Year after year, saving money ranks as one of the five most popular New Year’s resolutions, along with eating healthier, losing weight, getting more exercise, and learning a new skill. A study by the University of Scranton showed that approximately 45 percent of us make resolutions like these, but only eight percent are successful at keeping them. If you want to save more money in 2020, it’s going to take hard work and dedication to beat those odds. It’s also going to take a little creativity.
When it comes to saving money, people will try some crazy things. Over the years, we’ve heard saving tips ranging from sensible (i.e., spend less than you earn, cancel cable TV subscriptions) to strange (i.e., planting fake flowers in your garden, separating two-ply toilet paper to make it last longer). While we agree with the practical suggestions, we’ve got more than a few questions about the others. To make saving as easy as possible, we’ve created a list of six simple ways to save more money throughout the year.
6 Ways to Save Money in the New Year
1. Visit Your Local Library
At first glance, this suggestion may feel a little old-fashioned, but hear us out. From books and magazines to movies to music, libraries offer a wealth of free educational and entertainment options. And if you’re one of the millions of people who prefer to read on your tablet or mobile phone, many libraries now let you check out eBooks, audiobooks, and digital movies through apps like Libby and Hoopla. Rather than spending money on books you’ll read once and forget about or paying to rent movies from a kiosk, hang onto more of your hard-earned money by taking advantage of everything your local library has to offer.
2. Find Savings Around the House
If you’re like most people, you probably have memories of your parents muttering phrases like “Shut the door! I’m not trying to heat the whole state!” or “Turn off the lights! Do you think we own the electric company?” Well, as frustrating (yet strangely endearing) as their sarcasm was, it turns out they had a point. You can save a lot of money by making little changes in your household habits. By switching to a low-flow showerhead (1.5GPM), you can save up to 40% on your shower-related costs. Updating your old thermostat to a smart model like Nest or Ecobee can save you up to $150 on your home’s annual energy costs. Little changes can really add up — or as your dad would’ve said, “A penny saved is a penny earned.”
3. Slow Down When You Shop
Have you ever bought an item and immediately wished you hadn’t? Buyer’s remorse is real — and depending on what you purchased, it can be rather expensive. Slowing down may be the secret to avoiding these pricey pitfalls. Rather than shopping with a “get in and get out” mentality, give yourself time to think about your decision. For big-ticket items, financial experts recommend waiting at least 24 hours before making a purchase. This pause gives you time to consider whether you really want or need the item, if you can do without it for a little longer, or whether you can find it cheaper somewhere else. Many times, this waiting period can help you save money by avoiding impulsive purchases you’ll regret.
4. Invest in Your Health
While getting healthier may seem like a logical New Year’s resolution, you may be wondering how it can help you save money. As it turns out, many unhealthy habits are also expensive to maintain. If you start drinking water instead of soda, not only will you reap a world of health benefits, you’ll spend less on groceries. While a lower grocery bill is nice, the correlation between physical and financial health is even more impressive. According to a recent study, a 20-year-old adult who goes from obese to a healthy weight can save more than $28,000 in direct medical costs and productivity losses over their lifetime. An average 50-year-old who makes the same change can save more than $31,000 in the same costs. No matter what age you are, we can all agree that savings of that magnitude are well worth the effort.
5. Automate Your Saving
When it comes to saving, most of us have good intentions. But by the time we pay our bills, cover basic expenses, and make a few unplanned purchases, we don’t have much leftover. At that point, saving money gets moved to the next month’s to-do list. If you want to start saving consistently, direct deposit can help. Many employers offer a payroll option that allows you to designate a portion of your check to be deposited directly into a savings account. By placing money in your savings before you see it in your paycheck, this automatic option can help you develop a saving habit that is persistent and painless.
6. Reward Yourself
This tip may seem a little counterproductive at first, but treating yourself for accomplishing a goal can actually help you in the long run. On the surface, saving money seems like a straightforward financial discipline. But when you consider the fact that establishing a consistent saving habit requires self-denial and delayed gratification, you realize there are psychological and emotional components to address as well. You’ve probably heard the saying, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Even though the adage references work, the adage applies to saving money too. Rewarding yourself (without breaking the bank or torpedoing your budget, of course) for achieving a saving-related goal provides positive reinforcement and helps you look forward to hitting the next goal.
Whether you’re saving for retirement, saving for college, or saving for a rainy day, SC Telco offers a wide array of financial products and services designed to make it as convenient and rewarding as possible. Whatever your personal goals may be, our team of financial specialists is ready to help you achieve them. For more information about SC Telco’s personal savings accounts, call us or visit one of our branch locations today!