The new year is right around the corner. Holy cow where did 2017 go? Seriously? Where. Thinking of clever ways to save money in the new year can sometimes seem difficult but can help you reach your goals for the year.
Have you set your new years resolutions yet? Did you come up with your financial goals for the year yet? There is so much to do before the year begins! Let’s get into some great ways you can save money in the new year.
- 10 items to STOP buying to save you money
- 10 ways to make quick cash without going into debt
- Financial habits that will make you rich
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1. START A BUDGET
Budgeting is the first step to being able to make money, save money, and really meet any kind of financial goals. It’s so important to know where your money is going and where you can do better. Check out our post about the Zero-Based Budget for more info on a simple budgeting method.
2. PACK YOUR LUNCH FOR WORK
Packing your lunch even once a week can save you $10 a week which can equal $500 a year! That’s a big chunk of change you could use for something more fun. If you’re like me you probably aren’t the best chef, so I always turn to bloggers and to Pinterest. There’s a great post over on Making Sense of Cents called 10 Budget Lunch Ideas and Cheap Easy Meals You Should Try! These meals are both easy on the wallet and on the taste buds.
3. RIDE A BIKE/WALK
Riding a bike or walking instead of driving to work or school can cut your car usage down so low that you’ll be able to save hundreds of dollars a year on gas and car maintenance. If you decide when using your car is actually necessary and don’t use it unless you have to you can really help the environment too! You can get decently priced bikes on Amazon of all places,
4. TURN OFF LIGHTS
Utility bills are never going to go away. Every month you’re going to need to pay for lights and water. You can easily cut your consumption of these things down to save some easy money! Use smaller lamps instead of overhead lighting or hang out in the dark.
5. GIVE YOURSELF MANICURES
Manicures are one of those things that are so incredible when you have them but they cost you buttloads of money. One single manicure is around $30-$40 if you go to a decent place. You can spend around $30 on a decent manicure kit and some cute nail polish and get 50 manicures out of it!
6. CUT CABLE AND USE NETFLIX/HULU
Do people really ever watch every channel they pay for when they have cable? Is it even possible to watch every channel? You can easily save $50 a month minimum if you cut the cord and use Netflix or Hulu for less than $15 a month! Have you seen some of the Netflix and Hulu originals? They’re amazing, totally worth the money.
7. DRINK ONLY WATER
Okay, I’ll admit I have a nasty soda habit. I’m obsessed with Dr.Pepper (it reminds me of my grandma <3) and Barq’s root beer (reminds me of my childhood). One of the best ways for me to cut a few dollars a day out of my budget is to stop drinking soda. If you treat soda and juices as a treat for just the weekend you can save like $10 a week! Not to mention, drinking more water is so good for you.
8. THRIFT SHOP
So many people look down on thrifting because the items are used, so what? You can find such awesome stuff at thrift stores and some of the time it still has tags. Wash it a few times and get that nasty smell out and you’re good to go! You can usually find a shirt that would be $50 full price for less than $20 at a thrift store and you’ll look amazing and really, nobody needs to know.
9. COLLECT YOUR COINS
If you take every coin that you get from daily purchases for an entire year and save it for the next Christmas you could easily have at least a hundred dollars. But please, if you start a coin jaw do not use coin star machines. They take 13% of your money and that’s insanity. Just buy some rollers at the dollar store and roll it yourself.
10. BUY IN BULK
I’ve talked about buying in bulk on the blog before because it’s seriously a huge money saver and it’s also so much better for the environment. We are in a society that seems to love tiny packages of things that are convenient for on the go, and we’re always too willing to pay a premium for these kinds of things. It’s so easy to just buy some cute little Tupperware containers that are reusable and save money on things like Almonds, Trail Mix, and other kinds of snacks that you’ll eat often! These small Tupperware containers are perfect!
11. CANCEL SUBSCRIPTIONS
Has anyone else noticed that every company seems to be transitioning into a subscription-based system these days? Seems like they are really banking on people signing up and forgetting about them (I’ve done it, ouch). There is a high probability that you have some kind of subscription service that you never use or that you don’t actually need. I’d never tell a person to cancel Netflix because I swear Netflix is my lifeblood and I need it more than food some days, but I’m sure you can find something to save you a few bucks a month.
