11 New Year’s Resolutions That Will Actually Save You Money
If saving money is near the top of your New Year’s resolutions, you’ll save time and money by following this advice from financial experts.
Cut unnecessary monthly subscriptions and service fees
Around 10 percent of millennials spend $200 or more a month on subscription services, according to MarketWatch.com. The group also reports that 70 percent of consumers say they would have canceled some of those services previously—if they only remembered they had subscribed. Apps like Truebill and Trim can streamline the process for you if you’d rather not create your list the old-fashioned way.
Money Coach Steven Donovan of EvenStevenMoney.com personally paid off over $100,000 in debt using tricks like this. He started by dropping his gym membership. “Buy one piece of fitness equipment that is under $100, like a kettlebell or a jump rope, and get comfortable with your fitness and health resolution this year at your home, garage, or local park,” says Donovan.
Making tackling your credit card debt a priority
It’s no secret that expensive credit card debt can cause you to waste your hard-earned money. It can hurt credit score too: Using a high percentage of your credit limits can negatively impact your credit scores, even if you never miss a payment. A 10 percent credit card utilization ratio is ideal if you want to “maximize this part of your FICO Score,” consumer credit pro Beverly Harzog, consumer finance analyst and credit card expert at U.S. News & World Report, told Forbes. If you want to increase your earnings in the New Year, here are 15 financial resolutions that will make you more money in 2019.
Declutter your closets
Decluttering your home is an unconventional way to save money: Joshua Becker, author of best-selling book The Minimalist Home, explains how decluttering and reselling unused items can pay off both financially and mentally. “Removing unneeded possessions from your home offers you the opportunity for resale. If you are removing expensive items, the cash can add up quickly. Even if you are selling inexpensive things, the cumulative effect of removing a lot of clutter can add up,” he says.
“But I have discovered something else to be true,” Becker adds. “Decluttering frees up space in your home and creates a more healthy environment, filled with only items you love to use.” The result can be that you control your urges to accumulate meaningless clutter—and that puts more money in your pocket. Start with the 5 unexpected places in your house you might find extra cash.
Try to score “paid-in-full” discounts
Did you know that you might be able to save money by paying certain bills in full instead of breaking them down into monthly installments? Paid-in-full discounts can potentially save you on insurance premiums, travel, web hosting services, medical bills, and more. Amy Beardsley, founder of EarlyMorningMoney.com, gives a great example of how this money-saving technique works: “I recently found out my auto insurance company has a 12 percent discount for policies that are paid in full, and I started a sinking fund to cover that when it comes due next spring. That alone will save me more than $400 in a year! To save even more, I’m going to ask for ‘paid in full’ discounts on everything in 2019!”
Keep an eye on your credit score
Good credit scores can save you money in more ways than you probably realize. Want to get lower insurance premiums, lower interest rates, lower deposits, and lower monthly payments? Good credit is a key which can potentially unlock all these fabulous money-saving perks.
Checking the accuracy of your three credit reports frequently from Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian is a crucial step to earning and keeping a good credit rating. Thankfully, federal law gives you the right to claim a free report from each of the three credit bureaus every 12 months from AnnualCreditReport.com. Check out 11 ways to improve your credit score.
Ask for lower rates and fees
Sometimes saving money can be as simple as asking for a lower interest rate or service fee. According to a survey by CreditCards.com, almost 70 percent of cardholders who asked for a lower interest rate were successful. The same survey states that 82 percent of cardholders had their annual fee waived or reduced upon request as well.
The savings opportunities are not limited to credit card accounts. You might be able to save money on your cable bill, your satellite bill, your internet bill, and even your rent, according to U.S. News & World Report: All you have to do is ask if a better deal is available.
Deal with credit reporting mistakes
Despite federal laws requiring that agencies keep accurate scores—thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act—reporting mistakes still occur, frequently. A study released by the Federal Trade Commission a few years ago found an estimated 40 million mistakes on the credit reports of U.S. consumers. If you spot errors, bring it to the attention of the credit bureaus. The catch is that you must be proactive and initiate this dispute process yourself. “Credit reporting agencies don’t have an obligation to correct anything on a credit report unless you tell them it’s wrong,” credit expert John Ulzheimer, formerly of FICO and Equifax, told Forbes. If you find incorrect information on your credit reports and wish to dispute it, the Federal Trade Commission explains how to begin the process here.
Consider switching service providers
If your cable or Internet provider won’t budge on fees, take a look at the competition; switching providers altogether may make the best financial sense. “A great New Year’s resolution would be to pay off your cell phone and switch service providers,” says Sa El, Founder of SimplyInsurance. Sa explains how he was paying nearly $250 per month for two mobile phone lines for himself and his partner through Verizon.
“After a year of that, I decided to pay off both phones and switched service providers to Metro by T-Mobile. Now I am paying $90.00 per month for both phones with better service and I get Amazon Prime for free. So, not only am I saving tons of money per month, I get Amazon Prime—two wins!”
Give yourself a small savings challenge
Instead of trying to break all your financial bad habits overnight, consider starting with a small challenge which you can work toward over the course of the year. R.J. Weiss, CFP and founder of TheWaystoWealth.com favors this approach: “The 52-week money saving challenge has you increase the amount you save by $1 each week. A twist on this method is to use the same concept but apply it to your 401(k) or mortgage payment. For example, increase your mortgage principal payment by $25 every month or increase your 401(k) savings percentage by 1 percent every quarter.” Check out these 10 creative ways to save money for more great inspiration.
Commit to cooking more meals at home
Dining out burns through your budget in a hurry. The average American household spends nearly $3,500 per year dining out, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You can save a ton by simply cooking at home more. Kali Roberge, Chief Content Officer of fee-only financial planning firm, Beyond Your Hammock, adopted this resolution for the new year. She estimates the changes will save her a sizable $150 per month. Want to stretch your food budget even farther? Try these tricks frugal shoppers use to save big on groceries.
See if you are eligible for savings on your student loans
If you’re still carrying student loan debt, you’re not alone. Forbes reports that over 44 million borrowers in the United States owe a collective $1.5 trillion dollars in student loan debt. Travis Hornsby, founder of StudentLoanPlanner.com, explains how a little-known government subsidy could help: “If you owe more than two times your income in student loan debt, sign up for something called the ‘Revised Pay as You Earn Plan’ (REPAYE for short). The government provides subsidies on your student loans on this income-driven repayment plan.” Next, focus on these easy ways to save money without feeling the pinch.