Lose weight. Quit smoking. Exercise more. Finally conquer that irrational fear of clowns, once and for all. New Year’s is a perfect time to roll out the resolutions, those pledges to change something in your life, start anew, tabula rasa. Why not concentrate this year on a few frugal resolutions and get your financial house in order?
Even small changes to the way you do things in your life can add up to big savings, and more happiness. The following twenty frugal resolutions aren’t necessarily profound, but they’re all great steps towards saving more money in the New Year. Select as many as you want, physically write them down into a list, and tape it next to your bathroom mirror so you don’t lose track of them.
Pay yourself first. Whether you’re putting it into a rainy day account or away as a nest egg (in a savings account or a 401k), you should be banking money for yourself on a regular basis. Even if it’s just a little, it will still add up, and you’ll never notice it’s gone if you take it right off the top. Pay yourself like you would any other bill. If it helps, make up weekly or monthly “pay me bills” and add them to your bill box.
Get organized. Develop some form of system to keep track of your paid bills and invoices so you won’t have to head off on a treasure hunt whenever you need information. Go with a simple system that you will use, such as boxes or files labeled by month/year. This will do a lot to minimize your financial stress (not to mention making your taxes less of a headache).
Educate yourself. Buy frugal and financial self-help books, or better yet, borrow them from your library. Hang out on sites like the FrugalWorld and learn how others are saving money. Make a list of things that you want to learn about that can help you to save money and make your life richer as a result. Knowledge is power… plug in!
Make and keeps a budget. Track everything money-wise, coming in and going out, even if it’s just a simple spreadsheet on your computer. Making and religiously keeping up with a budget is the only real way to keep on top of your finances and see where you can cut to realize savings. And if you really want to get into it…