Saving money is one of the most touted New Year’s resolutions in the United States. It’s no wonder. After a holiday season where excess is often the name of the game, January is a time for sober reality. It is a time to hit reset on a lot of areas in our lives.
Saving more money and getting our financial house in order is often at the top of many people’s resolution lists.
Whether you want to start the year off with a good start, or if you just want to start saving money any time of year, here are nine deceptively simple ways to save money right now.
1) Stick to a budget.
The first step to having more money at the end of the month is to know where all your money is going during that month. Create a budget for your needs and a few wants, and stick to it.
As a general rule, less than 30 percent of your income should be spent on housing and debt, 26 percent on living expenses, 25 percent on taxes, 15 percent on savings and retirement, and 4 percent on insurance, Readers Digest suggests.
Think about paying yourself first, such as by contributing to savings or investment accounts to help your nest egg grow.
2) Contribute to your 401(k).
Do not neglect your 401(k) just because you are trying to save money. Putting a stop to your contributions could mean losing “free” money if your company matches those contributions.
It could set you back significantly in terms of how much you will have to retire on when the time comes. This is one of those cases when “spending” money (or reallocating it) can save you money in the long run.
3) Stop smoking.
The cost of smoking is astronomical. If you won’t quit smoking because of the health risks, the very limited places where you can legally light up, or the distaste many people have for smokers, then do it for the savings.
In New York, one pack of cigarettes costs $12.65. Smoke a pack a day for 20 years? That’s over $90,000! Even in Virginia, which offers the cheapest place to buy cigarettes, a pack-a-day smoker would still spend $38,000 over 20 years. Quit now and watch those savings add up.