With festive parties and positive outlooks, who doesn’t love the New Year? And once the clock strikes midnight, the resolutions start flowing as freely as the bubbly. While the New Year is a time to reflect on the changes we want (or need) to make, we often put so much pressure on ourselves to fulfill a laundry list of well-to-do’s that we end up no better off than we were the year before. Sometimes we make it; sometimes we don’t.
Many of us resolve to lose weight, get more active or spend time with our families. What about saving more, spending less and paying off debt? With these money resolutions, it may be easier to fatten your wallet than drop those extra pounds this year.
Track your expenses. Take a look at what – and where – you’re spending. It will help you determine where you can cut back and what you can do to help save. Then, make a realistic budget with specific goals and stick to it. If you spent less than you planned one month, move the excess into a savings account or use it to pay down debt.
Be a smarter shopper. There’s an app for that. Compare prices, access coupons, read customer reviews, and even figure out the best time to buy. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of apps to choose from. So, what are you waiting for?
Stop wasting health-care dollars. Make the most of your insurance by staying in network. And don’t skimp on the screenings, immunizations and other services your plan may provide. Use generic drugs whenever possible and take advantage of flexible spending accounts – the money isn’t subject to payroll taxes.
Refinance. With mortgage rates at record lows and Orion’s Rule (your first car payment is on us), it’s easy to save when you refinance. If you’re paying more, why?
Stop wasting entertainment dollars. TV alone can cost over $100 a month! It’s worth figuring out what you watch and how you watch it. Then, shop around and find the cheapest way to do it. And more often than not, when you threaten to leave, providers will cut you a deal.
Don’t throw food money out with the trash. Plan weekly meals, avoid impulse buys and purchase the amounts you need. If you didn’t calculate correctly, you can always freeze fresh produce and leftovers.