You've probably heard it all by now. Stop going out, stop splurging at the mall and stop buying things you don't need. But sometimes, this kind of advice (a.k.a. nagging) is exactly what we need to save our money.
Mary Hunt, author of The Smart Woman’s Guide to Planning for Retirement says when it comes to setting budgets, people just don't make them a priority.
"Savings, especially, is 'optional.' The consumer credit industry has 'taught' us that we can spend all that we have," she says.
But we all know people who are great at budgeting and saving. They probably go out less than you do, but travel to amazing destinations because they've saved up for them. Hunt says these money-saving machines simply think for themselves.
"They don't allow an outside force to make their decisions. They save FIRST … before they spend. A smart person takes a set amount (10 per cent is a great idea) right off the top every time they get paid and put it away for the future."
But your gender may also influence your money habits. One study found 82 per cent of women (compared to 72 per cent of men) saw spending money as a vice. Hunt adds women often also take financial responsibilities in their homes, and statistics show women are more likely to make decisions on household budgeting.
So before you decide to go on a complete dry spell and buy nothing until September, Hunt says it is often the little things that add up the most. Here are Hunt's 10 tips on how to save money in the new year.
Take The $100 Challenge
Start saving your bills now (yes, right at this very moment) and once you have $100, go to the bank and ask for a $100 bill. Take this bill and tuck it deep into the back of your wallet. What's the point of this? Once you walk around with this bill, you're probably less likely to blow it on something. A lot of stores won't accept your bill for coffee or lunch anyways — you're welcome in advance.
Eat The Sales
Try shopping and stocking up on sale items at grocery stores. Most things go on sale at some point, and there are plenty of ways to track sales and coupons at specific locations for stores you frequent. And folks, once again, we mean sales, not items that are past their expiration dates.
Eat Out Less. For Real
If you add it up, those dinners are costing you a fortune. Challenge yourself to eat out twice a week. Then lower it down to once. When you start noticing how much money you have in your pockets, you're more likely to eat out only on special occasions.
Bring Your Own Lunch
All you need is 10 minutes. Simply cooking a little extra the night before (because people who like to save also cook their dinners) or waking up a little earlier to make a sandwich will help you save tons of money during the week.
Write Everything Down
If you've packed your bags and are ready take a guilt trip, write down everything that you spend your money on. We mean EVERYTHING. Looking back at a long list of pointless items might make you feel a little empty inside/encourage you to stop spending that much money.
Stop Spending $5 Bills
Make it a personal rule to never spend one type of currency. We suggest $5. Instead stash them away in a jar or drawer and watch your stash grow and grow.
Put The Plastic Away
For your day to day spending, revert to cash while leaving your debit and credit cards at home. It may be annoying to plan ahead, but make it a rule to visit a teller at the beginning of the week. Statistics show people spend 30 per cent less if they pay with cash.
Budget The Children
If you give your children an allowance, put them on a budget. Instead of rewarding them with money for chores or getting good grades, give them extra TV time or an Internet hour instead.
Do Things Yourself
You may pay some neighbourhood kids to shovel the snow for you, but if you can, try doing it yourself. Actually, get the whole family involved for outdoor chores, like mowing the lawn and cleaning the pool. You can use that extra money for a family night out!
Make Your Own Cleaning Products
You don't have to spend a load to do a load of laundry. You can make everything yourself, from your own laundry detergent to an all-purpose cleaner, simply by looking online. This site has some great suggestions.