Money Saving Tips for the New Year

Money-saving tips for the new year include keeping track of your monthly cash flow — your income minus your expenditures. This step will also make it easier to mark progress toward your savings goal. Try a budget app that tracks your spending. (NerdWallet has a free app that does just that.)  Also adopt the 20/50/30 budget. Save 20% of your income to build a nice cushion, spend 50% on necessities like utilities, automobile payments, etc., and use the remaining 30% as you see fit. This doesn’t work for everyone, but the important takeaway is to pay yourself something first to save regularly, whatever you can afford, to build wealth. You can set up regular automatic banking transfers from checking to your savings.

Another thing we should all do is audit our subscriptions. Gym memberships, newspapers, magazines, streaming services, music apps, gaming apps, entertainment apps, etc. So many times, we forget we signed up for a subscription which seemed important at the time, but we don’t really use it. For example, to save monthly fees, if you have multiple music streaming services, choose your favorite and delete the other subscriptions.

Restrict online shopping. It’s so easy to impulse shop online! You can make it more difficult to shop online to stop spending money on things you may not need. Instead of saving your billing information in checkout, opt to input your shipping address and credit card number each time you order. You’ll probably make fewer impulse purchases because of the extra work involved. You may even consider deleting any shopping apps from your phone for the time being.

Prepare before you go to the grocery store. Look at the store’s weekly sales flyer. Check your pantry and make a shopping list to avoid impulse buying something you don’t need. Use coupons and join loyalty programs to maximize your savings as you shop. In exchange for sharing your phone number or email address, your local store’s loyalty program might offer additional discounts. Look online for ways to stretch your meals, for example when you roast a chicken, make chicken salad for lunches with the leftover meat, or make a chicken and rice casserole or chicken noodle soup, and boil the bones for homemade broth. Buy items you use all the time, like dishwashing soap, paper towels or toiletries, in bulk when they are on sale.

If you use a cash-back credit card, you could earn extra cash back on grocery purchases. Some cards offer as much as 5% or 6% cash back, but you’ll want to be sure to pay off your total bill each month to avoid paying interest and fees.

Do more shopping at thrift and consignment stores, reduce restaurant spending, review your cable and internet bill and maybe seek a bundle deal, review your cell phone costs and perhaps switch carriers, and comparison shop carefully for major expenditures. And ask yourself, “Do I need it, or do I just want it.” Considering how prices and interest rates have increased with inflation this new year is a new beginning so make a resolution to re-access your finances.