Resolute Resolutions: Easy Ways to Save Money in the New Year
You make the same resolution every year. This year, you'll save money and stick to a budget. But somehow, it doesn't stick. It can be hard to devise a plan that helps you to save — and that you can stick to and see through. So, what are the easy ways to save money? Try these helpful tips. Feel free to mix and match the ones that are right for you.
Make a Real Budget
To save, plot out your spending. List all your living expenses, including housing, utilities, transportation, child care, credit card payments, car payments, insurance, and groceries. Add in your miscellaneous expenses like subscriptions and fees for clubs and hobbies. To really get accurate numbers, look at your expenses for the last year and use an average.
From there, create a budget. Add in all the expenses you can't change, such as mortgage or rent payments and utilities. Then, dive into your more fluid expenses. Figure out how much you need to cover things like groceries, but also look at what you can cut. For example, if you have multiple streaming services and cable, you can probably eliminate one and not even miss it. Make sure to build in savings every month and "pay" your savings account, just like you do any other bill.
Use an App to Track Spending
You might be surprised to find out where your spending leaks actually are. Use an app to track spending for a week or so to really nail down where you can tighten things up. From there, use the app to keep yourself and your spending on track. You can add your budget into these apps to act as a reminder each time you spend.
Check Out Money Saving Apps
There's an app for everything, right? You can download apps that track your subscriptions to make sure you're getting the best rates and that you don't renew things you may have forgotten about. Couponing apps and browser add-ons can help track down additional savings on your online purchases.
When you're balancing your checkbook, an old trick is to always round up. Each time you spend, you round up the amount spent to the next whole dollar. This may not create big savings, but you have to start somewhere, and the little bit that you have from this trick can be moved to a savings account at the end of every month.
Use Shop & Earn or Sign Up for an MVP Card
Does saving an average of $20 per month on groceries interest you? It's easy with Shop & Earn at Food Lion. Sign up and use the Food Lion Mobile App or check foodlion.com to get your own personalized offers. Scan your MVP Card each time you shop. Each month you earn rewards that are automatically added to your MVP Wallet and redeemed with the next purchase.
Plan Your Meals
Meal planning is a great way to save money. You can really create savings not only through less waste, but also by planning to use leftovers for lunches or to create a new meal. Roasting a chicken for dinner and using leftovers for sandwiches or to make homemade soup the next day maximizes your grocery dollars. Pack lunches and eat the majority of your meals at home. Save eating out for special occasions.
Make a Grocery List
Make a grocery list based on your menu planning for the week. A list helps you make sure you don't forget anything, but more importantly, it also helps you to avoid impulse buys. Another trick is to avoid shopping when you're hungry. It can be easier to stick to the plan when your stomach isn't pushing you to purchase things that you don't need.
Eat Less Meat
Replacing a meaty dish with one vegetarian meal a week can help you save on your grocery bills. Reducing the amount of meat you buy helps to save money and is part of a healthy diet. Think about meals like grilled cheese and tomato soup, pasta with veggies, or protein-packed veggie omelets.
Opt Into Automatic Savings
Sometimes the money you don't see is the easiest to save. If your company offers automatic deductions for savings, set up even a small amount. You might be surprised how easy it is to save.
Saving money is a smart resolution for everyone. It isn't always easy, but with these tips, you'll be on your way to making this resolution stick.