Will 2014 be your most frugal year yet? Most people who make a list of New Year’s resolutions will include at least one item related to spending, saving or sharing their money. Whether you are preparing to take on a daunting list or you haven’t even given a thought to New Year’s resolutions, why not make a frugal goal for the coming year. Here are twelve ideas to get you off to a good start in 2014:
- Cut a Bad Spending Habit: We all have bad spending habits and they can really add up. Whether you buy clearance clothes because they are a bargain but you never actually wear them or you over-indulge in pre-packaged foods, this is a good time to identify and begin cutting your bad habit. Learn a little more about yourself by tracking your spending for a few months. This will help you see your spending habits, both the good and the bad, and help you set goals for this year.
- Organize Your Financial Life: Take some time this year to organize your financial life. Whether you decide to create and maintain a budget, download a finance app to help you stay on track or begin logging all of your expenditures into a spreadsheet, keeping your finances organized and up-to-date can save you a lot of stress and anxiety.
- Increase Your Charitable Giving: Often times charitable giving ends up being the last thing on the list when money comes in. Why not begin making it a priority? If you are more of a spontaneous giver, why not begin making your giving more consistent? Need help choosing a charity? Check out this article.
- Build a Savings Plan: If you don’t have a savings account, you might start saving money (even $20/month) for an emergency fund. If you already save, you might consider creating a plan that involves short-, mid- and long-range saving goals including retirement and emergency savings.
- Live Within Your Means: Challenge yourself to actually live within your means this year by being intentional about only spending what you are earning.
- Borrow Less: Do you struggle with credit card debt? This year you could create a plan to eliminate your credit card debt and begin paying your credit card bills on time. Do you have a lot of student loans? Make a plan so can borrow less this year by reducing your expenses or finding other sources of financial aid.
- Declutter Your Home: Begin 2013 by decluttering your home, especially your closet and your pantry. Keep an eye out for items that you can reuse or give away. Make a commitment to use up what you have.
- Reduce Your Monthly Expenses: Are you using all of your cable package? Could you cut your grocery expenses by eating frugally and using coupons? Could you lower the temperature in your apartment or turn off a few more lights? Reducing your expenses, even by a few dollars a month, can save you a lot of money.
- Start Saving for Pleasure: Have you been dreaming about buying a new car, computer, decor item or even going on vacation? Start saving for this item now by setting aside a little money each month. Make a do-able plan to help you reach your goal, so you can decrease or even eliminate having to buy on credit.
- Be A Patient Spender: We all know how easy it is to buy things on impulse whether it is a candy bar, clothing or electronics. Big or small, those impulse buys can add up. Try to curb your addiction to impulse spending by waiting 24 hours for items under $50 and 30 days for items over $50. If possible, wait for sales.
- Align your sharing, saving, and spending with your values: Take some time in this new year to consider your values. Then analyze your saving, spending and sharing of money to be sure it aligns with your values. Make goals for 2014 to increase this alignment.
- Be More Thankful: Living on a student’s budget, it can be easy to think more about what you don’t have than what you do have. Take time this year to be thankful for all of the things that you do have–tangible and intangible.
Join the Conversation: What’s your frugal New Year’s Resolution for 2014?