12 Tips to Make 2015 Your Best Year Yet


New Year, New You

Every year, New Year’s resolutions go unfulfilled because they’re seemingly too lofty. But wouldn’t it be great if you could set resolutions and complete each one? Think of resolutions as just a creative way to live a better life, and use these tips to be a Resolution Pro:

Make Lifestyle Changes

1. Lose It! A popular resolution is to lose weight, but people rarely do it because it’s nearly impossible around the holidays, when temptation gets the best of you. Try this: If you’re a meat-eater, remove meat from your diet once or twice a week. You’ll still enjoy all the good stuff, but limiting the foods that may contribute to weight gain. Additionally, try having one day without refined white sugar dishes and drinks, which will help you get to your lean 2015 goal.

2. Show the Fam Some Love. In the midst of working toward your goal to be slimmer and fitter this year, you may have forgotten that spending more time with family was once a high priority. Make family time number one again. Don’t feel guilty about scheduling a specific time on your calendar once per week for a manageable 1.5 hours to either chat or visit with a family member or someone you just don’t get a chance to talk to that often. They’ll appreciate the gesture and you’ll have checked another resolution off your list.

3. Check Your Cred Before You Wreck Your Cred. For some, building better credit can elicit more angst than any other resolution. Using a short-term credit solution, like an installment loan for a manageable amount, may help. The loan may be reported positively to the credit bureaus and can go a long way in the process of making you a trustworthy borrower. Just make sure you consult your financial adviser before making any major financial moves.

4. Bring in the Dough. People may say, “You just need to make more money,” like that is the easiest thing in the world to do. Making more money might require many things that you may not have and that might not be in the cards for you at the time. Like getting a second or a first college degree. Think about what you’re good at and start focusing on ways to turn that passion and talent into something that can benefit others in ways that will also make you money. If you’ve never thought about consulting or picking up side work, now is the time 

Foster Healthy Relationships

5. Talk It Out. One thing you probably want to do in 2015 is to have better relationships with people and with money. When it comes to your significant other, we think that communication is key. And when it comes to money and relationships, communication is also right up there. Talk about your financial goals for the year and see if you’re both on the same page.

6. Be Budget-Friendly. Establishing a budget is one of the hardest things for people to do — doubly so if you’re a pair — but it will probably prove to be one of the most important things you and your significant other do together. Track recurring expenses and items you may want to splurge on, and take a look at what’s left over. You’ll then have a complete view of your financial picture and a better understanding of how your money is distributed each month. It might even prompt you to curb and correct some of your habits if they turn out to be poor financial moves.

7. Seek Professional (Financial) Support. If you’ve made poor financial decisions together or tend to do it more often than you’d like to admit, maybe the solution is to see a financial planner. This should be someone who can make sense of your finances when you can’t, and someone who can put you on a path to better financial health. Don’t worry about the expense — there are many planners that take a percentage of the growth of your portfolio, and other agencies that will take a look at your finances for free!

8. Don’t Forget to Laugh! The topic of money can be stressful, but amidst all the stress and talk about cash flow, don’t forget to enjoy each other and laugh. Also, planning for the future and all the things that you hope to do in your lives together will help to bring some fun and excitement to the very serious money chats.

Get Your Home in Order

9. Out With the Old. In the past year, you have probably accumulated more junk than you’d care to claim. The best part of the accumulation of extra stuff is the fact that you get to get rid of it… and it will feel so good! Summer clothes that are too tight now can be donated to charity, Goodwill, or Salvation Army.

10. Get Ready to Clean UP! Since the weather warm-up is imminent, you may want to get your house ready for entertaining, backyard (or balcony) barbecues and the like. Start working on one room per week, cleaning top to bottom, maybe even switching out the color scheme to ring in a fresh, new look for spring!

11. Go Green! Hey, you may not be a hippie-dippie environmentalist, but turning to green products isn’t about that. It’s about living a long, healthy life free of harmful things that could harm you and your family. So, making homemade, green household products with items you already own will not only be a fun home project, but it can also be the first step toward healthier living.

12. Grow It Alone. Fresh produce is often expensive, which probably deters you from eating a lot of it. Buying seeds to plant your own herbs, veggies and fruits in your own backyard or on your balcony can be both a timesaving (no more trekking to the grocery store) and money-saving boon.