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Financial New Year’s resolutions are really common, but they can be some of the toughest to stick with. If you choose the right resolutions, though, and use the right tools, you should be able to make a big positive difference in your finances this year.

Here are seven different resolutions you might make and a bunch of resources that will help you out.

One quick note: when making your resolutions, make sure they’re specific enough that you’ll be able to actually monitor your progress. That’s one of the most important parts of setting a good goal 3 Science-Backed Steps to Finally Achieve Your Goals 3 Science-Backed Steps to Finally Achieve Your Goals You have already started thinking of New Year resolutions. Maybe, you didn't achieve all of them this year. Here are three specific steps you need to take if you're serious about your goals. Read More .

1. Create and stick to a budget.

budgeting

According to a 2013 Gallup poll, only 32% of surveyed Americans create a detailed monthly budget.

I won’t lie to you — it’s not easy. You’ll have to make some calculations and then use a lot of willpower to stick to the budget that you set. Fortunately, there are a few helpful tools out there.

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We’ve shown you great Excel budget templates 10 Helpful Spreadsheet Templates To Help Manage Your Finances 10 Helpful Spreadsheet Templates To Help Manage Your Finances Wouldn't it be great if you knew where your money was, at all times? Read More , given you an example of how to create a custom personal budget Make a Personal Budget on Excel in 4 Easy Steps Make a Personal Budget on Excel in 4 Easy Steps Read More , detailed 7 baby steps to finally start budgeting 7 Baby Steps to Finally Start Saving and Budgeting Your Money with EveryDollar 7 Baby Steps to Finally Start Saving and Budgeting Your Money with EveryDollar EveryDollar is made by personal finance guru Dave Ramsey. We look at how it can help get your finances on the right track. Read More , showed you how to manage your financial life with Mint A Beginner's Guide to Managing Your Money with Mint A Beginner's Guide to Managing Your Money with Mint When it comes to free online budget tracking, Mint is king. Read More , explained a Google Forms budgeting method Use This Google Form Budget Trick to Control Your Spending Use This Google Form Budget Trick to Control Your Spending We show you a step-by-step guide on how a simple combination of Google tools can help you track your spending with a fantastic level of detail. Read More , and we post new budgeting tips and tricks all the time right here in our Finance section.

With all of the resources around here, you should be able to find the best tool for you. Then all you need to do is start using it!

2. Save more.

savings-jar

This is a really common one, and it’s probably a resolution that everyone should make. No matter how much you’re saving, it’s not a bad idea to save more! However, just saying “save more” isn’t a very good resolution: you need a specific savings plan 7 Tools To Help You Develop A Solid Financial Savings Plan 7 Tools To Help You Develop A Solid Financial Savings Plan Read More .

How much do you want to save? When do you want to have that much money? A common goal is to have an emergency fund that could cover three months of expenses, and that’s a great place to start (don’t forget saving for retirement Now Is The Time: Tips To Go Online & Plan For Your Retirement Now Is The Time: Tips To Go Online & Plan For Your Retirement Now is the time to start planning for your retirement. Now is the time to take control of it, and put the responsibility back into your hands. Work at it with some web tools. Read More , though).

Once you’ve figured out how much you want to save, just divide that number by 12, and that’s how much you need to put away each month. Sticking to that goal can be difficult, which is why using a budget app to help you save 5 Budget Apps You Should Use If You Really Want to Save Money 5 Budget Apps You Should Use If You Really Want to Save Money Here are the most effective budget apps currently available. Pick the one you like best. Read More  is a good idea. Set a goal using your chosen app, and make sure it sends you notifications if you aren’t sticking to the plan! Now, adopt some good financial habits How To Start Saving Money And Stop Spending With 4 Easy Habits How To Start Saving Money And Stop Spending With 4 Easy Habits One of the top new year resolutions on many people's lists is to spend less and save more. It's easier said than done, but you can still rely on several apps and tools to help... Read More  for the new year, and you’ll be on your way.

3. Get out of debt.

adam-smith-quote

Another resolution that needs more detail — do you want to completely erase your debt by the end of the year? Cut it in half? Pay off your credit cards and consolidate your student loans? Set a specific goal and come up with a timeline. Make sure it’s a goal that you can meet, too, so you don’t get discouraged.

