How to Make Money Resolutions That Pay Off

Photo (cc) by 401(K) 2012

When it comes to making New Year’s resolutions about money, most Americans know what they need to do – and they seem to know they’re not gonna do it.

At least, that’s what a new survey from the Allianz Life Insurance Company indicates…

Even though 2011 saw high unemployment, sagging home prices and a volatile stock market, 80 percent of Americans said that they will not focus on financial planning with their resolutions for 2012. This lack of financial focus is at the highest level in the survey’s three-year history, exceeding the 67 percent who ignored financial planning when making resolutions in both 2009 and 2010.

The reasons aren’t hard to guess…

  • 35 percent said they weren’t making a New Year’s resolution about their finances because they “don’t make enough to worry about it.”
  • 17 percent said it’s because they “don’t have an advisor/financial professional” to guide them.
  • 23 percent said they already “have a solid financial plan.”

That simply doesn’t make sense. If you earn anything at all, you should worry about keeping more of it. If you have nobody to guide you, that’s what websites like Money Talks News are for. And no one’s financial plan is so solid they don’t need to revisit it at least annually.

But if you’re going to make a New Year’s resolution about your money, take the advice of the experts who say, “It’s not so much the resolution as it is how attainable or realistic the goal is.” (Or so said clinical psychologist Dr. John Norcross to National Public Radio.)

Here are a half-dozen very easy-to-attain financial resolutions that require only minutes of your time…

1. Resolve to order your free credit reports – but only from AnnualCreditReport.com. You’ve probably heard that you’re entitled to free credit reports from each of the big three reporting agencies (TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax). But don’t order them from anywhere else but this government-approved site – because it’s the only place they’re truly free. Those other sites you see in commercials try to sell you services you don’t need. Read Why Can’t I Get My Free Credit Report?

2. Resolve to shop generic in your grocery store. This is so easy to do, yet so hard for some folks to believe – yes, generic groceries can be a bargain without any drop-off in quality. When Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson listed 7 Things You Should Always Buy Generic last year, he got hate mail. But he followed it up with What’s in a (Brand) Name? and we actually interviewed some grocers in More Good Reasons to Go Generic in the Grocery Store. They say Stacy was right.

3. Resolve to save money on medicine. Turns out generics are just as good at the pharmacy as the grocery. And there are other oh-so-simple ways to save. Our 10 Tips to Safely Save on Prescriptions are doctor-approved.

4. Shop online at reputable websites you never knew existed. Sure, you can save at Amazon and eBay under the right circumstances. But there are much smaller sites offering big deals to attract attention. We list them at 12 Top-Rated Shopping Sites You Never Heard Of.

5. Spend exactly five minutes searching for a new credit card. First, read How to Pick the Perfect Credit Card. Then go to our Credit Card Search Tool and look up the terms that fit your needs. Don’t fret, our search tool is unbiased – we’re not in the pocket of any credit card company.

6. Find the best deals in seconds. There are a lot of websites out there that scour the Internet for discounts and coupons on every item under the sun. But almost all of them are automated, and you can spend hours finding deals that actually apply to your life. Money Talks News’ Deals & Coupons section isn’t some robotic search – we hired a real live person to cherry-pick only the best deals. Check out Karla’s short list of stellar deals on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Of course, we recommend you click around our entire site whenever you have the time – because our New Year’s resolution is to find you even more ways to make you richer in 2012.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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