The New Year is almost here, meaning another list of resolutions to draft. In 2013, keep your finances in order with the following tips to creatively stretch and save more of your paycheck.
Whether this means simply being more informed or actively pre-planning an outing, you can squirrel away enough money by streamlining your spending to stretch your budget in 2013. Start the new year well by setting yourself up for financial success.
- Establish a written budget. Writing out your known and estimated costs will help put extra spending into perspective.
- Stick to cash for face-to-face purchases. Using credit cards can cloud what you’re actually spending.
- Reevaluate your current cable, internet and phone provider contracts. Ask for a better price or explore other pricing options.
- Make a plan before going out to eat. Consider meeting for breakfast or lunch instead of dinner to save money. Sites like Groupon.com and LivingSocial.com constantly share dining discounts for local restaurants and coupon sites like DineOutCheap.com provide coupons you can print or bring up directly on your phone.
- Shop at secondhand stores like Goodwill® to find unbeatable deals on clothes, jewelry, books, toys and more. Even better: the money you spend at Goodwill stores goes to help people with challenges to finding employment get jobs.
- Streamline your entertainment package. Instead of paying for a full cable package of hundreds of channels, consider reducing these channels to a few low-priced providers like Hulu.com and Netflix.com. Many shows also run the day after on network websites like ABC.com and CBS.com. If you don’t want to completely get rid of cable, you can at least start by cutting premium movie or sports channels to save money.
- Check your local stores and keep an eye out for sales on frequently used items. Stock up on sponges, paper towels, toilet paper, flour, sugar and other basics when they are on sale. You can also get many of these items for a lower price in the store’s generic brand.
- Set up automatic deposits for “rainy day” savings and retirement accounts.
- Buy compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs or water filters instead of bottled water to save money while helping the environment.
- With all these savings tips in hand, don’t forget to use the money saved to pay down credit card and installment debt. When you do, you free up money to save and invest.