The New Year is a chance to start fresh, while ready to take on new adventures, challenges, and growth. But whether you go into it with a docket of resolutions or simply good intentions, life happens — and it can be tough to stick with the “New Year, new me” mantra all year long.
That’s why we created seven financial challenges you can tackle any time to get a boost of that New Year’s energy on January 1 and beyond. So, skip the resolutions and instead commit to one goal you can achieve: Completing these personal finance challenges.
Challenge #1: Automate your bill paying, savings, investments — or all three
Automating your finances is one of the easiest, impactful money moves you can make. All you need is 30 minutes. Seriously. By setting up autopay for things like cell phone bills, car payments, and rent, you won’t have to worry about late fees (or dings on your credit score). And when it comes to savings, automation tools, like our recurring transfers, are a smart and savvy way to consistently grow your money without having to think about it.
Challenge #2: Give your budget a “glow up” to fit your lifestyle and prioritize you
The start of a new year is a popular time for people to update their looks or work on getting fit. What if you applied that premise to your budget? Show your budget (and yourself) some love by giving it a refreshing makeover so you can tackle the year financially strong. Remember: Your budget shouldn’t be all about restriction. It should be a tool to help you make financial decisions that reflect your lifestyle, so you can be more confident and satisfied with your money.
Challenge #3: Declutter and organize your money by consolidating your financial accounts
Slim down and strengthen the core of your financial stack by condensing your cash savings into one account that allows you to save for multiple goals at once. With Ally Bank’s Online Savings Account buckets, you can divvy up your savings in up to 10 customizable buckets, all under one roof. (And while you’re at it, add a “Treat Yourself” bucket to save for a special splurge item.)
You can combine investment accounts, too. Whether you have holdings with more than one broker or multiple IRAs to consolidate, the fewer separate accounts you have to manage, the more energy you can put into making the most of your money.
Challenge #4: Go on a savings spree for one month, matching the dollar amount to the calendar date
Want to save nearly $500 dollars in a month? Say goodbye to the daily pushup challenge and hello to the daily savings challenge. Start by saving $1 on the first of the month, $2 on the second, and so on — until you’re putting away $30 on the thirtieth. You’ll end up with $465 in total (or $496 if you go for 31 days).
Challenge #5: Make diversification a priority by researching and purchasing a new investment
Whether you’re an active trader or prefer to passively invest, a diversified portfolio is always important. Challenge yourself to break out of your investment comfort zone by researching stocks for new companies or industries, or even alternative assets that interest you. Use this as an opportunity to try your hand at ESG investing. Or delve into the real estate market through real estate investment trusts (REITs) or a REIT ETF.
Ally Invest makes it simple to research and invest in thousands of stocks, ETFs, bonds, and beyond.
Challenge #6: Make your own savings match for one week
This one’s straightforward: Each time you spend a dollar in a certain category (like entertainment or dining), put a dollar in savings. You can match everything you spend, or stick with a limit, like putting a max of $5 into savings per purchase. Not only will this get you thinking consciously of your spending, your savings will get a turbo boost. Hey, we know this will take some effort — but it’ll be worth every penny.
Challenge #7: Give 100% to increasing your annual retirement contribution by 1%
In fitness and finance, big results come from small changes. Make a significant impact on your financial future by boosting your annual retirement contribution by 1%. It may not seem like a huge difference now, but investing even a few extra dollars a month has the potential to amount to serious returns down the road.
This is your year
Resolution fatigue can make your goals feel out of reach. By tackling these actionable money challenges throughout the year, you can stay the path toward a strong and confident financial future.
Exercise your financial fitness with Ally all year long with an Online Savings Account.