Well, Christmas is over. Yes, the Mayan prediction didn’t come true and we’re all still here, but there is another kind of fallout to consider: credit card debt. Think back to the remorse you felt last year after all of the shopping was done. The sticker shock from your credit card statements probably made you resolve to save more this year. Did you? That resolution may not have panned out. Here are a few ways that you can do better this time around.
The most common excuse for not saving money is that you do not have any to save. Barely paying the bills does make saving money challenging, but it can be done if you start small. Start with the change in your pocket. Pennies, nickels, and dimes add up. Slowly, but they add up. Once you are comfortable with depositing your change, open your wallet every payday. Before you cash your check or withdraw money from your direct deposit, deposit all of the George Washingtons you have on hand. George, coupled with your change, can add up nicely over the course of a year.
We all have something in our lives that we could cut back on. If you smoke, reduce your habit by two smokes a day. If you eat out three days a week, eliminate one trip each week. Once you have targeted something, put the money you would have spent into your savings account.
Make More Money
Easier said than done, right? Unless your boss decides to give you a huge raise, this will probably mean a job change or a second job. Another option is to sell some of the stuff you have laying around the house. While selling stuff is easier than getting a part-time job on the side, it will not yield as much cash.
Max Your 401(k)
401(k) plans are becoming ubiquitous; however, many people under fund theirs. In the coming year you should at least take full advantage of your employer’s match. Why leave free money on the table?
Attack Credit Card Debt
If you have the extra cash in your budget, paying down your credit card debt makes sense. Yes, you will be spending more money in the short term. The savings come from paying less interest on the debt.
Many of us waste money each month without realizing it. Some typical areas where we throw away cash include our insurance coverage, home phone, excessive data plans, and unused memberships/subscriptions. Do some comparison shopping, reduce deductibles, and change your data plan. You could save as much as $1,000 a year in these areas.
Usually, there is money to be found if you look carefully. Once you find it, put into your savings account or use it to pay off a debt.
Do you have any ideas about other ways to save money in the coming year? We would love to hear them.