12. CHANGE YOUR PHONE PLAN
Some companies charge insane amounts of money a month for phone plans, especially here in Canada. I live close to the US border and hear some of their deals on the radio and in other ads and I’m usually astonished by how cheap they can be. It’s super important to shop around and make sure you’re getting the best deal and only paying for what you need and what you’ll actually use!
13. USE EBATES FOR CASH BACK
This one isn’t necessarily saving money but getting money back when you buy things is pretty great too! Have you ever used Ebates? Ebates is pretty awesome, it’s a completely free website to use and they give you CASH when you use their links to shop online. You can get up to 25% back on purchases and it really does add up if you’re a frequent online shopper! You’ll get a check in the mail at the end of the month! You can try Ebates for free here.
14. NEGOTIATE YOUR CAR INSURANCE
Car insurance is a crazy expense, especially when you’re young and they still see you as a giant liability. These things are always negotiable. Shop around. Find a better deal and go back to your company with what someone else was willing to charge and see if they’ll budge. Even if they don’t, you can switch and save that money another way.
15. EAT OUT ONE LESS TIME A MONTH
Eating out is one of the most expensive thing that all people do. It’s crazy expensive to eat out especially if you have children! If you were to just cut out meal eating out every month you could save hundreds of dollars a year. If you don’t feel like you can cut out eating out that much for whatever reason, you can learn ways to save money at restaurants with our post here!
16. DRINK LESS ALCOHOL
This should be a no-brainer. Alcohol is expensive, especially when you buy it at bars or restaurants. If you’re able to attempt to drink only water or less expensive beverages you can save some serious cash.
17. MEAL PLAN
Failure to plan is planning to fail. If you have a plan for exactly what you’re going to eat every day, you’ll obviously save money. When you come home after working 9-5 and you have nothing prepared and no plan, chances are you’re going to either order takeout or go right back out the door to get something expensive and unhealthy! Meal planning is key to both financial success as well as health success.
18. SWITCH TO FREE BANKING
This one should be a no-brainer. Why pay a bank money every month just to use your own cash!? How is that even fair? Most traditional banks still have fees but more and more often there are incredible no-fee banks popping up everywhere. Are you Canadian? If you are I 100% recommend a Tangerine bank account!! If you sign up with my orange code at tangerine.ca you’ll receive a free $25 just for signing up when you deposit $100. FREE MONEY. Use the code 50681730S1 when you sign up!
19. USE MORE BLANKETS
During the colder months of the year, it’s pretty common that people turn the heat up waaaaaaay too early. Using more blankets and wearing more layers can save you tons of money on heating. Even if you just turn the heat down a few degrees you can save some good money and put it towards a better use like debt repayment!
20. BREW YOUR OWN COFFEE
With all the different directions we are pulled these days, caffeine is a necessity. But it doesn’t have to be expensive. Expensive specialty coffees are the worst for your pocketbook! You can get a Keurig on Amazon for less than $100 and spend less than $0.50 a day on coffee! The coffee maker will pay for itself in no time.
21. PAY DOWN YOUR HIGH-INTEREST DEBT
Debt accounts that have interest rates of 20% are just ridiculous. These accounts can take many different forms but are usually credit cards. If you have a $5,000 limit on a credit card and you keep it maxed out all the time you’ll be paying $1,000 a YEAR in interest. Paying down these debts can really help you to save tons of money.
22. TRACK YOUR SPENDING
Knowing where all of your money goes can really help you to know where you can save! Tracking every penny you spend for a month can show you where you’re throwing money away. You’ll learn the places you can do better and you’ll be able to formulate your own list of ways you can save money.
23. SET FINANCIAL GOALS
Where do you want to be financially in 2 years? 5 years? 10 years? Do you know what you want? When would you like to retire? Knowing your why and your goals is a great way to stay motivated to save money and work harder. If you have a goal to be out of debt in 2 years you’ll be able to motivate yourself much easier than if your goal was just “get out of debt” without a timeline.
24. PLAN YOUR PURCHASES
When are you going to need new underwear? This is a kind of expense you can plan for (unless your dog eats them like mine does). If you know when it’s going to come up you can wait until the store you like is having a great sale and save some good money. You also have a general idea of when you’re going to need to replace the big stuff. You can easily plan for a new car and start saving now if you want one in 5 years so you can pay cash and avoid high-interest rates.
