New Year’s day has come and gone but there’s still time to set resolutions to guide the rest of your year. In fact, now is the perfect time to reflect on your living situation and create goals so you can make the most out of your current arrangement while also thinking toward the future. And if those goals include home ownership, there’s no better time than the present to get started on achieving your future home dreams.
Whether you're a long-time renter or signing your first lease, adopting proactive habits and making strategic decisions can bring you one step closer to your home goals. Here are four realistic New Year’s resolutions we’ve identified for any renter that you can start at any time this year.
4 renter resolutions for the new year
1. Think long-term
Do you want to own a home someday? Fifty-one percent of renters consider owning a home to be a ‘very important’ financial milestone. If you feel the same way, you need to be both financially prepared to take the big leap and have a strategic plan in place to stay on track. Even if your immediate plan is to continue renting, dedicate time to learning about the housing market and what it takes to be a first-time buyer. Start with a budget in mind so you can narrow your search to properties and neighborhoods that are realistically within your reach. Once you have a good idea about how much you can spend on a home, you can determine how much you’ll need to save from your paychecks or what sacrifices you’ll need to make to achieve this goal.
When you set your financial goals, there are a number of tools available to help you along the way. For instance, you may want to open a free interest-earning savings account that will help you build funds for your future investment. Or you might want to use an investing or savings app that can help you analyze your spending patterns and automatically put aside money for you. With a sound financial strategy and clear goals in mind, you too can start building the savings fund you need to seriously pursue home ownership down the road.
2. Prioritize your financial health
Start the year off strong by taking control of your finances. Crafting a realistic budget allows you to manage your monthly expenses effectively, especially if you have a plan you can stick to. A budget enables you to track your spending, allocate funds more wisely, and ensure long-term financial stability. If you notice you’re working with a tight budget, think about scaling back on extraneous spending like eating out less often. You may also want to ask your landlord if they’d be willing to invest in energy-efficient appliances or smart-home features that could help you save on utility expenses.
Another way to support your financial health is to utilize an online rent payment system. With check fraud on the rise, make sure you're always in control of your money and are minimizing chances of lost or fraudulent transactions.
To shore up your financial health even further, consider using a rent reporting service, a rental payment platform, or a rent tracking application so you can earn credit for the rent you pay. Reporting your on-time payments can boost your credit score and open doors to better financial opportunities in the future. A higher credit score, for example, gives you easier access to loans and additional credit at desirable terms when you’re finally ready to buy your dream home.
Regardless if you’re thinking of buying a home or not, resolving to build your savings and shore up your credit is a great goal for any renter to have.
3. Become a model tenant
Investing time and effort into fostering connections with both your landlord and neighbors can make your rental experience a more enjoyable one. Building a positive rapport with your landlord involves maintaining open communication, paying rent on time, and adhering to your lease terms.
One way to show you’re a good tenant is to address maintenance needs immediately and do your part to keep your rental in good condition. Your landlord will appreciate your proactive approach and will also grow to trust in your reliability and responsibility as a tenant. There’s also the financial benefit to keeping your rental just the way you found it; keeping your property in great condition will ensure you also get your security deposit back at the end of your lease.
Treating your rental with respect won’t just make your landlord happy— your neighbors will be grateful too. It never hurts to say hello to fellow renters or offer a helping hand if you see a neighbor in need. These efforts combined will create a sense of community and camaraderie, ultimately setting the foundation for a harmonious living environment.
4. Embrace sustainability
Committing to a more sustainable lifestyle doesn’t just create a healthier living space. It can have a positive environmental impact and help you pocket some extra money. By adopting simple eco-friendly practices like using LED bulbs or energy-efficient appliances, conserving water by fixing leaks, and using low-flow fixtures you can reduce utility expenses, increasing your cost savings. You can also reduce your carbon footprint by choosing sustainable and non-toxic cleaning products, opting for reusable items instead of disposable ones, and adding low-maintenance, indoor plants to improve your air quality. Making these small yet impactful changes can collectively contribute to a greener and more environmentally-friendly apartment.
How to stick to your resolutions
Only 9% of people who set resolutions actually stick with them all year long. That’s because setting them is the easy part. Actually achieving them, however, requires dedication and hard work. Here’s how to follow through with the resolutions you set:
Set clear goals
Be specific about what goals you want to achieve and outline the actionable steps to get there. The more specific and concrete your goals are, the easier it will be to determine how you'll achieve that goal over the year. For example, instead of “improve my living space”, your goal could be to declutter the closet, upgrade lighting fixtures, or rearrange the bedroom furniture for better functionality.
To stick to your New Year's resolutions, try starting with small, easily attainable goals and work your way up to larger milestones. For example, it’s much easier to pay individual bills on time or reduce one of your credit card balances to improve your credit score instead of trying to clear all of your debt at once. When you set lofty goals it can often seem overwhelming, causing you to feel discouraged, or worse, lead you to give up on your goals altogether.
Build healthy habits
Consistently practicing daily rituals can turn your living environment into a more comfortable and pleasant space. Start by picking a habit that’s easy to weave into your daily routine. If it’s something that fits into your schedule, you’ll be more likely to stick to it. For example: consider dedicating one day every week to clean your apartment or committing to paying your rent on time every month.
If you need a gentle nudge so you can stay on top of accomplishing your goals, try setting a reminder. Calendar alerts and reminder apps can help you stick to your resolutions so you don’t forget to check them off your to-do list.
Track your progress
Keeping track of your progress throughout the year will motivate you to stick to your goals, help you recognize your successes, and give you a reason to celebrate your wins. When you can see how much you've achieved, it can serve as a strong reminder of why you set that resolution in the first place and inspire you to keep going.
Don’t let setbacks get in the way
If something doesn’t go according to plan, don’t let it keep you from seeing the big picture or discourage you from accomplishing your goals. Instead, consider treating this setback as a learning opportunity and making adjustments where necessary so you can get back on track.
Start 2024 with RentSpree
This year, make a promise to yourself to set realistic goals that you can and will accomplish by the time December rolls around. While we’ve outlined four goals any renter can easily add to their list of resolutions, these are by no means the only ones you should consider for your aspirations as a renter.
No matter how big or small your resolutions are, there’s a variety of tools you can use to help you achieve them. RentSpree's Credit Builder and Rent Payment tools offer you an excellent way to kick off your 2024 New Year’s resolutions. With our Credit Builder you can document your payment history and have it reported to TransUnion. And with our Rent Payment you can easily make payments so you can receive credit where credit is due and be on your way to buying your home. Do you want to reach your goals faster and more efficiently? Get started now.