December 18th, 2014
We found a number of great articles full of quick and creative tips for saving money and improving your finances in 2015.
It should come as no surprise that the number one thing you can do is to create a plan and have financial goals. For some people, there’s nothing more appealing than saving for a three-bedroom house with a white picket fence. Others dream of taking a trip around the world or a sabbatical from work. Choosing your money goals makes it easier to work toward them. All goals are worthwhile. But make sure it’s your goal (or your goal with your partner) and not the goal of someone else. You’ll be able to commit and focus better if it is one dear to your heart.
Another big tip that will help you in 2015 is to create a spending plan. Most people spend about two-thirds of their income on three essentials: food, housing and transportation. Then there are debt payments, savings, household costs and optional items such as entertainment to consider. Create an annual budget by allocating spending goals for each category. If you’ve never tracked your spending before, spend an hour looking back through what you paid last year so you can plan on when big expenses are coming up. That way, you can ensure you’ve saved money to pay for your insurance rather then doing a mad scramble and hoping you have the funds.
Pay off the highest interest debt first. Set up target goals and have a reward in place for when you achieve it. Also, keep pictures around that motivate you to stay on track. Perhaps the pictures are of a new car you’ll get when you’re not paying so much in credit card interest, or a vacation spot.
Spend some time learning to cook. There are classes available online that you can watch while you cook. Invest in a simple cookbook with lots of good photographs and detailed descriptions. The Better Home’s and Garden Cook Book. It’s important to find one that teaches you the skills you will need for the type of cooking you enjoy. Small kitchen appliances like a slow cooker will allow you to purchase cheaper cuts of meat, and save time by having dinner ready when you come home. Plan your weekly meals and look at the supermarket circulars to see what is on sale. Some supermarkets like Safeway and Raleys/Nob Hill have special $5 bargain days. Also, some stores have Apps that you can get additional savings with, but you have to remember to add them into your account before you check out.
Put all your change in a jar. When it’s full, you can either roll it and bring it into a bank, or you can use a coin counter like Coinstar. Put this money into a special savings account that you’re using to save up towards a goal. Also, look into Christmas Club accounts at your bank and have some money put in each pay period. This ensures you have money during the holiday season and you can avoid using your credit cards.
Dine out “foodie” style by looking for high end food trucks. You can get fantastic food made to order for only a few dollars. End the night with a movie you streamed or pick up a DVD from kiosks like Redbox where you can get a recent movie for less then $2. (don’t forget to make yourself some popcorn)
Have you planned your garden yet? Remember, you can grow plants in containers or purchase a system like the Aerogarden to grow things indoors. Every little bit helps and provides you with the best produce.
A little bit of planning now will create a great financial future for you in 2015. What is your goal for this coming year going to be?