25. TRY IMPLEMENTING A MEATLESS MONDAY
When you go grocery shopping what is the most expensive thing in your cart? I’m going to assume it’s some kind of meat or poultry. Meat is crazy expensive and protein is not as necessary as the meat and dairy industry would like you to think it is. You can save at least $20 a month by cutting out meat one day a week, I know that doesn’t sound like a lot but it’s a great thing to do for your body as well as for the environment. If you’re clueless about vegetarian recipes, you can check out this AMAZING veggie cookbook.
26. ATTEMPT A NO-SPEND WEEKEND
No spend weekends are a really great way to save money. If you aren’t familiar with a no-spend weekend, it’s a pretty basic concept. You literally just don’t spend any money for a weekend. There are so many other things you can do that are fun and it’s all about spending time not money. The Practical Saver has a great post called 50+ Things To Do On A No-Spend Weekend which is a great read.
27. USE WHAT IS IN YOUR PANTRY
Chances are you’ve found yourself grocery shopping without a list and just purchased a bunch of things you already had in your cupboards! If you’re trying to save money you should definitely look into the back of the cupboard and really see what you have that you could turn into meals. Also, get rid of stuff that’s expired because having too much stuff is never good.
28. STOP USING CREDIT
When you aren’t using credit cards correctly you’re going to go into debt. It’s a financial hole that you shouldn’t have to fall into! There’s a psychological disconnect between credit cards and actual money which means you’re going to spend money you don’t truly have. If you stop or at least cut down your use of credit, you can save not only on interest but also by not buying things you really don’t need. If you want to learn more about credit cards and specific rules you should follow, read our post Credit Card Rules You Should be Following!
29. GO TO THE LIBRARY
Reading books is so important for your personal development and it can really help you make better decisions financially but books are so expensive. This is why libraries were created! To give people access to books that they otherwise couldn’t afford. You can find so many great reads at the library and they just have this wonderful library smell that’s amaaaaaazing.
30. HAVE AN EMERGENCY FUND
Having an emergency fund of even just $1000 can save you so much money. How? Well, when an emergency arrives you have the money to cover it and you won’t have to put it on a credit card or line of credit meaning you don’t have to pay any interest! An emergency fund also helps you pay off debt because it’ll make it so you’re less scared to pay off debt because of emergencies.
31. MAKE DIY CLEANING SUPPLIES
Cleaning supplies are one of those necessary things that you just can’t avoid. DIY cleaning supplies are really awesome because you know what’s in them and they’re much safer for you. No chemicals! A lot of the time DIY supplies don’t have any harsh chemicals that you can’t pronounce and they work even better! You can check out this awesome post from popsugar with 50+ DIY Cleaning Products!
32. REUSE OLD CLOTHES AS RAGS
You know those really gross cleaning jobs that you just can’t bring yourself to wash the cloth afterward to reuse? Yeah, those really gross ones. Why not use your old beaten up clothes that you aren’t gonna wear anymore, and cut them up into cloth sized pieces!! They are perfect for those gross cleaning jobs.
33. CREATE A BIRTHDAY CALENDAR
Sometimes it’s so easy to forget when a friend or family member’s birthday is. Then it’s the day before and you have to spend $40 of unbudgeted money on a gift so you don’t look bad! I get it. Why not have a specific calendar just for birthdays! This could be either a paper calendar or a digital calendar! Just make sure you include everybody you need to get birthday gifts for.
34. BRING BACK OLD CLOTHES FROM YOUR CLOSET
Chances are you have some cute stuff in the back of your closet that you haven’t worn in months. It is so possible to bring back those clothes from the dead and restyle them and bring back the love! You spend your hard earned money on those clothes and you should wear them to the ground before you’re willing to just throw them away.
35. SWITCH TO PAPERLESS BANKING
You may not know this, but most banks actually charge you money for getting a paper statement in the mail. Crazy right? Switching to paperless, online banking is a great way to save a dollar a month that you don’t really need to spend.
36. TRANSFER DEBT TO LOWER INTEREST
If you have high amounts of debt all at different interest rates you should really attempt to transfer the money to the smaller interest accounts whenever possible! This will by no means pay your debt off or make it so you’ve actually made progress, but it will make it so you aren’t paying as much interest which is a great thing.
37. USE COUPONS
Couponing isn’t just for moms with a hundred kids and no money. It’s a great way to save a bunch of money at the grocery store! If you’ve never used coupons before Thrifty Nomads wrote a great post called How to start couponing for beginners and it’s super informative and even gives you places to find the coupons!
