Money-Saving New Year’s Resolutions for 2017
Every year countless individuals resolve to lose weight and get fit. Even if you want to hop on this bandwagon yourself, it is important to remember that your body isn’t the only thing that could probably use some sprucing up – your spending habits probably could as well! If you want to make a change in your life for 2017, consider some of these money-saving New Year’s resolutions.
- Stop Smoking – Not only is making a resolution to stop smoking good for your health, it is also good for your wallet. Numerous studies, including one by the American Lung Association, have shown that one of the top reasons smokers list for quitting is to save money. Smoking a pack of cigarettes, a day can cost as much as $1,800 to $3,600 per year. That’s a lot of money you could be saving!
- Don’t Splurge. When you come into some extra money, whether it is a bonus or a gift, be smart about how you use it. The best thing you can do is put one third toward paying off debt, one third toward savings or retirement, and one third toward improvements on your home or yourself. You can also use the final third to buy something you want, but don’t go overboard!
- Start Exercising. While many people resolve to start exercising as a means of losing weight, exercising more could also save you money. The average American spends more than $7,000 a year on healthcare and more than half of that is put toward the treatment of health problems caused by lifestyle choices like unhealthy diet and lack of exercise. By eating right and exercising for just 20 minutes a day three times per week you can cut your medical costs by as much as 30%.
- Use More Cash. Having a debit card is a great convenience but it can also be a risk – the easier it is to spend money, the more money you will spend. A few dollars here and an extra fifty cents there can add up over the course of the month, leaving your bank account a little leaner that you may expect. Instead, take out as much cash as you need each week for your regular purchases and limit yourself to that finite amount. You’ll save money by avoiding impulse buys.
- Stick to a Budget. Budgeting is not fun but it can make a huge difference when it comes to your money. Whether you are an individual or part of a family, a weekly or monthly budget can be a huge improvement if you are looking for ways to save money. You may want to start by tracking your spending for a month or two to determine how much to budget for each category. Then, simply set your weekly or monthly budgeted amount and don’t go over!
- Pay Down Your Debt. When you want or need something in the moment but don’t have enough cash, it is easy (and tempting) to use credit instead. Unfortunately, a small amount of debt can quickly turn into an insurmountable problem. Avoid using credit whenever possible and, if you already have debt, try to make more than the minimum payments. The average American has close to $9k in debt and, if you have a 15.99% APR and make minimum payments, it could take you 33 years to pay off the debt and you’ll pay more than $15k in interest. If you pay an extra $35 a month, you’ll pay off the debt in just 5 years and pay less than $4k in interest.
Managing your money can be a challenge, especially if you have a family to look after. If you really want to improve your financial outlook in 2017, consider making one of the money-saving resolutions listed above.