6 Successful Ways to Save Money This Year
Posted by Kristen on January 27, 2014
At every new year, I like to look back on everything I did the previous year. I like to remember all of the fun times I’ve had, everything I’ve accomplished, and mistakes I may have made so I can learn how to improve myself for the next year.
With that being said, I decided to look back at all of the articles I contributed to My Dollar Plan last year. I made a list of my top articles and my favorite topics I wrote this past year.
In case you missed them or want to read them again, here they are.
6 Ways to Save Money This Year
- Saving Money on Food
I love food. I love saving money. It’s only natural that I write articles on how you can still enjoy great food while not breaking the bank. This passion for food led me to write 35 Tips to Save Money on Food including clipping coupons, making a plan while grocery shopping, being flexible with ingredients, shopping in season, and much more. One of my pet peeves is throwing away perfectly good food I spent my money on and time making just because it went bad, so I shared my tips for ways to stop wasting food including storing it properly, using up leftovers, and taking inventory of what you already have in the fridge and pantry that could be hiding in the back.
- Saving Money on Travel
Just as much as I love food and cooking, I love to travel. I’m a firm believer that you don’t have to spend a lot or go into debt to have wonderful travel experiences. First of all, I love finding free things to do on vacation to explore an area, have fun, all while not spending a dime. Unfortunately, there are a lot of travel and money myths that prevent people from going like traveling with kids costs a fortune or you can’t afford to go anywhere. I also love to explore unconventional travel ideas such as ways to save on a road trip, how to save money while traveling abroad, how to plan and save for extended travel, and even how you can get paid to travel.
- Giving Gifts to Couples
While this article was written in mind for our holiday gift guide series, I’ve used these suggestions all year round. Buying a joint gift for a couple is a way to save money. I’ve always enjoyed getting a gift both my husband and I could enjoy together, like a bottle of wine, board game, or something for our home. But in this case, it doesn’t only work for the holiday season. Keep these gift suggestions in mind all year. You may be buying a gift for an engagement, wedding, wedding shower, house warming gift, or Valentine’s Day.
- Improving Your Finances
After hearing people constantly complain about their financial situation, I was inspired to write three separate articles to help people realize that it is not hopeless and there are steps they can take to improve their situation, whatever it may be. The first article in the series was a guide for improving finances when you don’t know where to start. It starts by slowly dissecting and understanding exactly where your money is going and understanding your debt. In the second step to improving the finances, I covered making a plan such as a debt repayment plan and making a budget. Finally, we concluded with other ways to improve your finances like creating saving goals, making a long-term plan, and rethinking how you look at money.
- Saving Money in College
I think that college and your financial future are very much correlated. Besides choosing a major and career path that forms what type of job outlook you’ll have, you’re also learning about budgeting and paying bills, figuring out the best way to pay for college, and so on. I’m always inspired to write about college because I learned a lot about money during my years in school. In addition, I want to help people not make the same mistakes I did. I wrote easy tips for saving money in college and more specific articles, like how to save money on textbooks. I also wrote about using Upromise to help pay off loans and the if studying abroad is worth it. I also gave suggestions on summer jobs for college students.
- Going on a Spending Fast
Ever since I heard about the concept of going on a spending fast, I’ve been intrigued. My fascination led me to write the article, Afraid of a Spending Fast? Tips for Success. If you haven’t heard of a spending fast, it is essentially exactly what it sounds like. For a certain period of time, you decide not to spend money unless you absolutely have to. This is an interesting concept because I think it encourages people to really consider what is necessary and what is want. It’s a great way to get out of debt, save up money, and ultimately, simplify your life by limiting what you are spending money on. In the article, I cover what the spending fast is, reasons to do a spending fast, and break down how to do it. First, we break down the differences between a need and a want to help determine what you can completely eliminate or cut back on. From there, we tackle how to deal with not spending money. Eliminate cable, buying new clothes, going out shopping for the house, going out to dinner, and much more. Instead of renting movies, borrow from the library. Instead of buying a new outfit, use what you already have. Instead of going out to a restaurant and bar or entertainment out of the house, cook dinner with friends and play games at home.
How do you plan to save money this year?
More Ways to Save Money This Year
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We are planning a more-frugal vacation this summer. Rather than fly somewhere, we are going to drive up to Lake Tahoe and hang out in a condo that we’ve already paid to rent. We spent over $12k last year on travel and vacations, I expect we will spend around $1k for our Tahoe vacation. I am hoping to keep our annual vacation budget this year at $2k.