38. SHOP AROUND
So now you have an emergency fund and you’re planning for all your small expenses. What happens when your fridge breaks? Uh oh. You’re going to use your emergency fund to replace it AFTER shopping around for the absolute best deal, finding coupons and online deals, and making sure you’re getting a good price. Any purchase you make over $50 should be shopped around for. It’s so unnecessary to pay extra money when you don’t have to.
39. USE FREE PRINTABLES
Stationary is beautiful, I get that. But planners and budgeting notebooks are so expensive! There are so many beautiful printables on Pinterest for anything you could possibly need! You can find cute to-do lists, budgeting binders, and so much more.
40. DON’T PAY FULL PRICE
Unless it’s something that’s an absolute emergency, wait for a sale. Sales happen all the darn time! Seasonal sales are my favourite because there’s a new one every couple months! Paying full price is stupid.
41. REFINISH YOUR FURNITURE
Sometimes you need to redo your house but don’t have the funds for it. There are so many great ways to refinish furniture without having to go out and buy a whole new set. Have you ever tried upcycling some old furniture? It’s not as hard as it seems. If you’d like to see some amazing examples of furniture upcycles you can check out my personal Pinterest board called Upcycle! You can take a dresser or bed side tables from a garage sale for $20-$50 and get some chalk paint for $20 and make it look like it’s worth $200.
42. BUY GENERIC
Do you really need those brand name cleaning products? Is the expensive cheddar cheese really better than the generic brand cheese? Buy generic whenever you can, but make sure it’s actually cheaper and always look for sales before choosing what to buy!
43. UNPLUG THINGS YOU AREN’T USING
Saving money on utilities is pretty cool. A lot of appliances and other electronics are actually using a ton of power when they aren’t even turned on! If you unplug things like chargers when they aren’t in use you can save a couple dollars a month in electric charges.
44. START STAY-CATIONING
Stay-cationing is so awesome. What is it? Stay-cationing is when you spend your vacation time at home instead of going somewhere far away and expensive! You can plan all sorts of fun activities at home, you can use the time to organize your life, maybe redecorate. No matter what it will be less expensive than going away!
45. GET FEWER HAIRCUTS
Anytime that I’m trying to not spend money, haircuts are the first thing to go. In April 2016, I got a cut and colour that I didn’t update or get cut again until March 2017, and haven’t cut it since then and it’s November haha. I just don’t get bothered by split ends much I guess? Anyway, it’s “recommended” that you get a haircut every 4-6 weeks (it’s obviously hairdressers recommending this so they get more business…… DUH) but you can definitely go a few months without one if you’re pinching pennies.
46. AVOID THE MALL UNLESS YOU HAVE TO BE THERE
Sometimes just being in the mall (even when you don’t have plans to buy things) can make you feel like you need something! There is no reason to make the mall your hangout place unless there’s a reason for you to be going there. Especially avoid the mall on payday because that’s just a recipe for disaster.
47. FREEZE MEALS TO AVOID EATING OUT
This is a lot like meal planning, but it’s really focusing on the unknown. There’s always a chance that something can go wrong and you won’t have time to really prepare a meal because you’re being pulled in 100 different directions. If you have meals already ready in the freezer you can easily heat them up while doing 100 other things.
48. CARRY CASH ONLY
Like we talked about in #28, using credit cards and debit cards have a way of disconnecting us with the actual feeling of using money. If you limit yourself to only spend ca$h, you’ll make fewer impulse purchases and just smarter money decisions in general.
49. MOVE TO A SMALLER HOME/APARTMENT
There are so many people out there that are living house poor. Being house poor is when at the end of the month after paying your mortgage and your other bills you’re unable to pay down debt or save any money. Sounds pretty crappy right? Just moving to a smaller place that you can afford is a great way to save tons of money and put yourself in a better financial place.
50. EAT LEFTOVERS
Leftovers are some of my favourite foods. Why? Because they require pretty much ZERO effort! Eating the leftover food you’ve already made can cut your grocery bills by a whole bunch! They’re delicious. Don’t just let them rot in the back of your fridge.
What kinds of things do YOU do to save money? Are you excited for 2018? Let me know in the comments!
Hey! My name is Taylor O’Halloran and I’m a huge fan of saving money any way I can.I’m obsessed with dogs and I love all kinds of cheese even though my stomach hates it. I’m a recent university graduate who just wanted to do her own thing and see what happens! Follow me on the journey!