The New Year allows for a fresh start and when it comes to saving money that’s just what many of us need. The holidays are a time when many of us let loose and probably spend more than we’re meant to. That’s why New Year’s is a great time to make a resolution to start saving money. Whether you choose to do a no-spend month or commit to a savings plan, you can make fun New Year’s resolutions to help you save money.
Drink More Water
What?! To save money??
Yes! Drinking more water can help you save more money by swapping out your normal daily drink. Especially at restaurants! Think about it, a soda at a restaurant is going to be average of $3 each. Times that by 2 of you and add tax…plus more for tip. So, forgo the sodas at the restaurant and skip your afternoon latte and choose water.
And your body and skin will thank you!
Cut The Cable
Have you sat down and figured out how much money you spend on cable each year? It’ll probably surprise you if its just an automatic thing for you to pay. And you don’t even watch a majority of the channels you’re paying for.
With all the streaming services now, you’re sure to be able to still watch all of your favorite shows at a much cheaper price.
Check out Hulu for Prime Time Shows; it’s the same as your favorite cable shows, only you have to wait a day to watch it. Netflix is great for binge watching shows and finding some classic movies. Disney+ of course is the newest thing which is great for all ages. And now YouTube, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon all have their own streaming services too.
Choose two of your favorites and cut the rest!
Choose to Have a No-Spend Month
A no-spend month isn’t exactly what it sounds like. Obviously, you will still need to buy gas for your car, milk and bread, etc. What is really means is that you’re not going to spend money that you don’t need to spend. Instead of buying lots of groceries, you’re going to eat what you have on hand. Instead of going to the movies, you’re going to utilize your Netflix subscription.
You’re also not going to buy those things you love to spend money on, such as clothing, craft supplies, makeup, etc. You’re going to use the things you all ready own. We all know we have lots of stuff in our houses that we love, but don’t actually use. It’s time to save all your extra spending money this month and put it into savings.
Not spending money on these things for one month is going to give you a lot more money than you expected at the end of the month. Put that money in savings or use it to pay down debt.
Make it a Year
Want to challenge yourself? Try to have a No EXTRA spend YEAR! That’s right…no buying new clothes, new makeup, new decor, etc. Wear out the clothes you already wear (You probably have things in your closet with the tags still on them, amiright?)
Now, you may be wondering how getting organized can save you money. The truth is that when you’re organized, you’ll save a lot of money.
This is because you can actually find the items you own. For example, instead of having a messy pantry in which you’re constantly tossing items in the trash, organize it. Once it’s organized, you can see what you have on hand and eat it before it expires. Plus you won’t be buying duplicates.
The same goes for your closet. Once your closet is organized, it’s much easier to find the pieces you want to wear. No more, “I can’t find anything to wear”, it’ll be hanging up right there in your closet.
This is also a great time to donate things that are just taking up space and aren’t being used. Marie Kondo anyone?
Stay Entertained, But for Free
Sometimes this one is hard to jump on, but as soon as you do it, you realize how much money you are saving! Think about it, whats the first thing you do when you hang out with friends or do a date night? More often than not, it’s food and entertainment.
But what about keeping the food and entertainment at home? Instead of heading out to a dinner and movie with your girls, invite them over for wine and game night. Invite all your friends and have a Couples Game Night. We guarantee you’ll all have even more fun hanging out than sitting in a movie theater anyway.
Get sick of the indoors, go for a hike, ride bikes, go to a farmer’s market just to look around. There are several free and cheap activities you can do all around you.
Have a Dry Month
On the same note as drinking water instead of soda, try having no alcohol at all. Going out to bars and restaurants and having a couple drinks adds up really quick!
Paint Your Own Nails/Skip a Haircut
Before you jump on me, yes, self-care is important. But who’s to say you can’t do these things on your own? Maybe not cutting your own hair, but take a few months off from going to get your nails done, and maybe extend the time between hair cuts/color/etc.
This is going to be different for each person, but the thinking is the same. What’s one thing you can give up each month that isn’t a necessity?
Cancel Those Subscriptions
You know, those beauty subscription boxes that are just on auto-pay, magazines that just show up at the house every week, your music apps so you don’t have to listen to commercials…
All these things add up, and can add up big too! Write down all your subscriptions you are paying for and see how much more money you can save each month. I bet you’re even forgetting some!
Try Off Brand
This is a great tip especially with groceries. We started buying generic or store brand food and have been saving a lot more money than we would’ve thought. Next time you’re at the store picking out the brand you’re use to, check the one a couple items down and see how much money you can save.
We know this doesn’t work for everything, (as nothing beats nestle chocolate chips), but do what you can!
Commit to a Savings Plan
There are so many savings plans to choose from. However, a very popular one is the 52-Week Savings Plan. The way this plan works is that you save $1 during the first week, $2 the second week, and so on until you put away $52 the last week of the year. It’s not only simple, but eases you into saving money.
We love this idea, but if you’re anything like us, it’s easier to save money at the beginning of the year, rather than the end…hello, Christmas?!
So reverse the 52-Week Savings Plan and start saving $52 the first week of January. You’ll be doing your no-spend month anyway, so this should be easy.
When is the last time you shopped around for your car insurance? Ours kept going up and we just paid it because that was our insurance. It wasn’t until we got another notice of raising our payment that we decided to call a few other places and see what we could save.
We found the exact same insurance from another provider for 40% less than we were paying per month. All for about 30 minutes of phone calls.
Create a Realistic Budget…and Stick to It!
Probably the most important resolution you can make to save money is to create a budget. Don’t go too crazy and write up a budget that you won’t be able to keep up with. You want a budget that gives you wiggle room and is realistic.
This means that you want to track your family’s expenses for at least two months before you create your budget. This will give you a better idea of where your money goes each month. Write down every penny spent. At the end of the month, create categories, such as groceries, automotive, entertainment, household, etc. Choose categories that work for your family.
And then stick to that budget! If your entertainment budget is depleted for the month, enjoy the free activities instead.
These are just a few of the top New Year’s resolutions to help you save money. Sometimes it’s as simple as cutting back on your spending or choosing to eat at home more often. Think about the areas where you have problems and address those problems. Let this year be the one where you finally get your finances in order.