5 Money Saving Resolutions for 2020
Happy New Year everyone! Another year has passed and I hope you are one step closer to reaching financial independence. I am usually not somebody who likes to make New Year’s resolutions. My philosophy has always been that if you need to make a change, do it now and don’t wait until the calendar turns. Procrastination is the root cause of many failures in life.
Having said that, sometimes we need a push in our lives and New Year resolutions can be just that. It’s not surprising that gym memberships spike in the New Year, right? For this New Year, let’s try to make some interesting tweaks to our routine and see how many of them stick. After all, life is about making progress and improvements. Below I have outlined 5 money saving resolutions that will help us inch closer towards financial independence.
Time out for your wallet
Designate a week every month as a “no buy” week. During this particular week, don’t spend any money beyond the most basic essentials, like paying for utilities, groceries, gas, etc. In other words, skip trips to the mall and avoid browsing on Amazon.
When I started doing this, it made me realize I spent way too much time looking for deals online or trying on stuff at the mall. If you are getting good at this game, extend it to beyond just one week of “no-buy” each month.
Every so often I see something I really want on sale during one of my black out days. Self control is hard, but necessary! Chances are, the need to buy buy buy will diminish after a few days, which probably means that I don’t need those items to begin with. This will cut down on impulse buys and make buying decisions more deliberate and mindful. Thank you, Marie Kondo!
Pay down your debt
If you’ve built up a credit card balance over the holidays, then make a plan to pay that balance off as soon as possible. While you’re at it, review all your debt obligations — from mortgage loans and credit card debt to student loans.
Make a list on a spreadsheet the debt amount and what the interest rate on each of them is. Ideally, you want to pay off the balances with the highest interest rates first. Consolidate your debt if possible when interest rates are low.
Consider your home loan. Can you refinance your mortgage and lower your monthly payment? I’ve been advising friends that if at all possible, try to refinance from a 30-year mortgage to a 15-year mortgage. The total interest cost that will be saved over the life of the loan is staggering to say the least.
Depending on your financial situation, it may even make sense to do a cash out refinance on your home if you use the extra amount to pay off higher interest debt. Whatever your situation is, make an effort to reduce your debt.
Find a new home for stuff you don’t need
Once a month, thoroughly declutter your home and list something on eBay. I try to do this on a regular basis. Over the past few months, I sold on eBay a pair of cuff-links that I no longer use but were still in excellent condition, a nice suit that was just too large for me, and a flask that I bought years ago but never used.
It may be surprising to you, but there was a buyer for every one of those items. There is always someone who needs the very thing that you don’t want. Not only do I get some money back, I find the process of cleaning out the closet very satisfying and it helps me to declutter my home.
Brush up on your culinary skills
For many people, a home cooked meal may seem impossible. Either it’s because of long working hours or taking the kids to this or that class; the idea of cooking and cleaning up after a long exhausting day is more stress we don’t need.
Having said that, making home cooked meals can save a lot of money each month. There are plenty of gadgets in the market nowadays that allow for easy cleanup and low maintenance cooking. We are always finding great recipes for our pressure cooker and air fryer. There are a plethora of easy and quick recipes on YouTube that even novice cooks can do.
Challenge yourself to learn one new dish each month. Eating home cooked meals is so much healthier than going to almost any restaurant. As an added bonus, if you make enough for leftovers, you can pack a lunch to take to the office. This will save a bundle on your food expenses!
Skip the beverage at restaurants
Here is something new to try in the New Year – when you do go out to restaurants, avoid ordering any beverage along with your meal. When you compare the cost of a beverage that you get at a restaurant to the price that you pay from a grocery store, you might think twice before ordering a drink again.
Does it ever make sense to pay $3 for a soda or juice? If you are somebody who always orders a drink at a restaurant, this may be a strange and challenging New Year’s resolution. But if you really think about it, given the increasing price of food, it’s even harder now to justify this added cost when you go out to restaurants. Besides, most of these beverages are not good for you anyway. In other words, why not save some calories alongside your dollars while you’re at it.