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20 Practical Ways to Save Money in the New Year

We all have good intentions when starting a New Year's resolution. Along with dieting and exercising more, saving money is a popular resolution that many people vow to start once the clock strikes midnight. However, just like becoming healthier, you'll only start noticing a change when you develop healthy habits. Sound overwhelming? It doesn't have to be. With a few tweaks to your spending habits, you'll be on the fast track to financial success all year long.

1. Say goodbye to debt

Monthly debt payments are the biggest obstacle to saving money. The fastest way to pay off debt is with the debt snowball method. This is where you pay off your debts in order from smallest to largest. Sounds kind of intense, right? Don’t worry, it’s more about strategic behavior changes rather than numbers. Once your income is freed up, you can finally use it to make progress toward your savings goals.

2. Cut down on groceries

Most people—after they calculate a budget—are shocked to find out how much they’re actually spending at the grocery store each month. And if you’re the average American family, you’re probably spending around $650. Grocery purchases (or budget busters) add up quite a bit and end up blowing the budget every single month.

Save money on groceries by planning out your meals each week and taking a good look at what you already have in your pantry before you head to the store. Look online to put together a shopping plan that includes weekly deals, manufacturer's coupons, and store coupons you can stack.

And if you’re really trying to find ways to save money, try grocery pickup. Most major grocery stores offer it (sometimes for free). This is valuable because picking up your groceries gets rid of any temptation to grab any unplanned purchases that will go over your budget. 

3. Cancel automatic subscriptions and memberships

Chances are, you’re paying for multiple subscriptions like Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, gym memberships, trendy subscription boxes, and Amazon Prime. It’s time to cancel any subscriptions you don’t use regularly—and make sure that you turn off “auto-renew” when you making a purchase. If you cancel it and decide you can’t go without it, subscribe again—but only if it fits into your new (and improved) budget.

Consider membership sharing with some family or friends on the subscriptions you do want to keep around. Many streaming services, such as Netflix and Hulu, let you watch your favorite shows from two or more screens (with an upgraded account).  That way, everyone wins—and saves!

4. Buy generic

In most cases, the only thing that’s better about brand-name products is the marketing. Generic brands of medicine, staple food items (like rice and beans), cleaning supplies, and paper products cost far less than their brand-name, marked-up competitors—and they work just as well.

5. Cut the cable

It’s no secret that cable prices are continuing to rise. The average monthly price for cable TV is about $106 a month—which adds up to over $1,200 a year. Here’s the good news: Cable isn’t the only way to watch your favorite shows these days. Cut the cord and find out how to save big with alternatives to cable like network apps and streaming services.

6. Save money automatically

Did you know that you can save money without thinking about it? Try setting up your bank account to automatically transfer funds from your checking account into a savings account every month. If that sounds scary to you, you can also set up your direct deposit to automatically transfer 10% of each paycheck into your savings account.

7. Spend unexpected or extra income wisely  

Put your fat work bonus, inheritance, or tax refund to good use. If you’ve still got debt, you’ll be better off using those funds to pay off your student loans or the balance on your credit card instead of stashing that money away. If you’re debt-free, use those extra dollars to build up your emergency fund—you know, for emergencies.

Bonus tip: If you regularly receive large tax refunds, it’s time to adjust the withholding on your paycheck so you can bring home even more money each month. 

8. Reduce energy costs 

Did you know that you can save money on your electric bill just by making a few tweaks to your home? Start with some simple things like taking shorter showers, fixing leaky pipes, washing your clothes in cold tap water, and installing dimmer switches and LED lightbulbs.

While new, energy-efficient appliances are a great way to save money on your electric bill, they’re expensive! But if you work it into your monthly budget, you can pay cash for those small improvements.

9. Unsubscribe from emails

Email marketers are really good at what they do. They know the irresistible temptation of a flash sale or exclusive coupon.

If you just can’t resist shopping when you see a special offer, click the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email. You’ll be less tempted to spend, and your inbox will be a lot less cluttered.

10. Borrow, don't buy

Need a tree trimmer for some weekend yard work or a handheld blender to make a batch of soup? Borrow it from a friend or neighbor instead of taking a trip to the store.

