Happy New Year! If your family is like mine, from October through the end of the year, it’s one fun thing after another. Whether it’s a day trip to the pumpkin patch or all the wonderful events that make the holidays so special, the end of the year can turn into a budget blowing time if you aren’t careful.
If your new year’s resolution is to get your budget back on track, here are a few tips to start saving money.
1. Meal Plan
Treat yourself to a cup of coffee and spend some time making a meal plan. Depending on the age of your kids, they can help too. The more family buy-in, the better!
Meal planning is one of the easiest ways to start saving money. When you plan out your meals and take the time to purchase the food, you’re more likely to stay home and eat them. Having a shopping list helps limit the impulse purchases that may go to waste. Try to make a seasonal meal plan. For example, berries are much more expensive in the winter.
If you’re a visual person, it may help to write the meals on a chalkboard or calendar so the entire family can see the plan. There’s accountability in knowing you bought food and planned to cook dinner tonight.
2. No Spend January
Whether you do a full month of “no spend January” (31 days) or you pick one day a week where you don’t spend a penny for the entire year (52 days), this can add up to big savings.
This doesn’t mean you should go on a shopping spree on December 31st to stock up for the new year. The purpose of this challenge is to get creative while saving money.
After catching a nasty upper respiratory virus at Christmas last year, our family unintentionally spent the first three weeks of January without stepping foot into a restaurant or store, other than basic grocery shopping. My husband and I were shocked as the money in our savings account built up over the month.
When your inbox is constantly flooded with promotional emails from all your favorite stores, it’s easy to get sucked in to buying things you don’t even want. Marketing professionals spend their days coming up with catchy phrasing and graphics that make you click their links. Free shipping and returns can make it so tempting. If you never see the promotional email, you don’t know what you’re missing.
4. Save Money by Staying Focused on Your Plan
According to Forbes, 78% of workers live paycheck to paycheck. Studies have proven that the amount of savings people have is more related to their budget and focus than the size of their paycheck. If you listen to financial podcasts, you’ve probably heard the person making $100k/year calling in with triple that in debt. Oppositely, you’ve probably heard the person making $40k/year who just paid off their home!
Saving money doesn’t have to be difficult when you get intentional about it. The library has tons of free resources for you if you’re looking to start meal planning, budgeting, or even saving for your retirement!
You work hard for your money – it’s time to make sure it’s working hard for you.