If your New Year's resolution is to save money then you're in luck. Here are 19 money-saving tips to help you ring in the New Year with a fat savings account.
1) Make a Shopping List
Don’t go to the grocery store without a list. Once you get there, don’t buy anything that isn’t on your list. Resist the urge to make impulse purchases and check to make sure that sale prices are really a good deal.
2) Make Homemade Foods
Bread making is a dying art, but t really isn’t difficult. Homemade bread is also cheaper, healthier and tastes better than store bought. This can be expanded to jams, jellies and other foods that are typically bought premade.
3) Drink More Water
Aside from the health benefits, drinking water can also save you money. Sodas, coffee and other high-priced drinks can really add up over time, especially if you drink them every day.
4) Cook at Home
Make your own lunches and dinners and save eating out for special occasions. Not only will this save you money, it will probably make you healthier to boot, which will save you even more money on medical care resulting from a bad diet.
5) Plant a Garden
Not only will you get the freshest of produce, you will save money over the inferior grocery store product that has often been shipped for thousands of miles and picked before it was fully ripe. Plus, many find gardening therapeutic, allowing them to relax and slow down.
6) Shop in Season
Buy holiday items after the holidays. Most fresh foods are less expensive when they are readily available. By planning ahead for seasonal purchases, you can save a lot during the year.
7) Do It Yourself
Don’t pay someone else for tasks that you can do yourself. Many home repairs aren’t that hard to complete and a trip to the hardware store is usually cheaper than hiring it out, even if you may have to buy an inexpensive tool or two.
8) Mend Old Clothes
Instead of throwing out clothing that has a little wear, do some repair instead. Virtually anyone can do simple sewing, from replacing a missing button to sewing on a patch. Don’t buy new clothes when your old ones still have a lot of life left.
9) Pay Off Your Debt
According to the Federal Reserve, an average American family carries more than $15,000 worth of debt. Paying unnecessary interest on credit cards and other debt is a big money drainer. Pay more than the minimum and get those cards paid off. It will cost a little more in the near term, but overall it will save you money.
10) Get a Lower Credit Card Rate
Call your credit card company and ask for a lower rate. Many will lower rates just for the asking, especially with the high competition today. If they won’t comply, look into the possibility of transferring your balance to a lower rate card.
11) Refinance Your Mortgage
If you haven’t done this yet, it’s time to start doing some checking. See what banks and mortgage companies have to offer and compare this against your present payments to see if you can save a bit of money each month.
12) Look for a Cheaper Place to Live
If you have way too much house for your needs, consider downsizing. A smaller home or apartment will save you money on rent or mortgage payments, utility bills, maintenance and even time. If you are taking care of more home than you need, downsizing can allow you to redirect your resources.
13) Buy Less Gas
Make fewer trips in your car by consolidating your errands. Try to carpool with other workers in your neighborhood. Take the bus, a bike or even walk when it is possible to do so.
14) Turn Off Lights
Reduce your electric bill by turning off lights and electronics when they aren’t needed. Switch to energy efficient bulbs and appliance. Even unplugging chargers and other devices when not in use can save you significant money over the course of a year.
15) Sell Excess Stuff
If you have a garage, basement or attic full of stuff you don’t use anymore, try selling it. You can have a garage sale or sell it online. Turn your old junk into cash and you can put the money into your savings.
16) Divide Wants and Needs
Society tells us we need the biggest and fastest and latest and newest of everything. Learn to separate needs from wants. Don’t buy anything on impulse. Wait a few days, maybe as long as a month. If you still need it, then it probably isn’t an impulse buy.
17) Use Money Making Apps
If you're like most families your cell phone bill is one of your biggest monthly expenses. However, you can earn back some of that cash by tapping into money-saving and money-making apps, like TaskRabbit, KickStart and Swagbucks.
18) Borrow Books and Movies
Most libraries now have an extensive collection of movies on DVD, in addition to their obvious storehouse of books. Borrowing a movie from the library is much cheaper than renting. You can also get music CDs and a host of other entertainment options, all at no cost.
19) Host a Party
When you want to get together with friends, invite them over instead of going out with them. These get-togethers don’t have to be elaborate or expensive, the really highlight to the evening is not food or drink but good companionship.
20) Buy Used
From cars to clothes to electronics, there are many opportunities to find gently used items that others don’t want, never really needed in the first place or simply couldn’t afford. Use their impulse buying to your advantage.