The new year is a time of new beginnings, with everyone resolving to do better for the next 365 days, even though nearly no one actually keeps their New Year's Resolutions.
The Journal of Clinical Psychology reports that 45 percent of Americans regularly make resolutions, but only 8 percent achieve their goals. That's why I invented the Do-Nothing New Year's Resolution system. The beauty of DNNYR is that it relies entirely on America's most abundant natural resource -- our own natural personal sloth and inertia. (Hey -- it works for Congress, so why not the rest of us?)
Money for nothing
Many people resolve to get financially fit in the new year by spending less or saving more. Here's how my DNNYR system can help you succeed:
Spending less: I resolve to not buy a super yacht, private jet or matched set of Bentley Continental GTs (in Cumbrian Green). Total savings: $51,130,000, not including tax, dealer prep and cleaning up my neighbors' drool.
Saving more: I resolve to build savings through regular deposits of loose change into sofa cushions (or automobile cup-holders at the drive-through window), as well as the abyss that is the bottom of Mrs. Funny Money's purse. Total savings: $247.59, not including assorted gum balls.
Reduce debt: I resolve to remain half-asleep on the couch and thus unable to grab the phone and buy late-night TV products, including Pajama Jeans, Bacon Waves, WaxVac Ear Cleaners and Duck Dynasty Chia Pets. Total savings: $104.75, not including the free Popeil Cap Snaffler if I order now!
Next to nothing
The Do-Nothing New Year's Resolution method isn't only easy and painless, but it also offers a good model for anyone who wants to make an actual effort.
For example: Cut your credit-card debt by first making no new card charges; then set an automatic payment equal to 2 percent of your balance plus last month's interest charge. On a $5,000 balance at 19.8 percent, that's $182.50 a month, and your entire debt is wiped out in three years. Make one-fourth of that payment -- $45.63 -- each week and you won't notice the smaller weekly amount and can pay the debt off even faster.
Do the reverse for savings: Have a small amount automatically deposited in a separate savings account every week. And to spend less, just spend less. Go through one monthly bill every week and try to cut or eliminate it. Pay special attention to automatic credit-card or bank charges, like magazine subscription renewals. You won't miss getting Cat Fancy now that Fluffy passed on to the Great Litter Box in the Sky two years ago. And they get it at the library, you know.
That's not as easy as doing nothing, but it's almost as close, and it's certainly easier than what I face in having to turn down the constant romantic entreaties of a supermodel. Nonetheless, I'm leaving strict instructions: If Heidi Klum calls, tell her I'm not in.
(Brian J. O'Connor is an award-winning columnist for The Detroit News. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.funnymoneyblog.com.)
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