Now the hard part starts. Read Joel’s fantastic article on the fastest way out of debt How to Get Rich: The Fastest Way to Get Out of Debt How to Get Rich: The Fastest Way to Get Out of Debt Imagine being debt free. No overdrawn balances or unpaid bills. There is a foolproof way of getting yourself out of debt. It starts with a plan and some discipline. Let's visit the other ingredients. Read More to get the hard truths on what you’re going to need to do. You can start by creating an aggressive budget and sticking to it. You’ll also need a good long-term plan for paying off your debts Get Ready For Zero Debt With ReadyForZero Get Ready For Zero Debt With ReadyForZero What do you do if you find yourself chest deep in debt? Wouldn't it be nice to have a tool that does the debt management for you? There is such a tool called ReadyForZero. Read More . Hopefully you won’t have to deal with debt collectors 3 Tips to Beat the Debt Collectors When Facing Bankruptcy (Or Late With Bills) 3 Tips to Beat the Debt Collectors When Facing Bankruptcy (Or Late With Bills) Serious financial problems are among the most stressful situations a person can encounter. Follow these tips to let technology take away some of the burden. Read More , but if you think you might, having a plan for that will help, too.

4. Start investing.

stock-market-graphs

Putting money in the stock market might sound like a terribly risky affair, but in the long term, it’s actually a fairly stable place to park your money — the generally accepted guideline is that you can expect a 6–7% return if your money is invested for 10 years or more. It’s a good bet to take—but you have to get started!

You don’t have to learn everything about investing to get started: you just have to get started How to Start Investing in Stocks Even if You're a Total Beginner How to Start Investing in Stocks Even if You're a Total Beginner Entering the world of investing isn't easy, but thanks to new algorithm-based online tools you can get involved even if you're a beginner. Here are six of the best. Read More . There are a lot of apps and services out there that let you invest a little bit at a time, and we’ve detailed a number of ways to invest faster and cheaper How to Buy Stocks Online Faster, Cheaper, and From Anywhere How to Buy Stocks Online Faster, Cheaper, and From Anywhere It's easy to invest in stocks without a broker and save yourself a lot of money in the process. We show you how with four top tips. Read More  than you can in more traditional ways.

Read up on some good investing websites 8 "Best Online Investing Websites" to Improve Your Gains 8 "Best Online Investing Websites" to Improve Your Gains Investing right is a lot about timeliness. That’s where the right information bolstered by real-time data is the need of the second. The good websites on investment advice go beyond ticker tapes. When you have... Read More , and get started!

5. Drop a bad spending habit (or a few).

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Bad spending habits 8 Online Habits to Kick Because They're Costing You Money 8 Online Habits to Kick Because They're Costing You Money Online shopping is really convenient -- but it can also be really dangerous. Read More are easy to pick up, and they’re very hard to get rid of. Maybe you spend too much on your tech obsession 4 Ways to Prevent Your Tech Obsession From Sucking Away Your Money 4 Ways to Prevent Your Tech Obsession From Sucking Away Your Money Where the heck did all of your money go? Your obsession with technology may be the culprit. Read More , or your bad Facebook habits are costing you 5 Ways Facebook's Lack of Privacy Can Cost You Money 5 Ways Facebook's Lack of Privacy Can Cost You Money Overlooking how Facebook activity could affect your financial life is a big mistake, as many people have found out recently. Here are five ways that actions on Facebook could cost you money. Read More money. Maybe you just don’t have enough self-control when it comes to shopping.

Beyond having a well-planned budget, your best bet is probably to tackle these in the same way you would tackle other bad habits: with cool apps 8+ Nifty Apps That Make Changing Habits Actually Fun 8+ Nifty Apps That Make Changing Habits Actually Fun Building and breaking habits is not always a fun process, but the following apps can help alleviate some of the struggle. They introduce some element that makes habit-changing more tolerable -- maybe even enjoyable! Read More ! We’ve covered gamifying your entire life Points For Everything: How I Tried to Win At Life With Gamification Points For Everything: How I Tried to Win At Life With Gamification My brain is stupid. It thinks I can get done tomorrow what I need to do today, and that I can do this afternoon what I need to do this morning. It puts everything off.... Read More with Habitica, using micro-habits How to Use Micro Habits and Spark Massive Personal Change How to Use Micro Habits and Spark Massive Personal Change Creating new habits is hard. Habits are usually built over weeks or months of repetition, and motivation is the challenge. When the going gets tough, micro-habits can be a huge help. Read More to spur change, and even how to get rid of bad habits How To Kill Bad Habits With Bad Habits In The New Year How To Kill Bad Habits With Bad Habits In The New Year Bad habits can't be all that bad if they can help you in some way. Beat them at their own game by pitting them against each other. Read More with other bad habits.

