How's your 2009 New Year's resolution going? Did you break it yet? We're only a few weeks into the year and most resolutions have already been forgotten. Why? Because we make promises we cannot keep, set goals that have no structure and effectively remove all likelihood of sticking with our resolutions.

Take the one I used to make every January 1: I will never eat again. See what I mean? That is unrealistic, unreachable and, even worse, not very much fun.

I'm proposing that this year we team up for some highly entertaining group resolutions that will help us stick together and in the end keep us focused on this journey we're taking to financial freedom. In that spirit, I propose the following:

We will not fall for any dumb get-rich-quick schemes. These scams are easily recognized because they contain phrases like Nigerian bank, envelope stuffing, double-your-money-this-month and You-Can-Make-$17,500-a-Week-in-Just-2-Hours-of-Your-Spare-Time. Our response will be, You're kidding, right? Then we'll hit "delete," hang up, tear up, excuse ourselves or whatever we must to get that offer out of our face.

We will not spend coins. From this moment on, we will spend only currency, no coins. Even if the tab comes to $4.02, we will hand the clerk $5, and pocket 98 cents in beautiful change. At the end of each day we will deposit all coinage into an appropriate receptacle. Oh, the fun we'll have seeing the money multiply as it turns into a viable savings stash.

We will stop all the annoying telemarketers who invade our homes without our permission. As soon as we realize we have a telemarketer on the other end of the line, we'll interrupt by saying: Put my number on your "Do Not Call List." Then, we'll go to the National Do Not Call Registry at www.donotcall.gov and register our home and or mobile number. We are now officially registered and if we receive a call from a telemarketer we can report them.

We will call 888-567-8688 once each quarter to "opt-out." The law gives everyone the right to tell the credit bureaus not to sell the information in our credit file to credit marketing companies, but until we formally "opt-out" we have given them permission by default. Every time we fill out another application we cancel previous opt-out instructions. So, as a safeguard, everyone should call once each quarter to renew our opt-out for every member of our household. The automated process takes about four minutes. You can opt out online, too, at www.optoutprescreen.com.

Personally, I cannot wait for the year to proceed. I have my change jar emptied and ready to go. I have the opt-out information posted by the phone and there is no way I will fall for some stupid get-rich-quick scheme.

So, are you with me? Great! It's going to be a very fun year.

Posted January 30, 2009.

 

Copyright © 2008 Mary Hunt. All rights reserved. Permission to reprint required.

Check out Mary's recently released revised and expanded edition of The Financially Confident Woman (DPL Press, 2008).

Debt-Proof Living was founded in 1992 by Mary Hunt. What began as a newsletter to encourage and empower people to break free from the bondage of consumer debt has grown into a huge community of ordinary people who have achieved remarkable success in their quest to effectively manage their money and stay out of debt. Today, "Debt-Proof Living" is read by close to 100,000 cheapskates.  Click here to subscribe. Also, you can receive Mary's free daily e-mail "Everyday Cheapskate" by signing up at EverydayCheapskate.com.