Many of us are starting to feel the pinch after a busy festive period saw us stretch our finances with Christmas shopping and travel. It’s perhaps no surprise then that most people’s New Year’s resolutions revolve around finances. So to help you get your saving off to a good start, here’s a few tips to get your finances in order in 2016.
Saving money doesn’t have to involve making big decisions or major life changes. More often, getting your finances in shape involves a series of small decisions which add up to make a big difference over the course of the year.
Here are seven simple tips to help save you money in 2016.
Brown bag it
Buying your lunch every day can have a big impact on your finances. It might not sound like much at the time, but even if you’re only spending around $8 a day on lunch your monthly costs can quickly add up to around $200. That’s a significant chunk of cash. There’s a simple solution however as it’s often cheaper and healthier to make your own lunch.
The same principle goes for eating and drinking out. Cooking your own meal at home can cost as little as $5 per person. Compare that with a take out meal out which can cost an average of $10-15 a head, and for $15 you’re not having a dining experience. So instead of splashing the cash on takeaways why not save the money? If you’re passionate about dining out, you can always use some of your accrued savings on a truly special meal.
The same principle goes for enjoying a drink at home rather than heading to the bar. Enjoying a pint at home will cost you around half the price of drinking out. So consider inviting your friends to come over instead of heading to the local watering hole?
When you have to shop, buy used
It feels pretty cool to have the latest smartphone, but you don’t really need the newest model to survive. In fact, most of us haven’t mastered the capabilities of the previous model by the time developers come out with a new phone. Check the classifieds for used or refurbished smartphones. Use a smartphone price checker to make sure you’re getting a fair deal. Note that you can apply the same principle to computers, textbooks, furniture, bikes, and cars too.
Embrace minimalism, buy less
There are many solid reasons to buy less. Examine your impulse purchase urge carefully, and ask yourself how long you’ll use the item before it ends up in a landfill. Besides budgeting and the environment, there’s the mental calm that comes from knowing exactly what you own, owning what you need, and having an uncluttered space.
Use an app
It’s never been easier to keep track of your personal finances, thanks to a host of clever, easy-to-use apps. In addition to tracking your personal finances – knowledge is power – many also provide you with useful suggestions on how to save.
Bulk shop once a week for a set amount
If you can avoid multiple trips to the store, you will spend significantly less on groceries. With one trip sticking to a careful list, you can control your grocery budget and avoid unnecessary items. Take advantage of deals at produce-only shops and bulk shopping stores like Costco.
Commit once by setting an automated deposit from your earnings into your savings, and don’t worry about it again. Make sure your savings account has a decent interest rate (at least higher than inflation) while you’re at it. See if you can switch to a higher-yield savings account if it doesn’t.