New Year’s Eve is just around the corner, which means that many people have resolutions on their mind. If you’d like to make some financial changes in 2017, it’s wise to consider making a few money-related New Year’s resolutions. Here are some of the smartest ways you can save some money over the course of the upcoming year.
1. Keep the Change
Saving up your change can pay off big-time over the course of the year. All it takes it setting aside a bowl or a jar where you can collect any spare change you collect throughout the day. You might be surprised at just how much you can save by the end of 2017 using this method. At the conclusion of next year, you could use that change to offset the cost of Christmas gifts, add to your savings or even give something back to a charity close to your heart.
The tricky thing about this resolution is that some people don’t use cash very often anymore. With the convenience of debit and credit cards, you might not accumulate much physical change over the year. Fortunately, there are some programs and apps that can help you out. See if your bank offers a program that can help you out, such as Bank of America’s Keep the Change program which rounds purchases up to the nearest dollar and puts the extra in savings. There are plenty of apps that provide a similar service, such as Acorns, which rounds up and invests your change in your choice of five investment portfolios that range from aggressive to conservative.
2. Shop With Cash
As mentioned above, many people like to use their credit or debit card when shopping. Sure, it’s convenient, but the drawback is that you often aren’t thinking as much about the amount you spend since you know your card will cover it. That all changes when you switch to cash-based spending. Consider leaving your credit and debit cards at home the next time you go grocery shopping. Instead, bring along only what you want to spend on groceries that day in cash, whether it’s $20 or $120. Instead of adding a few “extras” that aren’t on your shopping list, you’ll be calculating the costs in your head to make sure you’re on budget. After all, if you go over, you’ll have to put those extra items back on the shelves.
This same system can be used for any kind of spending. Take just $20 to the movies so you won’t end up being tempted by that severely overpriced popcorn after buying your tickets. If you need new shoes, stick to your $50 budget by only bringing that much in cash. It’s a great way to keep yourself on track if you have a habit of impulse spending.
3. Pay off Debts
Giving your money to a creditor might not exactly sound like a “money-saving” tip. But in the long run, this is really pay off by saving you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in interest fees. Many people ignore the amount of interest they’re paying on each bill and simply submit the minimum payment required. This is a sure way to waste your money on a never-ending cycle of debt and fees. This year, make a commitment to pay down your debts significantly. Once that payment is gone, you’ll be amazed at just how much more money you have each month.
4. Replace or Reduce One Regular Expense
If asked where your money goes each month, you might think of the big things like a mortgage, groceries and car payment. While that’s true, it’s also important to consider the little things that add up during the year. A $3 coffee each day equals $1,905 per year. Going out for a $10 lunch twice a week at work comes out to $1,040. These are serious expenses that you could consider cutting back on to make a big financial change in the coming year.
Maybe you can make your own coffee at home to cut your expenses down. Even limiting your lunch outings to once a week saves hundreds. Other ideas include biking to work to save on gas, using only real plates and napkins at home to save on the disposable versions, and switching to a cheaper phone plan. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can get used to these small changes to your daily routine. Plus, if you keep track of your savings from these little changes, it can encourage you to keep up with your new money-saving habits. Challenge yourself to cut at least “minor” expense from your routine. Can you keep it up throughout all of 2017? How much will you save?
It doesn’t have to take cutting back to bare bones to get a financial boost in the new year. Small changes can give you a new perspective on your financial future, especially when you start to reap the rewards of your money-saving resolutions.