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Academic New Year Resolutions

A new back to school beginning.

Oh, you didn’t know academic new year resolutions were a thing?

Well…they might be? They should be. New Year’s resolutions were kind of a bust this go-around, if I’m being honest. So yeah, as of right this second, we are declaring it so.

Welcome to the new new year: the school year.

For most of us, back to school season is a major reset (whether we are ready or not.)

Life goes from the lazy, crazy of summer (No rules! No routines! No responsibilities!) to a whole other kind of every day crazy (Don’t be late! Where are your shoes? Did you finish your homework? We have soccer tonight! I said bedtime!!)

There are implications for our schedules, our workloads, our relationships and, of course, our budgets. And it requires a moment of reflection: Where have we been? Where are we going? What matters most? How will we get there?

Everyone’s circumstances are unique, but in the hopes that it will provide a little inspiration, here are some of our tried-and-true (okay, mostly tried and mostly true) academic new year resolutions.

6 Academic New Year Resolutions

We Will Not Sign Up For More Than One Activity At A Time.

Even when my children were still very small, we’d still somehow end up way overcommitted to extracurricular activities—to the point where mom was overwhelmed and possibly ruining the fun for everyone.

(I tried, I really did! It was just too much. Mom’s mental health matters, too!)

Even if they loved the activity for three-quarters of its duration (which is as long as our kids’ interest has ever lasted in anything), we were always rushing around and, in my opinion, it wasn’t worth it. So I stopped caring who else was doing it, or whether or not it would help them get into college (someday in the far distant future), and we started signing up for one thing at a time.

A secondary benefit was that this saved money. Not just the cost of the activities themselves (and whatever gear is required. Because there is always some kind of gear, right?), but also the overhead—like having to eat out (again) because we had to rush straight to baseball or because mom hit her limit, and let’s face it, dinner is always the first to go.

We Will Not Be Lazy About Bedtime.

I want to be one of those moms who gets her kids to bed at 7pm every night, and has a routine like clockwork that is holy—but alas, I am not. I never have dinner ready on time and I like hanging out, soooo…we have some bad habits.

And if I’m being totally honest, the kids’ bedtime isn’t even the real problem, it’s the grown-ups’ bedtime. Because no matter how tired I am, once the kids go to bed I get a second wind. Who needs eight hours of sleep each night anyway? This is my time! And I do not want to go to sleep! But I have to. I know that I am better—and when mom is better, everyone is better—and so I must, must, go to bed on time. It is an act of self care. So, I will. Try.

We Will Not Save Homework For The Morning It Is Due.

From the beginning, I remember thinking, “It’s kindergarten.” And yet, still there was always a surprising amount of papers in that take-home folder, and they took a surprising amount of time.

(I’m not sure why I was surprised after the first couple weeks but apparently I’m a slow learner, as I remained taken aback right to the bitter end.)

We will be better about time management and we will do homework in smaller chunks throughout the week. The procrastination with doing school work stops here. No matter how much whining it evokes.

We Will Not Eat Pizza On Tuesday Nights.

This is sort of a metaphor for not eating out too much in general. I always joke that we are really in trouble when I resort to ordering pizza and it is only Tuesday night.

Academic new year resolution: regain control of the pizza budget category. Screenshot of budget category that has been overspent by $87.
I will regain control of the pizza night budget category.

Like, at least by Thursday or Friday, you made it most of the way through the week, but Tuesday? That is just pathetic. And I am guilty.

When it comes to dinner, I will set goals. I will do all the responsible things. I will meal plan! I will grocery shop strategically! I will be prepared for emergencies! We will not eat out during the week! Or at least not more than once a week! Ok, yeah, this one will be the hardest, but it saves so much money, and we have to do it. Or not do it, as it were.

Check out Hannah’s 14 tips for saving on groceries for some extra help.

We Will Not Lose Our Shoes.

I don’t know what it is with us, but we are constantly running around looking for shoes. I refuse to buy too many pairs of shoes for the kids, because they get a favorite and then they will only wear the one favorite pair, so it is a total waste to do so. And sadly, our school doesn’t allow flip-flops, because we have loads of flip-flops floating around. But the shoes, my God, the shoes.

So, there is a new basket on the stairs, and when we return to the house, kid shoes must be deposited in the basket. And right before we leave they can be retrieved. No exceptions! No leaving them in the car! No taking them off in your room! Where are my shoes?! In the basket. Just like that.

I’m mildly hopeful about this new plan.

Looking for extra credit? Check out our printable chore chart and allowance budget.

We Will Double Down On Our Budget.

This is the point in the year where we do some routine budget maintenance. I like to do a reality check of sorts.

Like this year we did a lot of weekend road trips and we spent way more on gas than we had budgeted for, so I’m adjusting for next year. Same goes for our general vacation category and our food category. We have people over a lot more in the summer and that threw me off. Every month. For the last three months.

I also like to check in on our Christmas category and try to fund that a little more heavily through December. Because a little extra at Christmas never hurts. (And it is my personal goal to have money left over in that category come January. It has never happened but it’s good to have goals.)

And just generally, the academic new year is just a good time to review priorities.  What matters most right now in your budget, your day, and your life? Adjust as necessary.

Ok. Deep Breath. I can do this. Who’s with me? We’re going to have a happy new year, even if we are changing the definition of new a little.

Ready for self-improvement in the form of new goals, new skills, and new habits to start the new school year off right? We’ve got tools that can help! Download our free habit tracker printable. If you don’t have a budget yet, try YNAB for free for 34 days!

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Academic New Year Resolutions