Small steps can add up to wealth building
- Study: Spending less, saving more the No. 3 resolution
- Connerly: Money resolutions are more than just number crunching
LITTLE ROCK -- Each year, nearly half of Americans develop New Year’s resolutions to improve different aspects of their lives. According to a study by the University of Scranton, spending less and saving more money ranked No. 3 on the list right after losing weight and getting organized.
Despite best intentions, “Often times, motivation wanes after a few week or months,” said Laura Connerly, assistant professor at the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. “Resolutions may be long forgotten by the end of March.”
Money resolutions may require a somewhat different tack. “Money management is about more than just crunching numbers,” she said. The key to is to “apply change strategies that can help make your New Year’s resolutions stick.”
Here are a few strategies to help you succeed:
- Set Specific Goals – “Behavior change is more likely to occur if you have a written goal,” Connerly said. When writing that goal, be sure to include a timeline and dollar amount. For example, instead of saying “I will save more money.” Say “I will save an additional $500 by May 1, 2015.”
- Think Positively – People with negative thought patterns give up more quickly than those with a positive outlook. Use positive terms in your written goals.
- Find a Place to Start – The thought of changing long-term habits can be overwhelming. “Procrastination can derail your resolution,” Connerly said.” Sometimes, people want to change but they are uncertain of where to start.” Examples of starting points can include reducing debt, starting to save, increasing retirement contributions or paying more toward a mortgage. “Make a plan and set a date to begin,” she said. For example, to reduce debt, pay extra toward the highest interest credit card or lowest balance to pay off the debt. Visit www.powerpay.org to calculate a best repayment plan.
- List Personal Action Steps – Decide on specific action steps you can take to achieve your goal. For example, increase savings by 2% or pay an extra $25 per month toward your credit card balance.
Download free factsheets and worksheets. Visit the Small Steps to Health and Wealth page on our website at: http://www.uaex.edu/life-skills-wellness/personal-finance/small-steps-health-wealth.aspx. mall Steps to Health and Wealth™ is a national Cooperative Extension program developed to help Americans take action to improve health and increase wealth. The program was built around a framework of 25 research-based behavior change strategies.
Stats from the University of Scranton study, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, can be found at http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/.
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By The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service