With the new year fast approaching, you are probably thinking about your resolutions already. You may also be thinking about the economy, and it's effects on you in the new year. So, why not focus on resolutions that aren't just good ideas, but will also save you money? Here's our top ten money-saving resolutions for the New Year.:
- Pay a little extra on your mortgage.You'll save thousands in the new year. Paying $100 extra a month on a 30-year, $200k mortgage will save you $63,308.63 over the life of the loan, and pay it off over 5 years early! See out tip on prepaying interest for more info.
- Reduce your credit card debt.You can save over $700 if you transfer your card with a $2,000 balance and an 18% interest rate to a different card with an 8.25% rate. Or, take advantage of one of those 0% transfers with a new card, and save even more.
- Keep a budget, even if only for a week.It takes a lot of willpower to stick to strict budget, but could you do it for a week? If you track your expenses for just one week, you'll finally have some idea of where all that money is going. And, you might find a quick way to save. Many people, for example, are surprised how much they spend on small things like that fancy coffee every morning.
- Enroll in your employer's flexible healthcare spending plan. If you put a set amount into the plan, you can pay expenses like co-pays, prescription costs, over the counter medications, and more, with pre-tax money. See our article on flexible health care spending plans to learn more.
- Become a coupon clipper. Put in the time and effort...it's not as tedious as you might imagine and you'll save a ton of money. See the bottom part of our top 6 tips to save on groceries article for a great list of resources.
- Get started on a few small projects to make your home more energy-efficient. You could seal up your doors and windows with new weatherstripping, add more insulation to your attic, clean up your a/c condenser, or something as simple as switching out your old lightbulbs for compact fluorescent bulbs. See the EnergyStar site for some great ideas, and also see our heating and cooling tips.
- Eat out less. Restaurants are convenient, but they cost you. Try to eat out only once a week, and invest some time in learning how to cook quick and easy meals. Start with The Food Network's quick and easy holiday meal tips.
- Cut your taxes.April will come sooner than you think...a really easy way to start earlier is to invest in a little help. If you feel like you can't afford a professional, at least purchase some software that can help find savings for you. TaxAct and TurboTax both do a great job of pointing out opportunities to save money.
- Review your Insurance Policies. Now is a great time to look at your homeowners, auto, and life insurance, and see if you need to make a change. You could check to see if you have too much coverage, consider combining your auto and home insurance, consider raising your deductible, or check out other money saving ideas for insurance.
- Finally Quit Smoking.At around $4 a pack, a pack-a-day smoker would save $1460 in just one year. And, that's not counting the resulting discounts for life insurance, and better overall health. If you have no willpower, at least consider switching to a generic brand, and save yourself over $350 in a year's time.
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