Making resolutions is a tradition many of us attempt every year. Last year, you wanted to make healthier eating choices. The year before that, you wanted to visit another city. But this year, you want to save money and stick to a budget. However, here’s the thing - picking your resolution isn’t the hard part, it’s sticking to your goal. That’s the real challenge. After all, it takes time and effort, and we could all use a little more time in our, right?
So, how can you keep your resolution to save money and follow a budget? Try these helpful tips. And feel free to mix and match the ones that you think are right for you.
Make a Real Budget
To save money this year, plot out your spending (either on a spreadsheet or with an app). List all of your living expenses, including housing, utilities, transportation, child care, credit card payments, car payments, insurance and groceries. Then, 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 of 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. Also, make sure to include a contribution to savings every month and "pay" your savings account, just like you would any other bill. That way, you’re setting aside money for you and your family’s future.
Use an App to Track Spending
When it comes to spending, you might be surprised to find out where your leaks actually are. Use an app to track spending for a week or so to really nail down where you can tighten things up. For instance, are you eating out too frequently? Are you splurging on fun home decor items you don’t necessarily need?
From there, use the app to keep yourself and your spending on track. You can also add your budget into these apps to act as a reminder each time you spend. It’s a super helpful tool for staying on budget and saving money throughout the year.
Check Out Money Saving Apps
There's an app for everything, right? That means there’s an app to help you save money too. Download apps that track your subscriptions to make sure you're getting the best rates and that you don't renew memberships you may have forgotten about.
Couponing apps and browser add-ons can also 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 save from this trick can be moved to your savings account at the end of every month.
Use Shop & Earn with Your MVP Card
Does saving an average of $20 per month on groceries interest you? Rhetorical question, right? It's easy to save more with our Shop & Earn rewards program. How does it work? Sign up and use the Food Lion mobile app or check Foodlion.com to get your own personalized offers. Then, scan your MVP card each time you shop. Every month you will earn rewards that are automatically added to your “MVP Wallet” and redeemed with your next purchase. To learn more, visit our Shop & Earn page.
Plan Your Meals
Meal planning is a great way to save money and make some tasty meals for your family. 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. For instance, roasting a chicken for dinner and using leftovers for sandwiches or to make homemade soup the next day maximizes your grocery dollars. We also suggest packing lunches and eating 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 you need, but more importantly, it also helps you avoid impulse buys.
Another trick for saving money 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
It’s true - 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 also 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 will be surprised how easy it is to save.
Ready to stick to your resolution this year and start saving money? Saving money is a smart resolution for everyone. It isn't always easy, but with these tips, you'll be well on your way to keeping your resolution. It’ll be another awesome thing you can celebrate in the new year!