February 11, 2014

Saving Money in the New Year

I’m not sure about you, but one of my New Year’s resolutions is to get serious about my family’s finances and get the little “piddly” things paid off. In fact, it is my goal to by the end of the year only have my mortgage and vehicle payments left…everything else needs to get paid off. If I can do this, which I know I can, then my family will have a lot of extra money freed up every month.

One of the ways that I am going to accomplish this is by cutting unnecessary costs and applying the money I save to the monthly payments I’m making for those pesky bills. Once I start doing that, things will get paid off rather quickly as money saved adds up quickly. So, what types of cuts can I make to save money this year? Here’s my plan…and maybe you can even benefit from it!

1.  Change my grocery shopping strategy. The first thing I’m going to modify is my grocery shopping strategy. I’ve gotten a little lazy when I buy groceries and have bought more repackaged/frozen foods than what I should be. Prepackaged/frozen foods add a lot of money to the total grocery bill when you take the time to figure out what the ingredients would cost you separately…especially when you consider that a lot of times those same ingredients can be used to create another dish. Therefore, as of right now, I am going to start buying more fresh foods and preparing my own dinners at home. Yes, that means I will spend a little extra time in the kitchen, but the extra money I will save as a result will be worth it.

2.  Start hand-making certain products. I used to make my own laundry soap. In fact, I did this just a few months ago and still have about 2.5 gallons left of it. I figured it up once and making my own laundry soap actually saves me at least $500 a year, if not more. While that is great, I’m going to expand the products  make on my own this year. Some of the products I plan to make include shampoo/conditioner, hand soap and deodorant. Think about the amount of money you spend every year on just these three products. If you could make them yourself for next to nothing, then doesn’t it make sense to save your hard earned money in these particular areas.

3.  Get creative with clothing. Like most women, it is totally possible for me to go out and spend money on new clothes when I have a ton of really great pieces at home. Therefore, this year I plan to use my old clothing and make new outfits by either changing them up entirely or mix and matching for a new look…or swapping with a friend! The same is true for my kids’ clothes too.

4.  Cut back on the “extras.” I admit, I like a good manicure and pedicure just as much as the next woman…in fact, I may like them a little too much. It isn’t a rarity for me to go at least once or twice  a month for my hair and nails. I have highlights in my hair, which costs me $100 every six weeks to redo and get a haircut. My manicures and pedicures are another $80-$100 per month  (if I go twice a month) and my monthly massages add up too. These are all things that I am choosing to go without until we get everything paid off except our vehicles and mortgage payment. I figure this will save me at least $250-$300 a month.

It’s not that saving money in the new year is going to be hard, it’s enforcing the willpower to refrain is what will be the hard part. So, what about you? How do you plan to save money this year?