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The best New Year's resolution isn't a resolution - it's a lifestyle change

According to a recent NBC news report, just 8 percent of people keep their New Year's Resolutions. So how do you find success when it comes to financial New Year's Resolutions? Simple. Instead of choosing a resolution that requires dramatic commitment that may be hard to maintain, you make a minor lifestyle change instead, one that you'll be able to stick to throughout the year and beyond.

These ideas will help you choose one small change you can make to help you move forward towards your 2017 financial goals, and show you how to successfully incorporate that change into your lifestyle.

Make One Minor Spending Change You'll Stick To 

When it comes to making financial changes that will stick, smaller is better. Smaller changes are easier to adjust to because they don’t disrupt your life in a major way.
Think about how you spend money and where you could cut back a few dollars each day or week. Choose a small spending habit that doesn't require dramatically altering your routine all at once.
For example, turn down your thermostat as you leave for work each day in the winter. Turn it down just one degree each day this week, then two degrees next week, and so on until you’ve turned it down about four degrees. By making this minor change into a daily habit you’ll save money on your heating bill. Then when summer rolls around, do the reverse to save on your air conditioning bill.
Or maybe you enjoy lunch out every weekday. One small change could be to start bringing your lunch on Mondays using weekend-meal leftovers. Even saving $6.00 on one weekly lunch adds up over time - that’s $350 over 50 work weeks to use towards boosting your savings or paying down debt. Use this handy lunch saving calculator to calculate your own savings over time. 

Scale Up Your Change 

Once you've successfully stuck with your small spending change for six weeks or a couple of months, and are comfortable with your new routine, make your change bigger - scale it up to save a little more money. Here’s how it works.
Say your goal was to cut back on spending, and you started a “brown-bag lunch on Mondays” habit. Why not cut back more by bringing your lunch on Tuesdays as well? Saving an additional $350 by avoiding another lunch out doubles your annual savings.

Apply Your Change to Other Spending Areas 

It feels good to successfully make a lifestyle change and sustaining it over time, even if it’s a tiny change. And one small lifestyle adjustment may lead to other money-saving sustainable changes.
You cut back on spending money on lunches by making your own a couple of days a week, so your minor change could be thought of as “DIY to Save Dollars”. What other small things can you do yourself to save money?  Tons! Here’s a few:

  • Buy snacks in bulk from Costco or a warehouse store instead of spending money on expensive coffee-break treats

  • Make coffee at home instead of buying it at the coffee shop

  • Colour your own hair or use an inexpensive touch-up kit between salon visits

  • Use a grocery app like “Checkout 51” to save money on things you already buy

  • Use a point saving app like “Drop” daily to earn points on top of the rewards you already get from using your credit and debit cards.

Build on your first small success by applying your money-saving methods to other areas in your life. Here are a few more money-saving tips that you could easily incorporate into your lifestyle. 

Automate Your Lifestyle Change

One of the easiest ways to stick with a lifestyle change, especially when it comes to your financial lifestyle, is to automate it. Take the decision to save $50 more each month out of your own hands. Instead, simply set up an auto-transfer to your savings account, RESP, RRSP or TFSA to build your savings automatically.
For more ideas on how to make gradual changes to benefit your finances in the long-run, visit your Meridian branch today.