If there was ever a time for budgeting tips and money help, it’s now with the holidays and the New Year upon us. The New Year is traditionally a time for resolutions. We resolve to work out more, read more, clean out the junk room and with the holiday bills showing up, spend less and save more. We all know that we should be putting money away: money for a rainy day, money for an emergency fund, college funds and vacations.
Financial guru Suze Orman makes it sound easy when she says, “Look everywhere you can to cut a little bit from your expenses. It will add up to a meaningful sum.” We know it’s a little harder than that so we’ve put together a few budgeting tips to help you welcome the New Year with a little more financial stability.
1. Manage Holiday Shopping
Holiday shopping can get out of hand quickly. Resolve that you’re not going to start the New Year with debt from the old. Make a list, budget how much you can spend and stop when the money is gone. Consider homemade gifts to further stretch your holiday dollar.
2. Save on the Road
We all want a luxurious vacation without the staggering bills that come with it. Look for ways you can save when traveling. Resorts, airlines and rental cars all have seasonal pricing. Plan your holiday in the off season, or shoulder season, when prices are lower and but the area still fun to visit. Look for coupons and join reward and loyalty programs.
3. Save While You Party
You can learn how to save even as you host. Serve hors d’oeuvres rather than a full buffet, have brunch rather than a full meal. Consider a signature cocktail rather than a fully stocked bar. Keep decorations simple — twinkling lights and a glass bowl of colorful ornaments are a lot cheaper than a room full of fresh flowers and just as festive.
4. Save on Home Improvement
There are also ways to be frugal by doing your own home repairs. Before coming up with a DIY budget, be realistic about what you can do. Most people can paint walls and switch out the faucets—however, wiring or major plumbing jobs are best left to the professionals. And reading the directions does not mean you’re an expert, it simply means you’re taking your time to do it correctly.
5. Organically Frugal
Most groceries offer organic fruits and vegetables but they’re usually a bit more expensive than those grown with pesticides. Many vendors at farmer’s markets sell organic too, and their prices might be a bit lower. But there are ways to buy organic and not break the bank. Consider buying in bulk with a friend, you’ll split the cost and the amount. You haven’t saved anything if the food spoils before you eat it.
6. Save on School
Going back to school doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune. One of the best budgeting tips we can give you is to buy in bulk. Kids will need pencils and notebooks and paper all year long. Organize neighborhood swaps of school clothing, backpacks, lunch boxes, whatever you can think of. Look for places to buy gently used gently used athletic gear, too.