New Year’s resolutions don’t have to all be about losing weight and eating healthy. It’s important to make financial resolutions, too. Let 2018 be the year you make smarter financial decisions and are able to find new ways to put money towards more than just bills. Follow these 7 financial resolutions for a more prosperous 2018 and beyond.

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1. Plan and Use a Budget

It’s not enough to plan a budget, if you don’t plan on sticking to it. Budgets are helpful because they let you see how and where you are spending your hard-earned money. Having allocated amounts to spend on groceries, personal care, entertainment, and other categories helps you better control your finances and save money. Sticking to your budget might be hard, especially when your friends want to go out for drinks or the latest gadget just came out, but those small, short-term sacrifices can pay off in the long run.

2. Cut Back on Unnecessary Spending

It’s a fact, that $2.50 cup of coffee winds up being over a thousand dollars a year. You don’t necessarily have to stop buying your favorite coffee or tea, but you can cut back. Turn your daily cup into a weekly cup of coffee. Dine out a of couple times per month instead of a couple of times per week. Invest the money you would have spent on that one extra latte, lunch or beer into your savings account.

3. Work to Pay off Debt

Debt can be stressful. Make this the year you want to be stress-free by taking control of your debt. Whether it’s student loans or credit card debt, set up automatic payments to start paying it off. If you need, speak to a specialist and consolidate your debt.

4. Improve Your Credit Score

Having good credit can save you thousands of dollars. Spend this year working towards improving your credit score. From a better mortgage rate to lower interest rates on credit cards and personal loans, there are so many benefits that you can reap with the help of an improved credit score.

5. Protect Yourself from Emergencies

A 2016 study found that an incredible 46% of American do not have enough cash saved to cover $400 emergency expenses. Having an emergency fund is critical to protecting yourself financially. A general rule of thumb is to save until you can afford three to six months of your regular expenses.

6. Save for Retirement

If you’re able to protect yourself financially from short-term emergencies, it might be the time to consider your financial future. The sooner you start saving for retirement, the better off you’ll be down the line. If your employer offers a matching 401K, take advantage of it.

7. Save for This Year

Short-term saving goals are just as important as long-term ones. Include room in your budget to save up for a nice vacation, a car, or even something smaller like a flat screen TV. It’s still important to enjoy yourself now even when planning for the future.

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