Smart Yet Simple Ways to Save Money This Year

By on January 9, 2014

save moneyI love the start of a New Year. There’s just something about having a nice, blank slate that makes goals seem so attainable.

One goal on many people’s lists this year is saving money, and truthfully, there are a lot of ways to do so.

In fact, there will probably be many, many lists circulating around the Internet of ways to save money this year, but if you want the short and sweet version that only lists the smartest tips, look no further than the six ideas below.

1. Automate Your Finances

I’ve preached this tip over and over again, and there’s a reason for it. Automating your savings makes things easy. With automation, there’s no excuse not to save. Essentially, just set up a withdrawal from your checking account a day or two after your paycheck hits, and let it work its own magic. It’s best if your savings goes into an account that’s hard to reach. For example, if I want any money out of my long term savings, it takes me several steps and three days to get it, so I have to really want or need it.

2. Use a Cash Envelope System

This doesn’t work for everyone, and those who enjoy credit card rewards points won’t like it. However, if you are deep in credit card debt, this is the smartest and quickest way to train yourself to start saving and use money responsibly. When the cash is gone, you can’t go and get more out. It takes a good bit of discipline, but with a few envelopes and several months of training, you can turn your entire financial life around.

3. Implement an Exercise/Savings Routine

I recently heard a great tip that combines exercising and saving. Basically, you have a set amount of money in an account. If you work out a certain number of times a week, you get to reward yourself by withdrawing a particular amount. If you fail to work out, you have to pay yourself a penalty. I loved the idea and think it will help a lot of people combine their goals and achieve them both.

4. Learn How to Make 3 Easy Dishes

Lots of people give the advice to stop eating out in order to save money, but that’s kind of hard to do if you don’t know how to cook! My advice isn’t to eat in. It’s just to learn how to make a few dishes so you actually want to stay in!

5. Save for a Nice Meal Instead of Smaller Ones

My husband is a legit foodie, and he absolutely loves trying unique restaurants that are often quite expensive. One way we’ve been able to go to nice dinners is by passing on all those urges to get fast food or order a pizza. Every time we resist quick and easy meals, we can then put that money towards a nice meal fund.

6. Don’t Trade In Your Old Car

It’s so tempting to get a new car if you get a bonus or a raise in 2014, but if your car works great, there’s no reason to upgrade. In fact, there’s no reason to upgrade any part of your life until your savings are substantial and your debt is gone.

What are some other smart and savvy ways to save money this year?

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons

About Catherine Alford

Catherine Alford is a personal finance writer who received a B.A. from The College of William and Mary and an M.A. from Virginia Tech. When she is not writing for other websites on all topics frugal and fabulous, she enjoys sharing her adventures on her blog, www.BudgetBlonde.com. Follow her on Twitter @BudgetBlonde or like Budget Blonde on Facebook.

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