Are you struggling to stay accountable to your financial resolutions? The new year always arrives full of promise and possibility and many of us make resolutions to maintain better habits or improve ourselves throughout the year. As the saying goes, “New year, new me!” Still, bad habits can be hard to break and sometimes we fall short of our goals. So we’ve compiled our best tips to help you stay accountable to your financial resolutions all year long:
- Reassess your insurance options
Many people assume insurance is a relatively fixed cost, but it doesn’t have to be. Depending on your driving record, vehicle and location, you could potentially save hundreds a year. Taking on a higher deductible is a gamble, but you can set up an auto emergency savings account and lower your annual out-of-pocket costs. If you have different life, home and car insurance providers, it may be worth comparing to see if you can save money by bundling services.
- Eliminate checking account and other fees
Many banks charge lots of fees, such as for overdrafts and bank accounts themselves. Save money by joining a bank that rewards loyal customers instead of saddling them with unnecessary fees. With Meed, Member Banks both reduce fees and help customers earn money every month through the SocialBoost program. Also, set aside time to go over your monthly statement and take stock of your automatic monthly payments. It’s not uncommon to sign up for a free trial of a product but forget to cancel it after the trial ends. Trim the fat and you’ll be surprised at how much those small expenses add up!
- Download budget tracking apps
Saving money is easier than ever with helpful apps like BUDGT, Mint and LearnVest that help monitor customers’ spending and alert them to unusual expenses. Users can create savings goals within the apps and receive texts and emails to deter them from unnecessary spending. Also, setting up automatic deposits into your savings account helps you stick to your financial resolutions without even having to think about it.
- Avoid withdrawing from ATMs
Not only can customers incur unexpected fees when withdrawing funds from non-affiliated banks or ATMs, constantly withdrawing cash can make it difficult to stay on top of your balance. Try withdrawing a set amount each week and sticking to it. You can even separate the cash into designated envelopes for food, gas and other predictable expenses. When an envelope becomes empty it’s time to stop spending in that category or transfer funds from another envelope.
- Take your health seriously
Invest in yourself by prioritizing your health. Make healthy home-cooked meals and save money by skipping the restaurants. Look into local donation-based fitness classes or try streaming a class online instead of paying for a gym membership. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will help you save on future medical expenses and stay true to both your fitness and financial resolutions.
- Conserve water and electricity
Did you know you could save 10% or more on your electricity bill by reducing phantom power? Phantom power refers to electronics that stay plugged in when we’re not using them, such as lamps, microwaves and TVs. Try to remember to unplug your electronics when you leave and make sure all of the lights are off. Double-check that all of your light bulbs are energy efficient. It’s easy to save on your water bill by shortening your showers or opting for a relaxing bath instead. Turn off the faucet while you’re brushing your teeth or scrubbing dishes. In the summer, open windows and turn on fans instead of running the AC. And in the winter, try bundling up with blankets instead of turning on the heat.
- Quit cable and share digital streaming accounts
It’s no secret that cable subscriptions usually bundle hundreds of channels that you’ll never use. Digital streaming services have made it easy to stay up-to-date with your favorite shows without breaking the bank. Consider canceling your cable subscription and signing up for digital streaming services instead. Many streaming accounts allow multiple users, so try asking friends or family members if they’re interested in sharing accounts.
- Cut back on your grocery bill
It’s easy to overspend at the grocery store, especially when you’re with kids who are skilled at sneaking items into carts. Try to shop alone if you can and always do so on a full stomach to avoid impulse purchases. Making a grocery list will help you stay on track with your financial resolutions.
- Abide by the 30-day rule
It’s been proven that occasional frivolous spending can help you stay on track long-term. Think of it like a diet. When you’re overly restrictive, you end up binging when least expected. If the purchase seems unnecessary, follow the 30-day rule. Bookmark the item and wait a month. If you still want it in 30 days, treat yourself!