Here’s your New Year’s Resolution. Right here. Bundled into one very clever and important goal on your to-do list for 2015. There’s no time like this time to finally master the art of organizing yourself by saving yourself.
I’ve put together my best tips on how to spend less and save more. Whether time, age or circumstances have forced you to look at money differently – it’s never too late to start saving - and save more!
1. Yes, January is a big month for saving money. Deals are everywhere from white sales to home furnishings. There are house wares, exercise equipment, cruises, TV’s, and more. You can save big time. Still, indulge with caution. Just because it’s on sale, does that mean it’s a good value? Would you buy it if it wasn’t on sale? In the long run, it may end up costing you more.
2. Real Simple: Pay with cash! It will force you to think twice before you buy it.
3. Adapt the 14 day rule. Take a wait and see. Chances are you’ll lose interest.
4. Easy Save: Pay yourself first. Even if it’s only $5, start a “you” fund and sock money away.
5. At the end of the day, take all your loose change (or dollar bills) and drop them into a huge jar. Unless you have sticky fingers, you’ll save a small fortune in a year’s time.
6. Drink water. Water is FREE! Even if you choose bottled/filtered water, it’s still cheaper and healthier than other choices including high sugar and fat-filled lattes!
7. Cut out other expensive unnecessary must-haves. (Can you believe the price of drinks at the movies? Super –duper over the top special spa pedicures? Buy the second pair of shoes at half price. Do you really need that 2nd pair?) Do the math over the course of the year. Put the savings in your pocket not theirs.
8. Shop with a list and stick to it. Plan dinners and stock up on staples according to what’s on special that week. Clip coupons and use them.
9. Buy in bulk. You’ll save money and gas on multiple trips to the store.
10. Eat at home. When cooking, double up on the recipe and freeze a batch for another meal (soups, casseroles, lasagna are great items to freeze.)
11. Rather than buying pre-packaged snack packs, prepare your own healthy snacks that have lasting power.
12. Don’t throw out fruit. For instance, that much ripened, gently bruised banana can be peeled, cut up, frozen and added to a smoothie.
(TID BIT: Think of the expression “Going Bananas.” It’s from the effects that a banana has on the brain. It’s a miracle fruit, high in fiber, potassium –a natural sugar and low in salt.)
13. Take lunch to work. It’s cheaper and healthier.
14. Buy generic–You and your family will save a bundle. The only difference between the two, often but not always, is the marketing.
15. Another way to save is to buy one terrific all purchase cleaning product. White distilled vinegar works wonders all around the house and on leather too. Combined with baking soda, on certain surfaces, it doubles its cleaning power.
16. Clean out your closet. Think of the 80/20 rule (you wear 20% of the clothes 80% of the time.) Be ruthless and get rid of what you don’t wear, love or want. You can have a tag sale with the goods, take gently used items to a consignment shop, or even donate them for a tax deduction – all of which turn into money in your pocket.
17. When you leave home, turn the lights out, heat down and air off.
18. If you don’t use it cancel it. This includes memberships you don’t use, magazine subscriptions you don’t read, as well as cable and satellite stations you don’t watch.
19. Avoid spending triggers: Be aware of places that trigger spending, including browsing on the internet. Or, you’re over stressed and need a pick-me-up (try walking or yoga instead.)
20. Barter. Money doesn’t change hands. Just favors.
21. Conquer and divide. Share rarely used items with family such as a coffee pot that serves a large crowd, folding chairs, etc.
22. Don’t hesitate to ask for a better deal. Utility bills, Dr. bills. You’d be surprised what’s negotiable.
23. Consolidate your loans. It might be worthwhile to consolidate your loans into one low-rate package. Look into the various loan consolidation packages – even a 1% reduction on a $10,000 loan saves you $100 a year – and your loan is probably bigger than that (and the rate cut you could get is probably bigger).
24. The best gifts to give are those you make. Baked goods, knits, personalized stationery and a scrap-book of memories have been some of my favorites.
25. Keep a journal and write down everything you spend. It will help you to edit or at the very least, it will open your eyes.