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The New Year’s Resolution You Can Afford to Keep

If you wake up on New Year’s morning wondering why you’ve made another resolution that will be hard to keep, consider that getting your finances in order can help you succeed, whether you’re trying to eat healthier or go to the gym more frequently. One reason that so many resolutions fail is that they’re ultimately too costly. Here’s how you can make your goals affordable.

Create a comprehensive family budget, pay down debt and craft a reasonable plan for increasing your savings.

To create a useful budget, you have to be honest and list every expense. No secrets, no unacknowledged outflows. If your spending has been out of control, adopt a flexible mindset. “I can decrease many of my expenses—at least temporarily—until I regain control of my spending.”

Next, list your short- and long-term personal goals because many of these also cost money.

If you’re carrying significant debt from holiday spending, over-reliance on credit cards, student loans, etcetera, plan to pay them down over a reasonable period. Accept that there’s a chance of failure since emergencies happen, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get right back on track the following month with controlling your spending and reducing your debt.

Make and stick to a solid plan, you’ll be more likely to keep your resolutions—this year and next.

AAA has partnered with Cambridge Credit Counseling, a Massachusetts nonprofit that specializes in helping people create spending and savings plans that meet their needs, and it offers debt management plans that resolve unsecured debt issues without additional borrowing, settlements or bankruptcy. Counseling sessions are free and without obligation. Contact Cambridge by calling 888-842-8993 or visiting AAA.com/Cambridge.