Every year people resolve to be better. Their new year’s resolutions include losing weight, doing more volunteering, having more patience, drinking less, arguing less and saving more money. Usually by February, those resolutions have been thrown in the gutter in place of junk food, more booze and debt. You truly can keep your resolutions, but it will take some willpower and know-how. If your resolution this year is to save money, to buy a home or get out of debt here are 8 great tips that will get you there.
1. Make a Budget
Be honest about this! Take cash out every week and budget everything including gas, entertainment, food, transportation, savings and shelter. Keep the plastic in your wallet or better yet in a drawer. Write it down stick it on the fridge and stick to it!
2. Stop drinking Tim’s
I know, it is a national institution and just something everyone does – get their morning coffee at the Tim Horton’s drive thru. But, by making your coffee at home (in a reusable cup, no less), you can save an inordinate amount of money and it really isn’t any more work than sitting in your car waiting in a line-up. Depending on how much coffee you drink and if you choose the more expensive Starbucks or more economical Timmie’s, you can save up to $1,200 a year by making the coffee yourself.
3. Stop going out for dinner
If coffee expenses aren’t draining your wallet, going out for food just may be. If you eat fast food twice a week at $10 a meal, over a year, you’ll save well over $1,000. If your tastes are a little more refined and you eat at fine dining establishments once a week at $100 a meal, you’ll save around $5,000 a year! Instead of meeting friends at the bar for drinks and food, have them over to your house for a potluck. You’ll still get to socialize, but your money will stay in your pocket.
4. Take a look at your memberships
Many people have memberships they just don’t use. Sometimes we sign up for things with the hopes of using them, don’t use them, but let the payment continue to plague our credit card. Get rid of anything you aren’t using or isn’t cost-effective. If you are watching Netflix nightly, you know that it is well worth the charges, but if you haven’t been to the gym in 3 months, figure out a way to exercise without spending money.
5. Consolidate your debt
We all know that Canadians have a crap-load of debt. If you are one of those Canadians, you may wonder how you’ll ever get out of it. You need to put a solid plan in place on how to pay off the principal, instead of just paying interest charges every month. By consolidating your debt, you’ll have one (sometimes large) payment to make, which may be the easier way to get out of debt. If your situation is a bit more dire, then the Canadian Association of Credit Counselling Services is an excellent resource for you.
6. Pay cash for everything
While you are trying heartily to get out of debt, you also need to figure out how not to keep adding debt. By paying cash for everything, you are only buying what you can afford. Once you run out of cash, you can’t spend any longer, which means you won’t go into a negative balance.
7. Pay yourself first
The key to acquiring savings to is to pay yourself first. Pay your bills, but act like your savings are a bill and make that payment to your savings account, just like you would to your hydro or credit card bill.
8. Make a game of it
Embrace your frugalness! Challenge your spouse or partner who can have the most cash left at the end of the week. Hunt for bargains, some shops offer free coffee,find two for one deals, depending on your line of work some businesses have customer appreciation BBQ’s during the summer.