It’s January — new year, new budget, new habits. You’ve been making new year’s resolutions and resetting financial goals for the year. You’re working on new ideas, breaking bad habits, adding new ones. Don’t tell me you’ve fallen off the wagon already! But if you have, there’s still time to pick up new routines that can carry you through 2013 financially healthier and happier.
It’s easy to promise yourself big, sweeping changes to your budget in the new year — no eating out, no non-essential purchases, whatever your vice is. But did you know that a few simple, small changes can make a decent dent in your monthly spending? With new year’s resolutions already on the brain, I find it to be a great time to start new habits. It’s why I’ve recently begun a new fitness challenge. And, it’s why I tend to kick into cleaning and organizing mode in January.
Adding tiny changes to your lifestyle is a great way to build up to successful long-term habits. Start small: focus on one new habit to include in your daily life each month until you’ve made a regular practice of it. Start a new habit that will save you money. Break a habit that’s busting your budget. Set new goals for money. Come up with new ideas for your savings.
Here are 10 great habits to start (or stop!) this year that will save you even more!
Count on your friends. 1 of 10My friends and I have gotten into the habit of living a bit of a communal lifestyle. Someone can always pick up what you need at the store, someone will be near your kids' school when you're running late, and someone probably already owns that thing you need to buy. One of us has a chocolate fountain for entertaining. One of us has a carpet cleaner for big spills. Before you run out to buy something you'll only use once in awhile, see if you can borrow from a friend!
Avoid THAT store. 2 of 10You know the one — you walk in for one thing and come out with a cartload, $100 poorer. For me, it's Costco. I love it, and there are so many bulk items there to save me money. It's just that I always see even more awesome deals than I originally planned to purchase. If I have the hubby run to the store, he comes out with exactly what I put on the list — and nothing else.
Photo Credit: Flickr user ted_chi
Try something new. 3 of 10Pick a schedule — once a week, once a month, to trying something new this year, and commit to it. Maybe it's a new recipe, a new product with your coupons, or that awesome money-saving DIY you saw on Pinterest. I am constantly pinning great money-saving ideas from fellow frugal bloggers — this year I want to make an effort to try more of them.
Participate in Meatless Monday. 4 of 10Meat is an expensive part of the grocery budget — skip it just once a week to lower your food costs. Try pasta, vegan dishes or breakfast for dinner. My favorite go-to is breakfast for dinner —pancakes, eggs, and fruit go over really well here and help us stick to that grocery budget.
Photo Credit: Flickr user koyaanisgatsi
Track prices. 5 of 10Keep track of the best deals on the products you regularly buy so you know when to stock up and when to skip it. It also helps to pay attention to gas price fluctuations so you can fill up before prices rise. Diane from Grocery Shop for FREE has a great spreadsheet for keeping tracking of the best deals.
Stop paying for downloads. 6 of 10
Subscribe to coupon emails. 7 of 10We get free Redbox rentals every month by subscribing to their text alerts. You can also sign up for email newsletters for your favorite stores. I know the extra email can be a pain, but the savings can be worth it.
Stop buying new. 8 of 10Check out consignment sales, thrift stores, and resale shops before spending extra money on brand-new items. Actually, I find brand-new items with original tags at these type of stores all the time. It's a great way to get the things you need for much less.
Photo Credit: Flickr user pixeljones
Sleep on it. 9 of 10Make a habit of walking away before you make a large purchase. Take time to consider the purchase, research reviews, and find a deal before you spend a lot of money. We set a limit we can spend without an evening discussion — anything above that gets an extra day and doesn't seem as necessary anymore.
Plan your meals. 10 of 10Taking time to plan a weekly menu can keep you from a last-minute phone call for pizza delivery. It also allows you to choose meals based on the grocery deals you'll find each week. To save even more money (and time!) consider taking it a step further and doubling up on meals you can freeze easily for quick dinners on busy nights.
Read more at Inexpensively
Photo Credit: Flickr user perspicacious
Want to see how we saved $3500 in 2012? Check out more tips to keep your wallet intact here!