The first step is identifying your bad habits, and then committing to changing them. That’s often the hardest part.

6. Automate your finances.

ifttt-qapital

Automation has been a hot topic over the past couple years — and why shouldn’t it be? Having tasks get done automatically is a great way to save yourself time and effort while you’re accomplishing other things you need to do. This is especially true with your finances; if you can save money without having to lift a finger, why wouldn’t you?

One of the most basic tools for automation, and a favorite around MakeUseOf, is If This, Then That (IFTTT). Here are five ways IFTTT can save you money 5 More Ways to Use IFTTT to Save Money (and Time) at Home 5 More Ways to Use IFTTT to Save Money (and Time) at Home Anyone can create their own IFTTT recipes, and many of them can be used to put extra money in your pocket. Read More at home; start with those, and come up with some of your own! You can use similar tricks to always score good deals online Automate Deals and Save Time Shopping Online - Every Time! Automate Deals and Save Time Shopping Online - Every Time! You don't need to spend hours researching prices, hunting down coupon codes, and signing up for emails you don't want in order to get good deals online. Read More , and you can use Google Alerts How to Save Time and Money When Shopping With Google Alerts How to Save Time and Money When Shopping With Google Alerts As far as saving money, Google Alerts can be used to notify you of recent product listings, new product reviews, or big promos and sales. Read More for the same purpose.

Combine those with apps that automatically help you save How to Save Extra Pocket Money With No Effort Every Day How to Save Extra Pocket Money With No Effort Every Day Saving is important, but it can be a real effort for many of us. Digit lets you save automatically without having to think at all. Read More , and you’ll be getting a lot done without putting in any effort.

7. Make smarter purchases.

ipad-air-comparison-shopping

Whether impulse spending is a bad habit of yours or not, it’s likely that you don’t always comparison shop, look for coupons, and check Craigslist and eBay before you make a purchase. It’s time to change that this year. In resolution-speak, you might set a goal of “one impulse purchase per month” or “spend one hour shopping around for anything that costs more than $100.”

There are a lot of strategies for doing this. Check the best places to buy used stuff 5 Other Sites Like Craiglist To Buy & Sell Used Stuff 5 Other Sites Like Craiglist To Buy & Sell Used Stuff Craiglist is an interesting part of the Internet's legacy. Founded over 15 years ago, the site has steadfastly refused to change its minimalist design and easy-to-use posting system. Though perhaps no longer as popular as... Read More , do some comparison shopping 7 Price Comparison Websites You Should Bookmark Right Now 7 Price Comparison Websites You Should Bookmark Right Now Price comparison websites help you find the item you want at the lowest price possible. Read More , use the best coupon sites The 3 Best Online Coupon Sites to Save You Money The 3 Best Online Coupon Sites to Save You Money Coupon sites are one of the best and easiest ways to save when shopping online. From quick deals to guides on how to control your budget, here are the best coupon resources on the Web. Read More (or coupon-finding browser extensions 10 Money-Saving Browser Extensions That You Should Install Now 10 Money-Saving Browser Extensions That You Should Install Now There are plenty of browser extensions that will compare prices, find coupons, and save you money. Install these 10 extensions now and watch the savings roll in! Read More ) to find good deals, find a community of lenders and borrowers NeighborGoods: Borrow & Share Stuff With Neighbors & Friends Locally NeighborGoods: Borrow & Share Stuff With Neighbors & Friends Locally Read More near you, or just learn how to make things so you don’t have to buy them in the first place. All of these will help you make sure that every dollar you spend is a good one spent.

A Year of Better Finances

Whether you decide to take on just one of these resolutions, a few of them, or all seven, it’s time to commit to making 2016 a year of better finances. Through saving more, getting out of debt, and spending smarter, you can relieve yourself of the emotional burden of financial difficulties and get closer to your goals. Why would you not do that?

Have you set a financial resolution this year? What’s your goal, and how do you plan on meeting it? Will you be using any specific tools to help you? Share in the comments below so we can be inspired to set some goals for ourselves!

Image credits: Nattapol Sritongcom via Shutterstock.com, wrangler via Shutterstock.com

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