A new year is a great time for a money makeover. If you struggle with saving, or want to save even more than you do already, here are seven strategies worth implementing.
According to The Simple Dollar contributor Trent Hamm, one of the simplest ways to avoid impulse purchases is to apply the 30-day rule. Like its name implies, this rule involves waiting a period of 30 days to decide on whether or not to make a purchase. Observing this rule each month is a great way to build a long-term habit of making delayed purchasing decisions.
Whether you’re grocery shopping or clothes shopping, an easy way to avoid unplanned purchases is to make a list, as Hamm advises. Make sure to stick to the list and turn a blind eye to anything not on it. This strategy will help you buy only the food and clothing you need, rather than splurging on junk food that you might not eat or trendy apparel that you might only wear a few times.
While having a night out with your partner or friends can be refreshing, it can be a pricey habit. Hamm recommends limiting evening outings by opting for alternative entertainment and food at home. Try having a game or trivia night, or an appetizer potluck, with friends the next time you crave a get-together.
Pay down your debts
School loans and credit cards can have high interest rates that add up over time. Kimberly Palmer, contributor with U.S. News & World Report, advises to pay down your debts as soon as possible to maximize savings. If you’re not sure where to start, begin with the loans or accounts that have the highest interest rates.
Master the art of sewing
Knowing how to sew can help your wardrobe last longer and reduce the need to buy new clothes, as Hamm articulates. For starters, learn how to sew a hem, mend a tear and hem a pair of pants. If you have the discipline and time, learn how to do basic alterations to save even more by not having to go to a tailor the next time you need a piece of clothing taken in (or out).
Use automatic deposits
Put modern banking methods to use by setting up automatic deposits into your savings account, each time you get a paycheck. Per The Balance contributor Joshua Kennon, it’s an easy way to stay on track with your saving goals. It’s also a good idea to have the savings account with a separate financial institution than your checking account, as Michele Lerner with Money Crashers recommends. That way, it’s a bit harder to access the funds for nonessential items, the next time you feel like making an impulse buy.
Make your own meals
Frequently eating out can take a toll on your savings. Palmer recommends cooking your own meals regularly, to reduce monthly food costs. She also suggests implementing budget-friendly dishes — like soup and pasta — into your meal plan, to save even more money.
By applying these seven tips, you’re well on your way to a more lucrative new year — and building healthier financial habits that will pay off in the years to come.