When it comes to saving money, there’s no better time to get back on track than the New Year. For some miraculous reason, January gives people hope and inspires them to change their ways. That’s why New Year’s resolutions are so comical. In retrospect, everyone wishes that they had done something different the previous year. So they over plan and overanalyze until they reach the point of frustration and scrap their goals altogether. I’m here to say that there are better ways to spend your time.
If you truly want to be financially fit, you’ll pay careful attention to the advice given here. Although the five money saving habits I have listed here are fairly easy to adapt to, they do require effort if you want to see them through. That means you need to have some staunch determination if you want to alter your financial situation in 2012. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Pay yourself first. That’s right! How do you expect to save when you have nothing left over from your paycheck? Automatically draft payments into your savings account each pay period and you’ll be surprised how little you miss the money that’s being taken out. Treat yourself just like you would any other creditor and force yourself to pay the bill to yourself on time. This little trick can help you save a pretty penny each year. Stop wasting time and sign up for an Ally savings account, be sure to check out my review on Ally Bank. It just takes a few minutes and you can easily set up automatic and recurring deposits.
- Find an alternate means of acquiring things. Before you shell out a bunch of money to purchase something, really think about your options. Is it something that will eventually go on sale? Can you pick it up at a garage sale or thrift store? Is it something you can make yourself? Can you do without it altogether? So many purchases are made impulsively. Stop and take a moment to evaluate an item’s necessity in your household. If you find yourself wondering for a second if it is needed, don’t buy it!
- Create at least one stream of passive income for yourself. Monetize your blog. Pay for your groceries by becoming a secret shopper. Write an article for a magazine once every couple of months. Do whatever it takes to earn some extra cash. It may not be enough to pay all of your bills but it can help in the event of an emergency or whenever you want to take a special trip with your family.
- Join a bartering or swapping website. Clothing, books, movies, and skills can all be swapped online and in your community. Rather than pay for these items, why not trade something you have for them instead? Websites like Freecycle, thredUp, and SwapTree are great for this reason. You don’t have to do without but you also don’t have to spend money every time your kids outgrow something or you grow tired of your book or movie collection.
- Remember that less is more. It’s hard to enjoy the things that you acquire if you have to work all the time to pay for them. Buy less and enjoy more time with your family members and friends. It may be hard to adopt a simpler lifestyle at first but with some practice, you’ll be on your way to enjoying the world around you more.
You have to start somewhere so just start. If you are still struggling with how to start saving money remember to start small and go from there.
Charissa is into frugal living and saving money.