Savings resolutions you should make (and keep) in 2017

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It’s that time of year again. A shiny ball will drop in Times Square as people around the world vow to better themselves when it comes to everything from their dollars to their diets.

Every year, with that renewed motivation, people make goals with the hopes of setting themselves up for a more prosperous year. Ambitious goal-setters make blanket statements like “save more, spend less,” but simply making a resolution and having it stick are two very different things.

Once that Champagne headache goes away, I challenge you to make these specific, savings resolutions to help boost your financial security in the new year. 2017 never looked richer.

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Save 20 percent of every paycheck

For the most part, I’m not a big fan of super-detailed budgets.

To me, the budgets that plan down to the penny and demand that every purchase fits neatly into a pre-determined expense category always fail. The best part about making money is having the freedom to treat yourself on occasion, and a strict budget can make you feel constrained, unhappy and unfulfilled.

But, spending is only fun when you know that you’re still saving. I’m a follower of the 50/30/20 guideline, in which you allocate 50 percent of your earnings to necessary expenses (like rent and utilities), 30 percent of your money to “fun” purchases (like vacations or shopping) and 20 percent to an emergency fund or paying down debts.

Struggle with the self-discipline saving that 20 percent? Make your savings contributions automatic. You won’t miss it as much if you don’t even see it hit your checking account in the first place. Promise.

Bump up your retirement contributions

While retirement might seem a lifetime away, whether you’re 22 or 52, you need to contribute to your retirement fund.

In some cases, your retirement plan will automatically increase your contribution by 1 percent in the new year. If not? Do it yourself. Boosting your retirement contributions by at least 1 percent will hardly hurt, and it’ll pay off in the long run.

Personally, I contribute to my 401(k) in addition to the 20 percent I put in my emergency fund. I don’t even miss it, because I don’t even see it. And I’m sure my 60-year-old self will be happy with that decision.

Experiment with a new app

This is a fun one: Make it a goal to experiment with one, new personal finance app a month. If the app is a game-changer when it comes to your budgeting, saving and spending habits, keep it. Not really a fan? Delete it to clear up some much-needed storage space.

My faves of the year were Mint, Digit and Level Money. These were the apps that allowed me to reach my best budgeting self and kept me on pace with my financial goals. Every time I unlocked my iPhone, there was a constant reminder of the money goals I had made.

The best part about the fintech world? It’s constantly evolving. Be on the lookout for new apps that will make your financial life easier.

Cut out one frivolous spending habit

This year, spend a little less!

Instead of making a blanket statement like, “save more money,” pick one, specific expense you want to cut out this year and make it happen. Here’s the secret to success when it comes to goals — they need to be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.

Pick one indulgence that drains your bank account without really giving you any value. Do you really need both Hulu and Netflix subscriptions? Spoiler alert: Probably not. Re-evaluate.

Personally, I’m cutting out my semi-routine trips to Starbucks, and instead taking advantage of the Keurig in my kitchen that is starting to gather dust.

What are you nixing this year? Tweet it to me!

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Sarah Berger

I am a journalist and penny-pinching millennial living in New York City on a budget.