GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Prioritizing mental health, exercising more and saving money are just a few of the top new year’s resolutions for 2023.

Project Green, a nonprofit in Grand Rapids, was launched in 2019 by Dallas Lenear. He and his team of financial consultants want to help low- to mid-income individuals reach their goals to save more while spending less.

“Our vision is turning everyday people into ‘money heroes.’ We define money heroes as someone who is pursuing their financial goals and then they turn and help someone do the same,” Lenear said.

If you want to accomplish that in the new year, he advises asking yourself the following questions:

DEFINE YOUR WHY

“The fact that it’s a new year isn’t reason enough,” Lenear says.

He suggests people know the purpose of their savings, like saving for emergencies, retirement, college fund or home.

“If you have the right motivation then as you face challenges you will overcome those challenges. Otherwise those detours will keep you from reaching your destination,” he said.

WHO WILL BE YOUR ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER?

Your accountability partner could be your spouse, child, best friend, family member or even a co-worker, though whoever it is must have the “right perspective.”

“It needs to be someone who is going to push you to reach your goals,” Lenear said.

WHAT IS YOUR GOAL?

Though saving for retirement, college or a home is great, Lenear said creating a savings for an emergency fund should be priority.

He advises people to start with a $500 emergency fund, though an individual should work towards having a savings worth three to six months of living expenses.

“In order to do that you need to look at what you’re spending. First, track your expenses to see if you have any leaks in your budget,” he said.

WHEN DO YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH IT?

It’s easy to start off the year with a goal of saving money but Lenear also said it’s important to have a date of when you want to reach that goal.

“That becomes another reminder and you’re pushing towards that deadline,” he said.

WHERE SHOULD YOU SAVE THOSE FUNDS?

One place Lenear suggested was splitting your direct deposit checks into accounts at different banks. You can automate a transfer to go into a separate account.

“It’ll give you a sense of peace. When that emergency happens you’ll be able to handle it without creating a financial emergency on top of a life emergency that you’re also facing,” he said.

HOW CAN YOU ACCOMPLISH YOUR GOAL?

Start small and within your means. He recommends doing a 52-week challenge, where you save $1 in one week. Save $2 the next week and an additional dollar every week. By the end of the year you’ll save $1,378.

Project Green also has a 500 strong initiative where you save $400. The nonprofit gives you $100 at the end of the 17-week program.

“Over half of American adults aren’t able to handle a $400 emergency either with cash on hand or using credit that they can pay off next month. That’s a crisis,” Lenear said. “What this current economic reality is showing us is that it’s really important to have your finances in order because your emergency could be a flat tire or replace a hot water heater but it can also be inflation.”

Project Green hosts workshops and other programs. If you would like to connect with them you can visit their website projectgreen.org.