12 financial resolutions from Finder experts to tackle in 2020

Posted: 24 January 2020 2:32 pm
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New year, new … financial mood. Our in-house experts pull back the curtain on personal money goals for 2020. Like new year’s bells, these tips might ring true to you. Cheers!

Open a high-APY savings account

Tina Gao headshot

Tina Gao

Account Coordinator

“On graduation, I pondered whether I should pay off my student loans first or invest. I ultimately decided to open up a brokerage account. Each month, I aggressively allocate a high percentage of my salary into stocks and index fund trackers. I will eventually open up a higher-APY savings account to save up for an emergency fund. A mantra I go by is “If I don’t love it, I don’t buy it.”

Max out retirement accounts

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Roslyn McKenna

Insurance Publisher

“My husband and I set a resolution to amp up our retirement savings this year. Our finances are mostly on track with our emergency fund, a Roth IRA and whole life insurance. But we also want to max out both of our 401(k)s and open an index fund this year. To accomplish this, I’ve already picked out an index fund and adjusted my 401(k) contributions. We also set a challenge of paying off our house in 10 years, instead of 15, so we plan to make a few extra mortgage payments this year.”

Save for a down payment

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Sarah George

Insurance Writer

“We’re saving aggressively for a steep down payment on a house this year. But it’s a personal goal to do that while leaving wiggle room for fun. We’ve learned to find cheap activities we like and focus our spending on areas that make us happy: coffee shops versus restaurants, matinee movies, hiking, local events. Splurges are calculated: Would we rather have new furniture or a night out? But we prioritize having fun and making memories.”

Build an emergency fund

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Anna Serio

Loans Writer

“I’ve always been bad at saving. Even if I’m preparing for a big trip or a new computer, I just let my money collect in my checking account (which charges a fee). So one thing I’ve resolved to do this year is build an actual emergency fund in a low-cost, high-yield savings account. That way, I can make sure I’m actually prepared for when the unexpected happens — and don’t ever have to take out a personal loan at the last minute.”

Audit streaming services

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Kathryn Pomroy

Loans Writer

“We have to sit down in January (or early February) and figure out how many streaming services — Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Apple TV — we actually pay for every month. My 30-year-old son moved home to save money while he pays his school loans, and so he’s also adding to the mayhem (think Allstate). I thought autopay would save us time and energy every month, but we can’t seem to keep track of the payments going out, because we all use different services. It’s a mess, and it’s time to gain a little control.”

Research and maintain before buying anything

Adrienne Fuller headshot

Adrienne Fuller

Head of Publishing

“Every year I waste money on lots of small preventable things. I’ve dripped yellow mustard on brand-new sweaters, gotten tickets I could have avoided by parking a few blocks farther away, forgotten to submit rebates on time, neglected to use my credit card perks and (I am ashamed to admit) paid full price for purchases that could have waited for sales. This year I resolve to be more careful in my planned spending, put in extra effort to do the research and prevent surprises, and do the maintenance required to take care of my things so they don’t break.”

Get a better travel rewards card

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Sarah Barness

Credit Cards Editor

“I’ve always hesitated to get a credit card with an annual fee. But this year, I want to take a closer look at my spending habits to determine if paying a fee for a card with higher rewards would be worth it. I specifically want to look into getting a better travel rewards card, since I fly across the country often to visit my parents.”

Take out cash weekly to keep to a budget

Gabrielle Pastorek headshot

Gabrielle Pastorek

Shopping Writer

“We are saving for a wedding this year, so any extra that we can stash away helps. To do this, we’re trying to budget out weekly spending money and withdraw that in cash at the beginning of each week. That way, we know exactly how much we’re spending and can make better decisions about whether we really need to buy something. So far, it’s been a real eye-opener as to how much we spend on little things that can add up to significant savings.”

Order delivery food less often

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Casey McNulty

Performance Director

“My most immediately impactful resolution in 2020 is to order less delivery food. Between work, workouts and socializing, I got into a bad habit of ordering food most weeknights. That combined with my weekend restaurant activity means I’m spending way too much of my budget on food — and it’s not even always good food! I’m spinning this into an opportunity to get better at cooking, which is something I’m interested in, but ultimately it’s a resolution aimed at my bottom line.”

Budget comfort splurges

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Rhys Subitch

Editor and Writer

“I’m making it my 2020 goal to get a better handle on my sporadic cathartic consumption. While I won’t be cutting out comfort splurges completely, I am going to try to nix the ‘sporadic’ part. Given my partner and I are both video game enthusiasts, we made a loose schedule of when all must-have releases are coming out and budgeting around them.”

Streamline and simplify finances

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Kelly Waggoner

Editor-in-Chief

“My family and I have made it our goal to streamline our finances. Years of job changes, periodic unemployment and leveraging signup bonuses has left us with bank, investment and credit card accounts strewn all over the place. After 10+ years of marriage, we finally got a joint Amex, canceling our other cards. And we’re taking the random statements arriving to our doorstep as reminders to consolidate where we can. The feeling of financial lightness motivates yet more hygiene. Let’s see how strongly it sticks.”

Plan and prep meals to cut down dining out

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Shannon Terrell

Incubation Writer

“My fiance and I are saving for our wedding this summer. We keep vendors and associated costs organized with spreadsheets and have committed to cutting back on nonessential spending. Our biggest splurges were date-night dinners, so we’re opting for at-home meals. We do weekly meal prep on Sundays and cook together a few nights a week. Budgeting for a wedding is tough, but it’s forced us to take a hard look at our spending habits. We want to keep up the financial discipline even after the wedding is over.”

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