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Have you found yourself saying things like “I’ll start saving next week” or “I’ll start spending less next month”? If so, you’ve probably also found yourself having the greatest of intentions but not really sticking to those “promises” you’ve made to yourself. Well, now is the best time to get on track! We are at the start of a new year and a new decade! How cool is that?! Get ready to make 2020 your best financial year yet with these 20 tips for saving money:

  1. Be mindful. Do you tell yourself “I deserve this”? Don’t be surprised if you do. We all do as a way of justifying spending money that we shouldn’t really be spending. If you ever hear yourself say it, just stop midsentence if you can; be aware; know what you’re trying to do and just don’t do it. A financial coach can also help you identify things you say that you should be more aware of.
  2. Be in the know. Rewarding yourself is great, just don’t go wild with it. Know what things you can reward yourself with that bring you joy and keep you within your spending limit that you’ve identified in your savings and spending plan.
  3. Know what your spending weaknesses are. Do you love purses, shoes, or watches? If you can’t walk by something without buying it, stay away from it. This applies to the grocery store, too. If those Alaskan crab legs always call your name, steer clear. 
  4. Know what your spending triggers are. If you find yourself alone every Friday night and realize that you have a habit of shopping because you feel lonely, start making other plans like watching a movie, reading a book, having a friend over. Do something that keeps that emotion that causes you to spend from arising. 
  5. Have potlucks. Instead of going out to eat all the time as a way of spending time with your friends, have a potluck instead. You can even rotate who hosts it so it’s not always at your house. No matter where it is, everyone should bring a dish to alleviate one person from having to provide all of the food. 
  6. Have a clothing swap. Your friends can not only help you save on food but they can also help you save on clothes. Grab some of your friends that are similar sizes and have everyone bring some clothes and accessories to swap out with someone else. If you do this regularly, you’ll each have something new to wear without breaking the bank. 
  7. Shop at thrift stores. In addition to a clothing swap, you can get some great finds at thrift stores. Yelp actually shares the best 10 thrift stores in Frederick, MD
  8. Don’t keep up with the Jones’. You may have friends or coworkers who you see wearing the latest trends or who have the latest gadgets. Don’t be fooled as many of them are drowning in debt. Don’t find yourself in a similar position for the sake of trying to keep up with them. 
  9. Share your savings goals. Sit down and create some goals for how much you want to save each month. Then, share that goal with a close friend and have them keep you accountable. 
  10. Save every week. Speaking of savings goals, no matter how much your goal is, make sure you put money back every week. This will help you get in the habit of saving no matter how big or small the amount is. 
  11. Use coupons. Now using coupons can be risky. We tend to buy something just because it’s on sale. That’s not what we’re telling you to do here. If you see a coupon for something you already use, then keep the coupon. Otherwise, don’t let them suck you into spending more money. 
  12. Have a meal plan. Planning out what you’re going to eat is important. It allows you to create a list of exactly what you need so that you don’t go buy what you think you need and end up spending more money to make sure you didn’t forget anything.
  13. Meal Prep. We all get busy and even though we may have a meal plan, we may not cook the meals we have planned. If you know you have a busy week coming up, be sure to prep your meals so you don’t take the convenient route and go out to eat. 
  14. Know your grocery store. Know where everything is in grocery stores you frequent the most. This will prevent you from having to walk down every aisle to find what you’re looking for and ending up finding yourself with a cart full of unnecessary items. 
  15. Get a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat allows you to keep the house cooler when you’re not home in the winter and hotter when you’re not home in the summer. This way, it’s not heating or cooling for your comfort when you’re not there. 
  16. Turn off the lights. You may think that this doesn’t make a difference but leaving lights on in rooms that you’re not using can run up your electric bill. Be sure to turn them off when you know you won’t be returning to that room for a while. 
  17. Put your utilities on an average payment plan. Utility companies have the option of an average payment plan so that you can plan for your bill better as there will be less fluctuation.
  18. Add up your spending. One of the biggest areas that people spend money on is eating out. Sit down before the beginning of the year and add up all that you spent on eating out. Then, set a goal to only spend a percentage of that this year.
  19. Open a separate bank account for savings, spending, and bills. Having your money separate will keep you from taking money from other areas to buy something that isn’t in your plan. Once you spend what is in your spending account, that’s it and what you put in your savings should stay there. 
  20. Don’t loan money or cosign. Loaning someone money and cosigning are a sure way to prevent you from saving money. Often times, the money is not paid back or the loan is not paid on time so you have to come up with the payment in order for it to not impact your credit. 

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