A new year is creeping up on us… are you ready to reconsider your spending habits?
If you’re looking to spend less next year and save more, start with these handy tips below.
1) Buying new? Look for discounts and coupons
Why pay full price on an item when there are so many ways to save money online?
Whether its fashion items or tech gear, prices are always marked up, so you should never purchase at full price until you run a search for discounts, coupons or better deals on competitor sites.
Use services like Sello to find the best deals available online. There you can discover products, connect directly with merchants and find new and updated discount codes.
You can still buy brand-new products but you’ll save money on the final price. It’s a win-win situation.
2) Organize your finances
I’ve written numerous budgeting posts in the past, both here and in my personal finance blog All the Frugal Ladies.
There is no budgeting, there is no saving, and there is no way to control your finances unless you keep your revenue and expenses organized and tracked.
There are so many helpful ways to do that today. Personally, I love using Excel because I can create a budgeting spreadsheet every which-way I want.
However, there is also a surplus of apps, online services, templates, and computer software you can use.
Find the one that works for you and start tracking exactly what you or your family is spending each month as well as how much you are earning.
Before any budget can be created, you need to understand where you are over-spending and only then analyze how to cut your costs.
3) DIY when you can
When I am referring to DIY, I’m not talking about arts and crafts and making your own jewelry – although, you certainly could if you’d like to.
I’m talking about learning to do things yourself rather than outsourcing the work.
Whenever we have a problem at home, be it with a leaky faucet or an appliance breaking down, the first thing I do is try to understand the gravity of the problem and whether I can fix it myself.
Google and YouTube are imperative in this effort: I look at tutorials, I read through guides, and I evaluate whether it’s a pragmatic task.
A lot of the time, fixes are quite minor and I do manage to tackle them. Just last month, I fixed an internal leaking problem in my fridge. After watching some tutorials online, it took me about 5 minutes to realize it was a blocked defrost drain and fix it myself.
Of course, you do need to consider other issues such as guarantee (you don’t want to void a guarantee by trying to fix something yourself) and danger. Don’t try to fix anything that could be dangerous and requires a technicians or expert.
4) Build a menu with a nutritionist
You may be asking yourself, but Ronnie, what does a nutritionist have to do with frugality?
Well… surprise! Sticking to a meal routine can result in your expenses going down.
Don’t believe me? Here are five ways taking control of your eating will help you save money.
First, Nutritionists provide a healthy menu full of vegetables, which in most countries, is very affordable. Thus, expenses go down versus eating pricier alternatives.
Second, you can buy discount items in bulk because you know they’ll be included in many upcoming meals. Personally, I buy tuna, cereal bars, granola bars, and just about any food that lasts for months or years. Of course, I wait for discounts to really take advantage of bulk buying.
Third, you won’t be eating out at restaurants nearly as much, if at all. This results in a large reduction in expenses. Since following my new menu, I’ve reduced my food spending by close to $200 a month.
Fourth, portioning food means that you’ll have more left over. Now that I portion out exactly how much rice, pasta or quinoa I’m cooking, the bags last me forever.
Fifth, the overall improvement in your health, weight and energy has a domino effect on lowering health-related expenses in the future.
Sixth, if you’re paying a nutritionist, you will feel obligated to actually follow through with the menu. Otherwise, you’re throwing money away.
If hiring a nutritionist is out of your budget, there are alternatives:
- Certain health plans include free sessions or discounts.
- Look into online nutritionists who will assist you for a lower rate
- Use an app to help guide you
- Join online or local weight-loss or nutrition communities
5) Carpool – either driving or riding
I’m an obsessed user of the Waze Carpool app. Since I discovered it, I carpool to work and back every day.
The benefit on my end is that I can skip the frustrating long wait for buses and dozens of stops… plus, it shortens my journey by over an hour.
The benefit on the driver’s end is being paid for a share of the gas, thus their expenses go down.
Waze Carpool is still on testing mode and is only available in a few locations, but they are amplifying their reach.
If it’s not available in your area, look into alternatives such as offering or requesting carpools on local Facebook groups, looking for other apps enabled in your region, or even asking coworkers.
I’m saving about 40 hours a month in transportation and my carpool driver is saving about $125. Definite win-win.
How do you plan on saving money this New Year? Share with us below!
Thanks to Freepik for the featured image.