The new year is the perfect time to make a fresh start towards improving your personal finances by planning to save more money for the coming year. We know it’s not always easy adopting new habits, but being smarter about money now pays off with financial security in the future!
So how can you save money?
Well, there are many ways — some require major behavior modifications and others are relatively small changes that just take a little discipline. To help you get started, we’ve created a list of recommended lifestyle changes that can help you cut back on expenses.
Word of advice: don’t overdo it and try to change too much all at once. The key to savings success is to select ideas that work for you, and commit to your plan. Once you’re comfortable with your new habits, consider making a few more changes to accelerate your savings.
Around the house
- Cut your electric bill by turning off lights or other electronics when not in use
- Quit cable and start using streaming apps such as Netflix and Hulu
- If you have both a landline and a cell phone, get rid of your landline
- Become a DIYer and do your own household maintenance and repair jobs like mowing the lawn, painting walls, and cleaning
- Sharpen your cooking skills and eat in more often
- On weekends, cook a couple meals and store them the freezer to have on hand when you’re too busy to cook
- When you eat out, first search online for two for one coupons and early-bird specials
- Find out which movie theaters offer discounted rates for afternoon screenings
- Look online for weekly listings of free local entertainment options
- Check out free programs at your local library or park district
- Whether shopping online or in stores, search for sales and compare prices
- If you know in advance you’ll need a big-ticket item next year, call the retailer now and ask when they’ll be having a sale
- Join rewards programs for places you frequent
- Always make a list of what you intend to buy before going shopping to reduce impulse buying
- Don’t go to the grocery store on an empty stomach
- Stock up on essentials when they’re on sale
- Don’t buy brand names when a cheaper store brand is equally acceptable
- Shop at secondhand and thrift stores
- Sometimes it’s cheaper to rent than buy. New online companies like Rent the Runway offer clothing and accessories for far less than the cost to purchase
Increasing Your Income
Today more than ever before, there are opportunities to pick up extra hours with businesses that rely on workers who can choose how many hours they want to work and when they want to work. Here are some side gigs to consider:
- Become a shopper for a grocery shopping service like Peapod
- If you have a car, become a ride-share driver with Uber or Lyft or work for a local package delivery service
- Offer babysitting or senior companion services in your neighborhood
Managing Your Money
- Pay bills on time to avoid late fees
- Whenever you can, pay the full amount due on credit cards, or at least pay more than the minimum amount due to reduce interest charges
- Create a budget and record expenses to stay on track