22 Ways to Have the Best Money Year of Your Life

·4 min read
Illustrations: Ryan Snook for Money
Illustrations: Ryan Snook for Money
Happy jumping sun in surrounded by flying pigs, nesting egg, running heart, happy coin, and shopping bag.
Ryan Snook for Money

Life is pretty weird right now. And money advice—which, let’s be honest, was never all that intuitive to begin with—is somehow even weirder.

For millions of Americans, the “office” has become a malleable concept, with workers finally getting the upper hand on everything from salaries to schedules. Interest rates are so low that putting a portion of your paycheck into a traditional savings account might actually be bad advice these days. And housing prices? If you’re a prospective homebuyer who didn’t ring in the New Year lying in the fetal position, you’re one of the blessed few.

But know this: No matter what 2022 has in store, this year can still be your year.

Below, you’ll find 22 New Year’s money resolutions to help you save, spend, and invest, along with some actionable advice on making them stick.

Whether you’re in search of a new job, a new car or a new strategy to make it to the end of the year with a little more pocket money, you’ve come to the right place.

Build your nest egg

Nesting egg is surrounded by construction structure and construction hat.
Nesting egg is surrounded by construction structure and construction hat.

Today’s low interest rate environment means you’ll have to sweat a little harder to grow your savings compared to pre-pandemic years, but getting hip to under-utilized options like high-yield savings accounts and government-backed I bonds can make a world of difference.

As Margaret Bolton, a senior behavioral science researcher at Duke University’s Common Cents Lab tells Money, now is the time to “Make one decision, one change that’s going to have a lasting impact for the entire year.”

Translation? The sooner the better.

Get a career glow up

A happy sun is carrying a suitcase, marching forward.
A happy sun is carrying a suitcase, marching forward.

Employers are facing a hiring crisis. At last count, there were 2.8 million more openings in the U.S. than job seekers. And every day, more people are walking away from their office jobs—many without another one lined up—to join the “Great Resignation.”

But there’s another trend bubbling under the surface. For the first time in many of our careers, workers have all the leverage.

Here’s how to put it to good use.

Finally start investing

Flying in the air.
Flying in the air.

Investing advice has always been treated as the final frontier of personal finance.

There’s a ton of it, for one, and much of it’s conflicting. Even the simplest concepts have enough jargon to make your eyes roll back in your head (who among us doesn’t have “401(k) vs IRA,” “exchange-traded fund” and “what is a fiduciary” in our Google history?). And that was before cryptocurrencies, meme stocks and NFTs started making headlines.

But as Money reporter Mallika Mitra writes in the below story about mutual funds, if you’re new to investing, “You don’t have to pick the hottest stocks, or identify which company is going to have stellar returns,” to get started.

Here’s some info you do need.

Pay off your debt

Happy coins are jumping into a hole on the ground.
Happy coins are jumping into a hole on the ground.

The average American owed $92,727 in 2020 (including mortgage, student loan, and other types of debt), according to the most recent data from the credit agency Experian.

If you’re one of them, chipping away at that ever-growing number might feel next to impossible.

“Paying down debt — student loans or otherwise — is a perennial item on New Year’s resolution lists,” writes Money editor Kaitlin Mulhere. “But like many a resolution, it’s easy to lose your motivation as the year goes on, particularly if you don’t have a clear plan of attack.”

Here’s how to get one.

Shop smarter

A shopping bag is trying to figure out the math around it.
A shopping bag is trying to figure out the math around it.

COVID-19 changed the way we shop. Brick and mortar retail sales plummeted; used car prices skyrocketed. Supply chain woes made prices go up for necessities like gas, groceries and everything in between. And as anyone who even entertained the notion of buying a home last year can tell you, it’s been a whole *thing.*

Now the economy is rebounding, and consumer spending is ticking up alongside it — though 62% of people say they still shop online more than they did at the start of the pandemic, according to a Synchrony poll.

As restaurants and bars reopen, and travel becomes something people do regularly again, it may be tempting to spend money like an F. Scott Fitzgerald character. But if you dedicate yourself to shopping for items you actually need — like shopping expert Lisa Lee Freeman advises, you’ll be better prepared to weather the next economic downturn when it (inevitably) happens.

Make health a priority

A giant heart is running, heavily breathing out.
A giant heart is running, heavily breathing out.

Is there anything riper for resolution setting (and, sadly, abandoning) than health goals?

Instead of half-heartedly committing to lose a bunch of weight this year, or exercising religiously when you know that it’s never gonna happen, consider choosing something a little more realistic. The results might be just as life-changing.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

© Copyright 2021 Ad Practitioners, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
This article originally appeared on Money.com and may contain affiliate links for which Money receives compensation. Opinions expressed in this article are the author's alone, not those of a third-party entity, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed. Offers may be subject to change without notice. For more information, read Money’s full disclaimer.