A new year means a new financial beginning. Whether or not “fixing finances” was part of your New Year’s resolutions, reevaluating the way you manage your money can save you hundreds of dollars and give you peace of mind.
Here are 15 Mindful Money® tips to help you save this year
- Assess and adjust your budget. Before planning your budget, review your finances from last year. What strategies worked? Which financial areas do you need to improve on? Use this as your new year money guide.
- Quit unhealthy habits. Your daily run to Starbucks may be delicious, but it can also be tragic for your wallet. This year reconsider some of your costly, unhealthy habits like frequent fast food stops or even smoking. You can save a lot of money this way.
- Emergency fund. Do you have an emergency fund? You should. Start by saving a small amount ($10 to $20) each week and you could have $520 to $1,040 by next year.
- Collect your coins. Have loose change scattered around your living room, bedroom or car? Collect them in a jar or piggy bank and watch as your pennies quickly add up.
- Retirement programs. Have a workplace retirement plan (like a 401k)? Contribute as much as you can because it reduces your taxable income and, depending on your plan, your employer may match your payments.
- Give your credit a boost. There are some Mindful ways to boost your credit. Other ideas include working with debt collectors to reduce your overdue debt and “paying down credit card debt to 20 percent of your credit limit.”
- Credit card rewards. According to experts this is a “golden era of credit card rewards programs.” Now, more credit cards are offering points, miles or cash back. So if you’re getting a new credit card be sure to look at the bonuses.
- Know about tax credits. Millions of people believe that they are paying too much. Save money when you file your taxes by researching all of possible tax credits.
- Rethink cable plans. Technology can saves us time and money. Consider, web-based services like Netflix and Hulu Plus, which offer streaming video services that may be more cost efficient and suitable for your lifestyle.
- Reassess services. Looking to lower your bills? Look closely at your Internet and phone services. See if you can negotiate a lower price or find a cheaper service.
- Subscriptions and memberships. Take a long, hard look at the services/products you have signed up for like gym, magazine, newspaper, store, or website memberships. Do you truly need them? Can you go without?
- Buy generic. There are cheaper, generic brands for everything out there, from cereal and toothpaste to hair products and medicines. Do your research and consider adding off-brand items to your cart.
- Do-It-Yourself. Save money by taking on projects or doing tasks yourself. This could mean making your own lunch for work instead of eating out everyday or shampooing the carpets yourself instead of hiring professionals.
- Donate. Giving back to others is always a good rule to follow. It can also help comes tax season, reducing your taxable income.
- Hire a financial professional. Believe it or not, spending money for money saving advice can help you in the long term. Consider contacting a finance professional for personalized financial advice. There are some financial services that are even free, so be sure to do research beforehand.