Most Consumers Have Already Broken Resolutions

Consumers cite being ‘too busy’ as top reason for giving up
woman writing down her 2020 resolutions

If your goal for the new year was to save more money, a new survey suggests you’ve probably already veered off track.

A survey of more than 1,000 consumers by personal finance software maker Quicken revealed that a majority of consumers — 62% — give up on their New Year’s resolutions by the sixth week of the year. The success rate drops off even more as the year goes on, with 86% of consumers expecting to give up by the end of the first quarter, the survey found.

The top reason for giving up is being “too busy,” an explanation cited by 44% of respondents. Another 41% said they’d tried to do too much too fast, and 40% said they’d simply lost interest. Most consumers blame themselves for their failure, though the survey found that women (86%) were slightly more likely to blame themselves than men (81%).

The key to achieving financial goals

Financial resolutions were among the most popular goals for consumers after resolutions related to health, self-care and skills-improvement. Specifically, 61% of respondents said that spending was their top money-related issue, while 43% struggled with saving and 35% were dealing with credit card debt. Other common money-related concerns included:

  • Planning for bills (32%)
  • Gift giving (14%)
  • Student loan debt (11%)

To achieve their financial goals, a majority of consumers did say that they would be willing to make sacrifices. The biggest pleasure that consumers said they would be willing to go without was takeout and meal delivery, with 54% of respondents who are working on financial goals saying they were willing to cut those costs out of their budget. That was followed by:

  • 43% said they would give up online shopping
  • 32% said they would give up sweets
  • 28% said they would give up alcohol
  • 12% said they would give up a gym membership or fitness classes
  • 11% said they would give up their smartphone

Interestingly, men were more willing than women to give up sweets (37% versus 25%), alcohol (38% versus 15%), a gym membership (17% versus 5%) and a smartphone (17% versus 3%) to achieve their goals.

Though many consumers find it challenging to stick to their goals, a majority still feel a sense of optimism, with 33% feeling hopeful this year and 29% feeling motivated. On the flip side, 13% said they feel frustrated about this new year and 6% feel pessimistic.

While other research has suggested that fewer consumers are making financial New Year’s resolutions, there are plenty of benefits to making goals and striving to improve your financial situation. Even if you don’t achieve your final goal, you may achieve more than you would have if you had not taken steps to make a change. One thing that can be helpful is researching how others have achieved their financial goals, whether it’s savings goals, spending goals or getting out of debt. By taking action now, you can find yourself in a stronger financial position this time next year.

Tamara E. Holmes

Tamara E. Holmes is a Washington, DC-based writer who covers personal finance, entrepreneurship and careers.

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