These Are Americans' Top 10 Financial Resolutions for 2023

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KEY POINTS

  • Establishing financial goals for the year could help you meet them.
  • Sticking to resolutions like these could help your financial picture improve.
  • Top financial resolutions for Americans include spending less, building an emergency fund, and filing taxes early.

Did any of these make your list?

The start of a new year is a great time to map out different goals. Those goals might be health-related, social, or financial. And if you're curious as to what people are pledging in terms of the latter category, here are Americans' top financial resolutions as per a recent survey by Principal.

1. Spending less money

The less money you spend, the more you can save -- it's that simple. Following a budget is a good way to keep your spending in check, as is having a system in place for avoiding impulse buys. That could mean making shopping lists before hitting stores and/or shopping only with cash and leaving your credit cards behind.

2. Putting more money into a savings account

You may want to boost your savings account balance so you can put money toward a car or purchase a home. Or maybe you're saving for a vacation. Sticking to a budget could help you meet your savings goals, but it also pays to look at automating the process by arranging for a portion of each paycheck you collect to bounce from your checking account to your savings account at the start of the month.

3. Building an emergency fund

You never know when an unplanned bill might land in your lap, or when you might be forced out of a job. That's why it's so important to have money on hand for emergencies. Ideally, you should aim to sock enough cash away to cover at least three full months of living costs. 

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4. Paying credit cards off in full

Carrying a credit card balance means signing up to pay interest. And that's just a waste of money. Sticking to a budget could make it easier to keep up with your credit card bills. So can checking your balances weekly and adjusting your spending once you see them starting to creep upward.

5. Creating a budget

Tired of seeing the word "budget" yet? Well, bad news, because many people are resolving to commit to one in the new year. Doing so could make it much easier to manage your bills and limit your spending, and you don't have to spend tons of time setting one up. In fact, there are plenty of free budgeting apps that can help make the process a snap.

6. Creating a will or estate plan

It's important to have a plan in place in case something happens to you. This is especially important if you have dependents. If you don't have a will, find an attorney who can draft one for you. And if you want to make sure your assets are distributed the way you want, go the extra mile and create a full-fledged estate plan.

7. Paying off credit cards entirely

The weight of credit card debt can be hefty. If you're able to pay off your credit card balances in full in the new year, you'll have one less set of expenses to worry about. You might also save yourself a bundle of money on interest and boost your credit score.

8. Filing taxes early

Procrastinating on taxes can lead to mistakes. The IRS typically starts accepting tax returns at the end of January, so if you're able to get a jump start, you can cross that task off your list early on in the year. Better yet, if you're owed a refund, the sooner you file your tax return, the sooner you can get your money.

9. Defining long-term goals

Maybe you want to buy a car this year and a house in two years. But what plans do you have for the future? It could be a good idea to sit down with a financial advisor and map out some long-term goals, such as those that relate to retirement.

10. Improving credit scores

A higher credit score could make it easier to borrow money when you need to, and at a more competitive rate. If your credit score needs work, one of the best ways to boost it is to pay all of your bills on time. You should also make sure there aren't any errors on your credit report that are causing damage to your score. You can get a free copy every week in 2023 if so you choose until you're certain your credit report is devoid of mistakes. 

All of these resolutions have the potential to bring about very positive changes. It pays to put some, or even all, of these on your list for 2023.

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