Do you want to save money in 2016? That’s great; most people do. And hey, there’s good reason to make saving a new year’s resolution. With the economy on the upswing, there’s a lot of hope and opportunity to save more and get rid of debt.
Making a new year’s resolution to save more money is great, but it’s too vague to be truly effective. That’s why I want to provide concrete, down-to-earth advice on how to save money this year.
Make Food at Home: Cooking Saves Money
Cooking at home is the easiest way to save money. If you buy a $10 lunch and $13 dinner 5 times a week, that’s $115 for just part of your weekly food budget. And if you have a whole family you feed, multiply that number by more. In contrast, you can get a large amount of groceries, including healthy produce, for less money that’ll cover the ENTIRE week, especially when you shop in bulk at wholesale places like Costco or discount grocery spots like Grocery Outlet.
To learn more about cooking at home for less, here are easy ways to eat more meals at home: save money on food and reduce waste!
And hey, if you’re interested in easy, cheap recipes for you (or a whole family!), check out these delicious 18 cheap, easy meals under $5 (breakfast, lunch and dinner!).
*Image Credit goes to Victor Hanacek of PicJumbo
Make Paying Off Debt a Priority
To get rid of debt faster, cut out everything that’s not a necessity. Trust me, you’ll feel so good the closer you get to that zero mark! It’s critical to know, too, that you’re not alone. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s November 2015 report, the average American is $46,150 in debt. By using the other tips in this blog, you CAN launch forward in paying off your debt.
*Photo Credit Goes to: Victor Hanacek of Pic Jumbo
Give Yourself an Allowance
As a child, your parents might have given you an allowance. If they gave you $5 each week, that was all you could spend. Perhaps you gave up having a popsicle from the ice cream truck because you knew you wanted a popcorn at the movies that night. Because you didn’t have a credit card, ATM card, Paypal account, etc., that $5 was it.
Set up the same type of system for yourself as an adult. Give yourself an allowance, like a personal payroll. For example, set a budget of $100 in cash for the week, knowing that is all you allowed to spend. It’ll show you what you’re willing to prioritize and really want to put your money towards. (Do have an emergency fund set aside though, just in case of emergencies such as car trouble or medical needs.)
Give Up Smoking: Save Money & Help Your Health
Currently, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, 16 million Americans smoke. Are you one of them? Think about the benefits that would happen if you gave up smoking.
Smoking is wicked expensive. If you give up smoking, you’re not only helping your health, you’re saving a lot of money. If a pack of 20 cigarettes costs an average of $6.28 and you smoke 2 packs a week, that’s $653.12 per year alone. A far more serious, underlying cost, however, are the medical costs. The total economic cost of smoking is over $300 billion per year – mostly due to medical care and loss of productivity and jobs from to premature smoking-related deaths.
Giving up smoking is definitely hard, but the debt and health problems that come with it? Those are even harder.
Photo Credit Goes to Victor Hanacek of PicJumbo
As with smoking, exercising is not only good for your health, it’s good for your wallet. Working out regularly increases your immunity, improves mood and decreases chances for dangerous things like diabetes, heart attacks and problems correlated with weight gain, which are all very expensive to deal with. By making regular exercise a priority, it’s much more likely you’ll save on medical bills and health care.
Important tip: Do not simply make a resolution to exercise more. Make it specific, writing out how often and for how long you’ll exercise. For example, “I’ll go to the gym 3 times per week for 1 hour and do a yoga class every weekend.”
Put Your Goals Up Somewhere Visible
Having new year’s resolutions are valuable, but not if you forget the goals you set. So, to make sure you have your goals top of mind, put your goals up somewhere you can see everyday. Here are some ideas:
- Put a note on your bathroom mirror
- Write them at the front of your daily planner
- Have them on a corkboard in your bedroom
- Stick them on the fridge
Having your goals there, in your face, everyday will keep your accountable and more likely to stick to your new year’s resolutions to save money.
Rally with Friends: Have Partners Hold You Accountable for New Year’s Resolutions
Speaking of accountability, here’s another great way to keep your new year’s resolutions. Join forces with your friends. Have a friend (or more) tell you their New Year’s resolutions and share yours. Make a point to keep eachother accountable through the ENTIRE year. When you have a friend checking in to make sure you’re working on your goals, you’re far more likely to keep them.