The new year is approaching and you’re determined to save money for your various short-term and long-term goals. But HOW do you even begin to do something as lofty as save money? It seems like you need your whole paycheck to currently make ends meet.
There are nine simple ways you can begin saving your money in January 2019 and you don’t even have to worry about putting a set-amount of money away each month!
New Year Cleaning?
1. Unwanted Christmas Gifts
At your family Christmas party, did you get a few gifts that you absolutely don’t want? Don’t worry about trying to return them, whether you have the receipt or not. You can sell them for extra cash. If you’re not sure how to do so, check out websites like eBay or Amazon, apps like Decluttr or you can even have a good old-fashioned garage sale. You can put all or part of the extra money you earn from selling your unwanted Christmas gifts into your savings account immediately. If you do this, you won’t be tempted to spend it and you’ll never miss it because you weren’t counting on it for your everyday purchases.
2. Unwanted Clothes
Don’t wait until spring to clean out your wardrobe, do it in January! If your clothes are in good condition, but they don’t fit or you don’t want them anymore, you can sell them. You can sell your clothes online with websites like thredUP or Tradesy—and of course—eBay or Amazon.
You could even try selling your clothes on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, though always be careful with whom you interact. Garage sales are also an option for selling clothes. Once again, when you receive your money for your unwanted clothes, put it DIRECTLY into your savings account so you’re not tempted to go on a shopping spree with it!
3. Eat Your Stored Food
You can save money by not buying so much at the grocery store. Clean out your pantry, your refrigerator and your freezer. Of course, if your food is expired, you can toss it. But if it’s still good, make sure you eat it or use it as part of a meal before you go back to the store. You’ll be surprised how long it will be before you go shopping if you make meals out of ALL the food you have stored away. You probably don’t realize how much you actually have! Try it out and maybe you can get away with going to the grocery store one time in January, or maybe even not at all.
4. Post-Christmas Specials
You don’t realize it until you buy them, but holiday decorations can be EXPENSIVE when they’re in-season. It might be inconvenient to not have a new apartment, condo or home decorated for the holidays. That being said, cashing in on those post-Christmas sales, if you celebrate, to stock up for Christmas 2019 can be worth it. You can get TONS of decorations for your residence at extremely discounted prices. Next holiday season, you’ll be happy you saved all that money on decorations in January.
5. Rewards Programs
The next time the cashiers at your favorite stores ask you if you want to register for their free rewards programs, do it! You could be missing out on a plethora of deals, sales, coupons and rewards. If you’re going to shop at the stores anyway, why not get rewarded for doing so? You’ll save money in the long run.
6. Stop Buying Cases of Water Bottles
A 24-case of plastic water bottles can cost anywhere between $5-$10. But how many cases do you need? How quickly does your family go through water bottles? The price can add up quickly whether it’s per week, per month or anywhere in-between. Instead, buy a reusable water bottle! It might initially cost more to buy a good water bottle over a case of water, but it will be cheaper in the long run. Fill up your bottle with tap water, filtered water at work or from the dispenser on your fridge. Once you chop out buying cases of water from your budget, you can put the money you’d have used to buy the case of water into savings instead.
7. DON’T Join a Gym
New year, new you, right? While gym memberships will be discounted in January as everyone begins their New Year’s resolutions, don’t feel pressured to join one. Physically going to the gym or knowing you have a membership there might be a good motivator to get you to workout, but in the end, you’re ultimately just wasting your money. If you’re trying to stay in-shape, create your own workout program from home. For example, you can utilize the stairs in your house, run outside, do wall sits with your walls or take your dog for a walk/jog. Those activities are all completely free! If you do have a gym membership, cancel it and start working out for free instead.
8. File Your Taxes Early
The sooner you file your taxes, the quicker you’ll receive your tax return money! Find out when the IRS will start accepting your taxes and jump on it the first possible day. While you may not get your money by the end of January, you’ll get it much faster than waiting until March or April to file. When you receive your tax return, put it into your savings account. You could even put half of it in savings and use the other half to pay your current outstanding bills.
9. Dollar Bills
For every physical $10, $5 or $1 bill you have in your wallet, put it into your piggy bank or your savings account. You’ll be surprised how quickly your savings will grow, especially if you use cash for most of your purchases. Also do this with any change you receive. By the end of the year, you’ll be happy to see what your piggy bank holds!