I am really terrible about keeping my New Year’s resolutions. Apparently so are other people because according to U.S. News, 80 percent of people break their resolutions by the second week of February. My resolutions tend to be about eating healthier or losing weight, both of which I really ought to work on, but something I have been able to maintain throughout the year is saving money in a variety of ways.
If you still haven’t found your groove on saving money, the key is to start small and with something that you can maintain. Pick just one of these to start your savings, or if you really want to do better, pick a couple. Just remember that if you try to do too much, you might end up as one of the 80 percent whose resolutions fail.
Do a savings challenge
The concept is simple: each week all year you save the money based on what week it is. In week 1, save $1; week 2, save $2, and so on until week 52, and you save $52. Add all that up to save $1,378 by the end of December. Or do it backward (save $52 in week 1 and $1 in week 52) to have more money around the holidays. Try to keep a separate savings account that you just deposit money into and forget about it. Even better, do it with a group of friends to hold each other accountable.
Use apps or websites for cash back
There are so many options today to get money back from the shopping you are already doing. My favorites are Ibotta, Swagbucks and Ebates. Just from the couple days around Black Friday where I did some online shopping, I made back about $13 from Swagbucks for shopping I was doing anyway. Then take that money you earned back, and put it toward your savings challenge.
Save at stores by shopping sales and rewards
Commit to only buying items that are on sale and avoid buying at full price ever. If you pay attention to store’s ads, you’ll notice that sales have cycles. Buy when the sales happen to help ease your budget. Look for additional savings in the ads, or through store programs, like Cartwheel at Target or CVS ExtraBucks Rewards where you can find coupons or discounts in their apps.
Only eat out with a coupon or deal
We all want to eat out at times, so it’s not realistic to say never eat out, so instead, I really try to find some kind of offer for lower prices. Look for restaurants with kids eat free deals or daily specials, restaurant apps that often have coupon offers, gift card deals, or coupons on local sites or through coupon books that are often sold for fundraising.
Do price comparisons
Some of us are faithful to certain stores, and often for good reason. But sometimes we don’t realize that the same 12 pack of paper towels might be $2 cheaper at another store at regular price, and with sales, it might even be cheaper. If you shop at Costco or Sam’s, be sure that the price on what you buy is actually cheaper than other stores. Compare shopping at Amazon with Subscribe and Save. I only buy dog food through Amazon now because I found that the brand of dog food I buy is $6 cheaper per bag. That kind of savings certainly adds up.
This is a pretty small list of really easy things that you can do to save money in the new year. Once you master one of them, move on to another, and then you’ll really start to see savings, and you’ll be on your way to a new year of frugal living.