Looking for a magic bullet that will help you stick to a budget and stay on track with saving?
Easy, says a new survey released Monday by Fidelity Investments: Make a financial New Year's resolution. About 51 percent of the survey respondents who made financial resolutions a year ago said they feel better off financially, compared with just 38 percent of those who did not.
"That focus on the goal actually helps to improve the outcome of the behavior," said John Sweeney, executive vice president for retirement and investing strategies at Fidelity. "I'm going to save X percent of my salary, or I'm going to pay off my debt—those tend to be very motivating activities."
Sweeney said Fidelity has seen similar results when clients work on financial planning: The very act of planning, he said, seems to lead to better spending and budgeting behavior.