11. Pack lunch (and eat at home)

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average household spends approximately $3,365 on food outside of the home each year. That’s $280 per month! Buying lunch a few times a week may seem harmless in the moment (especially when your favorite restaurant is walking distance from your office), but you can save quite a bit of money simply by packing your lunch.

Not only that, you can often purchase a week’s worth of groceries for the same price as two dinner meals out. Prepare your food at home and watch your savings pile up, month by month.

12. Ask about discounts (and pay in cash)

You never know until you ask—and you should always ask. Next time you’re getting tickets at a movie theater, museum, or sporting event, check to see if they have any special discounts for seniors, students, first responders, military, or AAA members. If not, never underestimate the negotiating power of cash!  

13. Take advantage of your retirement savings plan

If your employer offers a 401(k) match and you aren’t taking full advantage of it, you’re missing out big time. Talk to your HR department to set up an account. Remember, you should wait until you’re completely debt-free (except your mortgage) and have a fully funded emergency fund of three to six months before you start saving and investing for retirement.

14. Lower your cellphone bill

If your monthly cell phone bill competes with your monthly grocery budget, it’s time to find ways to cut back. Save money on your cell service by getting rid of extras like costly data plans, phone insurance, and unnecessary warranties. And don’t be afraid to haggle with or completely switch your provider! It might require a little persistence and research, but the savings are worth it.

15. Try a spending freeze

Don’t buy any nonessential items for a week—or, if you're up for a challenge, a month! Think about it as a contentment challenge. Make your spending freeze successful by prepping meals with the food you already have, avoiding stores where you tend to impulse buy, and saying no to anything that isn’t a basic necessity.

16. DIY everything!

Before you shell out the cash to pay for a new backsplash, fancy light fixture, or even changing the oil in your car, think about doing it yourself! Usually, the cost of materials and a simple Google or YouTube search will save you a ton of money on your latest home project. (Plus, you won’t have to pay someone to do something you can most likely do yourself). But if you’re the type that can’t seem to hit the nail on the head, you might want to ask a friend or neighbor for help so you don’t have to spend extra money to fix what you messed up.

17. Skip the coffee shop  

We get it. This one is painful. But instead of spending $5 on that daily latte, you can save money by just making your coffee at home. Listen, we’re not saying you should only drink instant coffee (unless you’re into that sort of thing). But even purchasing a bag of local beans from your neighborhood coffee shop and brewing it at home will save you a lot of money in the long run.

18. Make the library your friend

Before you click “add to cart” on that brand-new book, check your local library to see if you can borrow it! Most libraries also have audiobooks and digital copies of your favorite books for rent. It’s an easy way to get your reading in without breaking the bank.

19. Try a staycation

When your goal is to save money, a vacation is the worst thing you could spend your money on. Instead of whisking your family off to Cabo, try being a tourist in your own city or state. Not only will this save you hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars, but you can also explore your neighborhood with fresh eyes and have some fun while doing it.

20. Sell everything that doesn't bring you joy

Yes, the Marie Kondo method. Get rid of the things in your home that you don’t use or that you’re willing to let go of for the sake of your financial future. That vintage chair your aunt gave you? Sell it. That crystal vase you found at an antique shop? Sell it. You’d be surprised at how much clutter you have in your home (that you don’t even use or think about). And the cash you can make on those things can be the difference between living paycheck to paycheck and having a fully funded emergency fund.


Appraisals By Michael is a leading full-service appraisal firm with extensive knowledge of the real estate valuation process. We specialize in numerous types of appraisal services, including property (commercial and residential), bankruptcy, divorce, immigration, relocation, and estate matters throughout metro Atlanta's $477 billion real estate market. With 20 years of experience in the real estate market, our appraisers work to provide excellent valuation and consulting services to homeowners, financial institutions, law firms, and accounting firms. Our state-of-the-art appraisal methods allow us to provide customized, detailed reports within 1 to 2 business days, helping to simplify your appraisal experience with accuracy and expertise.

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Posted in:DIY and tagged: DIYsaving moneynyeresolution
Posted by Anne-Marie Boring on January 2nd, 2020 1:35 PMLeave a Comment

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