to help make sure you stick to them.

Make adding to your emergency fund a priority

Approximately half of Americans do not have any type of emergency savings fund. This is a big deal for big reasons.  Without having savings put aside for life’s unexpected but inevitable expenses, you put yourself at risk for financial catastrophe.  For this reason, this is one of those personal finance resolutions you don’t want to skip.  Building up reserves should be step one of any financial makeover. It is recommended to have between 12 to 18 months income saved.

This may sound like an impossible task but you should first understand that this is not meant to happen quickly. You want to add to your savings little by little. With that being said,  it should be something you do consistently with every paycheck.  Come up with a dollar amount and set up automatic transfers.  You can’t spend what you don’t have.

Pay your bills first

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One of the first things you should do on payday is take care of your monthly bills. This is one of the best ways to stay in line with your financial goals.  If not, it can be tempting to see your account full and start spending money you really don’t have.

By doing this, you will have a true picture of what you truly can and can’t afford. Furthermore, it will help you avoid any late payments that can wind up damaging your credit score.  Also, when you pay your bills early, you help give a boost to your credit utilization since you are paying your debt down.

Add to your retirement savings

Saving for retirement is essential to your future financial health and a definite add to your personal finance resolution list.  So many people are not contributing to their retirement savings or they feel that they are not saving enough.  With so many Americans feeling like they may never get to retire, taking a close look at your retirement prospects this coming year is important.

One of the first places to look at when it comes to retirement savings is your employer-sponsored 401k.  This plan allows you to contribute pretax income into an investment account.  In many cases, the employer will match a portion of your contribution.  If they don’t, you should still try and max out on your contributions.

As we enter 2020, The IRS has raised the contribution limits for your 401k.  You can now contribute up to $19,500. If you are 50 and older, your max contribution was raised to $6,500. If you don’t have a 401k through work, you can open your own an individual retirement account (IRA),  Roth IRA or Roth 401(k).

Give a boost to your credit score

Are you aware of what your credit score is?  You should be.  It is one of the most important numbers tied to your name.  Your credit score is essential when it comes to getting any financing and other financial services you may need.  This means paying more for car insurance if you have a low score or paying higher interest on a loan.

There are simple steps you can start taking right away.  You can help improve your score by ensuring you are making monthly payments on time, paying down your debt and not applying for more credit.  If your credit is really suffering, you may want to consider the route of credit repair.

Eat at home more

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This may seem more of a resolution for your health but it is just as much of an important resolution for your finances. Nowadays, people are eating less and less at home and more at fast food chains and restaurants.  Life has become busy and taking time to cook at home has fallen to the way side.   You may think hitting the drive thru is not costing much, but if you were to add up the amount of money spent on eating outside of the house, you would be shocked.

Meal prepping is a great way to avoid the urge to eat out.  Spend a Sunday either cooking or prepping for the week and you will not only see the benefits in savings but also in how you feel.