Every year we get the chance to reinvent ourselves and our finances, and 2016 is no exception. Do some research and set goals for the coming 11 months with the help of these 6 tips to save money this year.
1. Don’t call them resolutions.
New Year’s resolutions all too often connote failure or lack of commitment. All too often, people set out to realize vague hopes but forget about them soon afterward. Don’t make resolutions. Make goals. Get specific. Review your credit score. Take a look at your living expenses. Devise specific, realistic amounts you can save in a day, a week, and a month. Then put those in your monthly budget and follow through. If you’re not keeping a budget, start keeping one on Excel or another program. Intimate knowledge of your expenses will help you save money this year.
Qualities of a Successful Money-Saving Goal
- Manageable (something you’re sure you can do)
- Educated (incorporating research and personal knowledge of expenses)
- Specific (the more specific, the more likely it is to be successful)
- Thorough (you’ve thought about the long term)
- Requires frequent commitment (using monthly and weekly periods instead of/in addition to annual periods)
Take time putting together your goal. When it comes to saving money this year, there’s no such thing as too much planning.
2. Discuss rates.
Instead of just passively accepting a price, discuss it and see if you can get a better deal. Insurance, Internet, and cable service prices are often negotiable. Call service providers and ask for discounts on a regular basis. Get competitive and offer to go somewhere else, and see how they respond. (It works on some people!) All the dollars you shave off will add up.
3. Don’t spend too much.
Start paying attention to those little “extras” you’ve been buying yourself to save money this year. Create a log of unnecessary expenses, keep track of them, and cut them out of your spending plan. Immediately you’ll start to notice the difference.
Or grab the bull by the horns and stop buying those frivolities right away. Every time you’re tempted to grab a milkshake or extra pack of chewing gum, write it down instead of buying it. Add everything up after a week (or a day, if you can’t handle it) and see exactly how much you just saved.
To maximize this effect, go check bank and credit card statements to verify that you need everything you’re buying. Some things could be charges for services you signed up for but later stopped using. Some could be charges you’ve never seen in your life. Nip these in the bud by identifying them as early as possible and cancelling them.
4. Earn more money.
This is an obvious one, but it’s very true. You can scrimp and save to your heart’s content, but also look into ways of bringing more money into the household. Ask your boss if you can work longer for more pay. Find a part-time job, or look into job ads online. For the most productivity and enjoyment, set up your own business involving something within your expertise. Save money this year by earning more.
Extra Money-Earning Possibilities for a Teacher
- Freelance academic writing
- Adult classes/workshops
- Online teaching
- Workshops on teaching
Evaluate your own skill set. Chances are, you have something to offer people and can put a price tag on it.
5. Transfer your debt.
A 0% balance transfer card will help you curb interest charges. If you’re close to maxing out your credit card, using a transfer card can help you manage some of that debt and save money this year. Check out balance transfer deals for how long they last and how much interest they charge. Before you get a transfer card, make sure you can pay everything off before it expires.
Common Low-Cost Balance Transfer Deals
- 0% interest
- 3% fee
- 12 months
- Few reduced rate options
- Quick transfers expected
6. Open a quality online savings account.
If you have already have a savings account at your bank, consider upgrading to something more in line with your savings goals. High-yield savings and money market accounts have better interest rates and don’t include annual fees. Go online and compare offers. (Some websites like MagnifyMoney.com even help you do this.)
To save money this year, always compare deals. This really helps you save every penny possible and make what you already have count the most it possibly can. Pay close attention to the details of your financial goal and align it to the most cost-friendly savings opportunities, and use these good deals to help your goal become a reality.