For many people, the beginning of a new year feels like an exciting new chapter in their lives. They’ve pushed out the old, rung in the new and are now ready to chase every possibility. And that can include starting a fresh relationship with your finances.

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Of course, it can be smart to have a little help. Discover talked to everyday people about their financial resolutions for 2019, and then received tips for how they may be achieved from an expert: Financial Advisor James Holbach.

Do these resolutions look a lot like yours? They might. And that means your financial goals may be more reachable than previously thought. What a great way to begin a new year (even if you’ve gotten a late start on your resolutions).

Financial Resolution: Stop Spending So Much Money Online

Jamie is a 38-year-old New Yorker who works for a high-profile entertainment company. Her goal is to temper the thrill of online shopping with a little more discretion. “I definitely need to be better with money because I buy way too much garbage and should be using my money to either save or go on a vacation,” she says.

For Jamie, shopping has always been a form of instant relief and gratification, but she felt it was getting a little out of control. “I want to be able to save up,” she says, “but I also don’t want to give up all of the fun I have in life.”

Advice: You May Want to Sit Down, Make an Honest Accounting of How Much You’re Spending and Go From There.

“Controlling your spending can be hard,” Holbach says. His first tip is to start calculating just how much money your favorite stores and restaurants are getting from you.

“Is online shopping getting $100 a month from you? $1,000?” Holbach asks. He cautions that it can be easy for small purchases to add up without you taking the time to look at the big picture.

“Once you have an idea of what you could save, you can set a realistic goal,” Holbach advises. “It’s OK to start small — achieve a modest goal, feel good about it, and then build on that success. Balancing your financial goals with your lifestyle is ultimately a personal choice. We want to be prepared for the future, but we also need to live our lives now.”

There may be a silver lining: Holbach says that if you already know you’re spending money impulsively, then you may be surprised by how much you can save without making much of a sacrifice.

Financial Resolution: Save More in 2019.

Darlene is a 35-year-old teacher who makes approximately $51,000 a year. She doesn’t have to worry about rent and recently got an inheritance that she’s put into stocks. Her goal? To save most of her salary. “I want to save $11,000 by the end of next year,” she says. (She also adds that she spends too much on books.)

Advice: Continuing to Put Money Aside Is a Smart Choice. You May Also Want to Think About What You’re Saving For.

“If you can save nearly a third of your annual income, believe me, you aren’t spending too much on books,” Holbach says. In fact, if you’re able to save anything at all, you might already be ahead of many others. That’s a good reminder to not feel too bad if you feel like you’re not saving enough, as any amount helps your future. (Sometimes people might end up spending the amount they want to save because they might be worried it’s not enough.)

“This situation also highlights a crucial part of a savings plan that many people don’t think about, especially at first,” Holbach adds. “What to do with your savings. If you’re saving for retirement, investing in stocks is a great idea.” He notes that his first recommendation is always a low-fee index fund.

But first things first: Keep squirreling that money away. You never know when you may need it.

Financial Resolution: Pay Off Student Loans and Start an Emergency Fund

Dave is a 32-year-old employed in the literary sector. He wants to save approximately $2,000 a month to pay off his student loan debt and then stay in the habit of saving rather than letting all of his money leave his account. “Once I’m debt free, I want to continue to bolster my savings until I’ve got at least $30,000 in the bank.”

He wants to know if that’s doable without sacrificing too much and if the amount he’s conjured up in his head is correct.

Advice: An Emergency Fund is Essential, Even When the Emergency May Not Be of the Garden Variety

“Having an emergency fund [may] allow you to weather just about any event,” Holbach says. And the amount depends on how much you might need to get by. “A good general rule is three months of expenses, if your household has two wage earners, or six months if there’s only one wage earner,” Holbach advises.

“That stash of money can save you if you lose your job or suffer an accident, but it can also give you the freedom to, say, quit that job you hate today instead of in six months. Paying off your debt first is probably a good idea though.”

With these recommendations and advice in hand, you may be able to start the new year off on the right foot. Some simple planning, a little discipline and a dash of stick-to-itiveness might just be the recipe to help you realize your financial goals this year and lay a solid foundation for a solid financial future.

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