Most of us are guilty letting our finances get lost in the shuffle during the holiday season, but we don’t want you to become a statistic, so we came up with easy money saving ideas you can follow.
It is tempting to cut yourself some slack since it’s the holiday season and this only happens once a year. But this is the most critical time to be careless and incur unwanted financial dents. This December, practice good financial hygiene and end your year on a high note.
To help you make sound financial decisions, here are quick ways to save money to start your new year in good shape.
Easy Money Saving Ideas
Save through Good Money Management
1. Create a Budget for Next Year
Nobody wants to spend the first month of the following year paying off debts from previous holiday expenses. The best way to avoid this according to Don’t Pay Full is by making a budget for your holiday shopping this year and to create a draft of your budget for next year.
Apart from having a budget is sticking to it no matter what. Following your budget is the hardest part actually. It’s best to create a realistic budget or goals to avoid making budget excuses and falling for serious budgeting mistakes.
2. Pay Credit Card Debt
Most of us are guilty of overspending during the holidays thinking that this only happens once a year. We let our credit card do all the work and worry about the balance later.
The convenience of using a credit card when shopping is unparalleled. However, it charges as much as 18% on outstanding balances. Wealthfront gives a friendly advice to pay off as much of the balance as you can every month to avoid paying for additional charges and for your debt to pile up.
3. Get Creative When Having Fun
One of the easiest ways to ruin your budget is by spending too much when having fun with your family according to My Money Design. Fun can be a matter of perspective and doesn’t have to cost a lot.
It’s a great feeling to bond with your family, go to the mall, eat outside as a family and pick up a few stuff along the way. As the kids got bigger, DJ realized that their idea of fun costs them a few hundred bucks when they go out.
DJ and his family have to rethink their options for fun to save money. Here’s a list of the things they have thought of doing on the weekends:
- Get some stuff done around the house.
- Head to the gym.
- Visit with family.
- Let the kids have their friends over to spend the night.
- Play a sport or go to the local school sports event.
- See what’s at the Redbox or on Netflix
- Grab a cup of coffee (just me and my wife)
4. Avoid Shiny Object Syndrome
A lot of people are guilty of chasing after the latest gadget, shoes or bags without really having a great reason. Do you really need to replace your old stuff that still works fine with something new?
Caroline is totally against this shiny object syndrome and gives her two cents about changing lifestyle to save money. You should think about the cost of what you’re about to purchase and its impact on your goal to save more money. Focus on having healthy savings and reaching your goals to avoid falling for shiny object syndrome.
5. Save Money on Everyday Expenses
Here’s a short video made by Bank of America that can help you save money every day by making simple changes to your everyday spending.
Save on Insurance
6. Review Insurance Policies
Protecting yourself and your loved ones from accidents, financial woes, and other untoward incidents should be one of your top priorities. The best time to get an insurance policy is today to have peace of mind and also to avoid paying hefty premiums.
If you already have enough coverage, it’s still a good time to review the policies you have and consider other insurance products. According to Wealthfront, coverage for long term care is often overlooked by many, which is an integral part of retirement since people are living way longer today and will most likely require custodial care.
7. Pay Car Insurance Semi-Annually
Dough Roller shares a short and helpful tip if you want to save on your car insurance. Instead of paying quarterly, you should consider paying semi-annually. Aside from it’s cheaper to pay twice a year, it’s also more convenient.
8. Compare Long Term Care Insurance Policies Before Buying
Having long term care insurance is a must today because around 70% of Americans 65 and above will need some form of long term care at some point in their lives according to U.S Department of Health and Human Services. Also because according to a post by Time.com, 75% of older individuals fear the expensive cost of care.
Everyone is advised to compare long term care insurance plans online first to find the best available plan for your long term care needs. You can also talk to a long term care insurance specialist for an in-depth discussion regarding its cost, benefits and other important details.
Save at Household Expenses
9. Make a Grocery List and Follow It
Be a meal planner Ninja next year! It’s easier and cheaper to plan your meals weekly or monthly. Make a grocery list based on your meal plan and stick to it. There are some people who are guilty of buying something that is not on their grocery list, which will ruin the purpose of having a grocery list.
Jeff Rose of Good Financial Cents is firm to having a specific list of items to buy to avoid spending too much on groceries. If it’s not on the list, then it’s easy to say no according to him.
10. Make Your Own Gifts
Creating homemade gifts is one way of saving money while giving generously according to Trent. He shared different spectacular gifts in The Simple Dollar, which you can make like candles, food mixes, soap and fresh-baked cookies or bread.
Handing out homemade gifts are definitely better than those that are bought from the store because it has a personal touch and consumable most of the time.
11. Buy Energy Efficient Appliances
Dough Roller reminds everyone to consider the annual energy cost of appliances and look for the Energy Star before buying. Appliances that are more efficient cost more, but you can save money on these in the long run because they are energy efficient and they last a long time.
12. Set a Toy Limit
Rosemary has set a toy limit for her children, which is very smart. According to her post in Busy Budgeter, she sets a limit of 30 toys per child and they can only play a total of 20 toys at a time. She sells old toys of her kids and replaces it with the gift her kids receive. This is a clever and very economical idea because there will be less clutter and you can also save money.
13. Use Coupons
Make it a habit to use coupons when shopping, be it paper coupons or digital coupons, Natalie’s preferred coupon. Using coupons is the best way to save money and get the best deal according to Natalie Bacon.
14. Make Your Own Coffee
Brewing your coffee will save you a lot of money. You can actually save more if you roast your coffee too. There are websites and stores that sell unroasted and green coffee beans. Roasting your coffee is as easy as using a popcorn popper.
If you don’t want to roast your coffee, you can still save money by buying whole beans coffee and griding them according to Penny Thots. It’s cheap and tastes better than ground coffee beans.
Save by Lowering Your Tax Bill
15. Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans
Sophia advises everyone to contribute to 401(k)s, 404(b)s, TSPs or SIMPLE IRAs with pre-tax dollars in her post in Genny Planning. Your take-home pay will be lower but your taxable income will be lower too.
Your money will grow tax-deferred for a long time. Also, you will not owe taxes on that money until you withdraw it in retirement. As an additional bonus, you’ll pay lower taxes when you withdraw your money if you’re in a lower tax bracket.
16. Make Charitable Donations
Getting into the giving spirit will not just make you feel good but can also reward you with additional tax deductions.
According to The Motley Fool, tax-deductible donations are not just limited to cash. You can also write off the goods you donate. Just make sure you drop your donations to a registered charity, get a detailed receipt and deduct only the current value of the items you donated.
17. Long Term Care Insurance Deductions
Qualified long term care insurance policies are tax deductible. But there is a limit to how much premiums can be deducted. This is determined by the person’s age by the end of the taxable year. Here’s a table of the ages and their corresponding deductibility limits for the current year and next year.
18. Uncommon Tax Deductions
The IRS released an infographic about federal tax deductions, from the common to uncommon. Below you can find uncommon tax deductions that you should keep in mind.
Following Money Saving Ideas
Following our money saving ideas can help you make the impossible possible, which is to spend less than what you make.
It seems hard at first but these easy tips are proof that saving money doesn’t have to be that hard. Sometimes you just need to be creative and to be practical.
As the year comes to a close, we, at ALTCP hope that we have done enough to encourage everyone to have a good financial hygiene to save more money and to have a worry-free retirement.