If there was ever a time for budgeting tips and money help, here it is with the holidays and New Year upon us. The New Year is traditionally a time for resolutions; we resolve to work out more, read more, clean out the junk room and with the holiday bills showing up, spend less and save more. We all know that we should be putting away money; money for a rainy day, money for an emergency fund, college funds and vacations. While it sounds easy, for most of us, it’s a lot harder than it looks.
Financial guru Suze Orman makes it sound easy when she says, “Look everywhere you can to cut a little bit from your expenses. It will add up to a meaningful sum.” We know it’s a little harder than that so we’ve put together a few budgeting tips to help you get into the New Year with a little more financial stability.
1. Save on the Holidays
Holiday shopping can get out of hand quickly. Resolve that you’re not going to start the New Year with debt from the old. Make a list, budget how much you can spend and stop when the money is gone. Consider home- made gifts to further stretch your holiday dollar.
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2. Save on the Road
We all want a luxurious vacation without the staggering bills that come with it. Look to ways you can save when traveling. Resort, airlines and rental cars all have seasonal pricing. Plan your holiday in the off season or shoulder season when prices are lower and the region still at its best or nearly so. Look for coupons and join reward and loyalty programs.
3. Save While You Party
You can learn how to save even as you host. Serve hors d’oeuvres rather than a full buffet, have brunch rather than a full meal. Consider a signature cocktail rather than a fully stocked bar. Keep decorations simple; twinkling lights and a glass bowl of colorful ornaments are a lot cheaper than a room full of fresh flowers and just as festive.
4. Save on Your Home Improvement
There are also ways to be frugal as you work on your home. But even before looking for money help on this subject, be realistic about what you can do. Most people can paint walls and switch out the faucets—however, wiring or major plumbing jobs are best left to the professionals. And reading the directions does not mean you’re an expert; it simply means you’re taking your time to do it correctly.
5. Organically Frugal
Most groceries offer organic fruits and vegetables but they’re usually a bit more expensive than those raised with pesticides. Many vendors at farmer’s markets sell organic too, and their prices might be a bit lower. But there are ways to buy organic and not break the bank. Consider buying in bulk with a friend, you’ll split the cost and the amount. You haven’t saved anything if the food spoils before you eat it.
6. Save on School
Going back to school doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune. One of the best budgeting tips we can tell you is to buy in bulk; kids will need pencils and notebooks and paper all year long. Organize neighborhood swaps of school clothing, backpacks, lunch boxes, whatever you can think of. Look for sales of outgrown or gently used sporting gear, too.