10 Ways To Save Money This Year – Part 1
It’s still early enough in the year that you can stick with your New Year’s resolution to do a better job with your money. These 10 ways to save money this year will help you save your money as well as help you build a savings even with a tight budget or a tough economy.
What can you do to save money this year?
1. Be determined to save money every day.
If you make a pledge to yourself that you will act wisely with every single decision you have come your way this year, even every small action or choice that comes your way, and you can be faithful to that pledge at least most of the time, you WILL make a dent in your personal finances.
You may not be perfect. You may make a mistake. You may already have made a mistake this past month. That is OK. God gives grace. It is OK to accept grace upon yourself then too.
Just go back to wise decision making the very next time you have something come up in life you need to act on (which I’m guessing will be almost immediately as life is FULL of changes that demand either our money or our discipline).
Dieting works best if you get right back on the horse if you fall off the bandwagon. The process of wise financial decision making is the same.
Just remember: You’ll always have chances to either spend extra money or make a good choice the next time around.
2. Find ways to save on groceries.
This might very well be where you can save the most money on living expenses. It is where your snap decisions – or your prior planning – can either make or break you too.
While keeping rule #1 (making the best financial decisions you can make) in mind, learn how to save money on food.
If you don’t know how yet, learn how to do that!
There are plenty of websites, blogs, and youtube videos that help you learn how to save money on groceries. There are some extreme coupon sites that will match store sales WITH coupons and even cash back or gas rewards. I have already posted some good money saving tips from other sites right here at padoozles.com and have pointed you towards some good sites that teach how to save in this very hands-on area of your budget.
Additionally, cell phone apps now make it even easier to find the lowest sales prices on any given food product and to match it with a manufacturer’s coupons. I WILL be posting some of the best of those phone apps for you once I have some more time to try mine out a little more.
Just checking grocery store weekly sales ads, finding the lowest cost meats and/or produce that week, and then finding recipes for the week based on those loss leader items will save you money. Yes, you can save a lot of money on groceries without coupons!
There are many ways now to save money at the grocery store. If you don’t know how, take this year to learn and to make some good grocery store shopping habits that can become a part of your life.
You’ll save money as you are learning and trying things too!
3. Take steps to pay off any credit card or debt as you can but only as you can. How do you eat an elephant? You know the answer!
If you can pay off a credit card, more power to you! You have freed up some money as well as done a good thing for your credit score.
However, if you are not to where you can pay off anything yet, pay at least a few dollars more on each one while eyeing one of the smallest ones to pay off the first.
When I have a balance due on a credit card, the minimum I pay is something rounded UP from the minimum listed on my credit card statement. For instance, if the statement says I owe $46.95, I pay $50.00 or maybe even $55.00 (or maybe a little more if I am trying to actually pay THAT card off first). But I ALWAYS pay something rounded up from the minimum on EVERYTHING.
You know why I do that? It is because I find a sense of satisfaction in knowing I have just outsmarted a computer, especially a computer that is judging my credit worthiness and /or my credit rating. Boy, does that feel good, and at a time when hard financial times can sometimes overwhelm a person, feeling smarter than a computer can give a person a real sense of accomplishment and general well-being!
So far as my family dollars go, I have just paid an additional dollar or two… or twenty… or forty… or 15 cents or 45 cents more. (Yet get the picture.) Whatever I can do rounded up for each and every one, I will do. So far as that computer knows, I have not only paid off my minimum, I have paid MORE than my minimum.
Oh, I don’t know if that really makes a difference to that computer or not, but it SURE makes a difference in my positive feelings and emotions! I feel GOOD paying off something that some computer says is more than my minimum.
You know what too? It has helped me begin to instill a sense of paying off debt. Even if I am paying off just a few dollars more of my debt each month, at least I’m doing that much. …. And that much feels really good and makes me want to keep doing that more and more.
Try it, and see how it feels! Such a monthly exercise might just help you eventually find the strength, courage, and fortitude you need to take the first steps to pay down debt as quickly as possible then!
4. Take advantage of a tough economy that affects businesses.
While you never wish hard times on anyone, hard times happen. Sometimes any business or transaction at all, even though it might not be optimal for the other side, is still welcome and in fact, sometimes life saving.
Restaurants need to entice people to eat out instead of eating at home. If you have any budget amount to eat out and have those recreational funds to use, look for great deals from restaurants. I remember when I saw my first “kids eat free” sign years and years ago. That was a bad economic time too. I looked at the sign and then at my two little daughters (at the time) and said “I guess even recessions have a silver lining”.
Also, retail stores that go out of business or declare bankruptcy need to empty their inventory. It’s OK to purchase items from them when this happens because they can’t do anything else but sell their things at this point anyway. Look for those close out deals, and if you feel badly for them, say a prayer for the employees you see still working there. They may not know their future. Their inventory though… It needs to go, and you are helping them all at that point.
5. Take steps to save money on monthly bills and utilities.
Your utility bills, your auto insurance payments, your property taxes, etc. are all pretty big chunks of your monthly budget and living expenses. While there may not be a lot of personal choices there, there are some actions you can take to make sure you are not overpaying… or paying for something you really don’t need to be paying for… or SHOULDN’T be paying for.
Examine your monthly accounts, your monthly statements.
First, are you getting overcharged for something or being charged for something you did not know you had? If so, make notes so you will have that info so you can call the company and ask what that is all about. You may find out there is an error. You may have accidentally added a service you did not want or realize you had added. You may discover some hidden charges from a company that is customary but which you did not realize you had to pay with that company. Such information helps you to see where hidden money is going out the door and also helps you determine if you want to even stay with a particular service provider or not.
Also when looking at your utility and monthly service bills, also ask yourself if there is some way you can cut down on that monthly expense. Can you save on electricity use? Can you use a timer in the shower? Would you consider air drying one or two loads of clothes every week? Can you cut the cable and do without cable bills if only for a set amount of time to begin with?
After you have examined your bills and monthly expenses, then take that one important step to call your utility providers and service contractors to clarify any charges, remove any additional, unneeded features or services you don’t need, and negotiate a lower contract if you so choose to then.
When changes of provider services are available, be ready with other provider’s offers so you know you COULD go somewhere else if need be. (Sometimes changing might JUST BE the way to go too!) If you current provider wants you to stay, and in a bad economy… they usually do…. and if they give you a good enough offer to stay with them, you have just saved yourself a chunk of money every month.
If you do that with EVERY utility and service provider, you have saved that much more! Those savings do add up.
We will continue with “10 Ways to Save Money This Year” in the next post.
In the meantime, take step #1 above, and go from there! Begin right now with the attitude that you will consider every decision here on out with wisdom, sensibility, and a bit of old fashioned horse sense. When you begin to make wise and sound financial decisions, you will definitely find yourself in better financial shape in the coming days!
10 Ways To Save Money This Year continues, so keep reading!