It’s five days into the new year, and, as much as we’ve got big plans to keep our resolutions straight through 2011 and into 2012, we’ve promised ourselves that those resolutions will at least carry us though March.
Studies have shown that social pressure can help people achieve their goals—for example, tweeting weight loss progress can help people lose more because others know if they slack. So, although we have no intention of telling you how we’re coming along with that holiday weight gain, we will share our financial resolutions. We encourage you to do the same.
Read on for a sampling of financial resolutions from some the LearnVest team, and chime in with your own resolutions in the comments section below.
Alexa von Tobel, CEO: “This is the first year I literally sat down with my whole annual calendar and planned out all the things I want to do this year, and for the next five years. From buying friends' wedding gifts far in advance to budgeting for long-term goals like a house, my resolution is to make sure I do them! One of the big ones is to avoid all fees in 2011! No more pesky bank or A.T.M. fees.”
Allison Fast, Head of Marketing: “To take a more proactive role in managing my taxes and claim all the benefits I am entitled to! I've been meaning to check out TurboTax forever to help me organize my taxes, and this year I'll finally do it.”
John Gardner, Chief Operating Officer: “To use discount restaurant sites like BlackboardEats or VillageVines in New York to save money on restaurants I would be dining at anyway. Also, I’d like to get rid of cable TV and just use the internet and iTunes to watch my programs.”
Jacquelyn White, Head of Sales: “My resolution is to understand where all of my money goes…because not enough of it is going into my savings account.”
Trevor Wilson, Software Developer: “My resolution is to pay off my credit card and student loan debt (finally).”
Allison Kade, Content Editor: “My goal is to remember that, as long as I have a good emergency fund and keep adding to my IRA for retirement savings, it’s okay to splurge every now and then. I just got the 2011 Michelin Guide. The other day, I downloaded a Scoob coupon for One if by Land, Two if by Sea—a restaurant that’s normally out of my price range—but I figure that it’s okay to treat myself sometimes. Especially if I’ve got that coupon in hand.”
Alison Rogers, LV Real Estate Expert: “I think I do a pretty good job of managing my finances—especially over the past couple of years, where I feel like I should get a medal that says 'I survived the recession!' My husband and I bought a bigger place in 2009, when home prices dipped, and held onto our stocks instead of selling out of fear. But my resolution for 2011 is to check in with an outside investment counselor -- just to show him or her the whole picture and make sure that I'm 'on track' for big goals like kids and retirement.”
Manisha Thakor, LV Investing Expert: “In 2011 I really want to focus on making sure my family's hard earned money is going toward things that truly bring us the greatest amount of joy. Increasingly I'm noticing that means experiences & giving to others as opposed to acquiring stuff. My inner minimalist is really excited at the thought of spending less while receiving more joy... and incorporating that mental framework into everyday decisions such as how to shop for food or spend time socializing with friends.”
Tiffany Cowley, Creative Director: “I want to cook more. I love eating in, and I see such a difference in our monthly expenses when we brown bag it for lunch. I am obsessed with the Epicurious iPhone and iPad app, so I have no excuses!”
Libby Kane, Staff Writer: “I resolve to allow myself to spend more money on fun! A budget is no good if you're agonizing over it every minute. Now that I'm moving to New York, I can take advantage of the tempting LivingSocial deals that keep landing in my inbox. Flower-arranging classes, here I come!”
Kaitlin Butler, Former Intern: “My resolutions are to keep up with my new (first!) credit card into the new year, to get my finances a bit more organized for my adult life after college (and to know what's what more than I do), and to make a concerted effort to understand stock portfolios.”
Fiona Maguire, Former Intern: “My resolution is actually to spend a bit more money on the clothes that I buy. It sounds counterintuitive, but I generally don't like spending much money and am apt to buy cheaper clothes that end up being of lower quality and which don't last very long. Especially since I'm getting ready to leave college and go into the ‘real world’ where I'll need a more professional wardrobe, I'm trying to move toward spending a bit more on better-made, higher quality pieces that will last me years and years!”