With 2013 coming to a close many people are looking towards 2014 and finally becoming financially independent. The fact is however that while 34% of us set financial goals, only 8% of us actually reach them, at least according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology that was done by the University of Scranton.
If you’re keen on not being a part of those statistics then the Money Saving Tips below should put a smile on your face today. Enjoy.
Tip 1: Make sure to use credit responsibly in 2014.
We all know that it’s easy to overspend when using credit cards because you simply don’t see the cash going from your wallet to your hand and then from your hand to the cashier. One of the best things that you can possibly due to help your financial situation in the new year is to spend less on credit and, when you do, make sure to pay off your bill in full each month. If you already have quite a bit of debt on your credit cards, maybe 2014 is the year that you should take them out of your wallet or purse and put them aside somewhere so that you’re not tempted to use them.
Tip 2: Start putting money aside for your emergency fund.
This is a tip that we have given many times and is still one of the most important. If you have an accident, lose your job or for whatever reason can’t work, and emergency fund could literally save your financial life. It’s as easy as putting $50 into a special savings account every week and then just leaving that money there. Even at $50 a week by the end of the year you should have $2500 set aside. Do that for three years and you’ll have nearly $8 Grand to help you should a financial disaster happen. Make 2014 the year you start.
Tip 3: Check on your health care flexible spending account.
The rules about these types of plans have changed and in some cases you won’t lose any cash that’s left over in your account once the new year hits. The best thing to do to make sure is check with your employer or plan administrator. If you don’t have a flexible spending account set up already, the next time you’re employer offers open enrollment would be a great time to sign up. What these plans do is allow you to set aside pretax dollars for any medical expenses that you might have like co-pays and glasses, thus saving you money.
Tip 4: Don’t wait until April 15 to start working on your taxes.
Now would be a great time to start gathering all of your year-end documents, collect charitable receipts and organizing all of your paperwork for taxes next year. The fact is that with a little bit of advance preparation you can maximize your 2014 return.
Tip 5: Make 2014 the year you find an alternative to commuting.
One of the biggest expenses that most people have is their commute to work. Gasoline, tires and car maintenance really can add up and so, in 2014, looking for an alternative like biking to work, using public transportation or carpooling that could save you a bundle. Even better would be to find out if you can possibly work from home so that you cut out your commute altogether.
Tip 6: Make a real effort to spend less on things you really don’t need.
Most of us spend upwards of $10 a day on things like snacks or a morning coffee at Starbucks. While these might not seem to be much on a daily basis, over 12 months they can add up to a huge amount of money. Consider making your own coffee, bringing lunch to work and going to your local thrift shop for some of your clothing needs. (You’d be amazed at what you will find there.)
Setting and keeping financial goals for the new year doesn’t mean you need to deprive yourself of everything that you love it just means keeping a better eye on your spending, cutting down on frivolous purchases and setting aside money for long-term goals like emergency funds and retirement. At the end of the day the only person that can do these things for you is YOU so make a resolution to get your financial house in order in 2014 and we promise that by the end of the next year you’ll be doing much better financially. Happy New Year!