Thursday, December 27, 2012

Saving Money is Always a Great New Year's Resolution

Wow, Christmas flew by at our house. We had a wonderful time with the whole family together as well as a brand new grandson! We hope yours was a blessed and memorable day.

New Year's Eve is just around the corner. Have you started making any resolutions yet? Making a short list intimidates some people, as they feel like they may have failed if they don't accomplish everything on the list. I hope you don't feel that way! Look at it like something to shoot for, and don't be too hard on yourself if you can't make them all happen. There's always next year! At least by making a list, you can feel good about the fact that you are going to make a serious effort at improving your life and/or the life of those around you.

Not only in this economy, but anytime, learning different ways to save money is always a great resolution to make. When you really sit down and look at the many places your money goes, there is always room for improvement. Here are just a few areas where most of us could improve:

FOOD! Are you eating out way too often? Buying that high priced drive thru coffee on the way to work? Purchasing brand name grocery items without coupons or price comparison? Throwing out leftovers instead of finding clever ways of using them in a new dish? Then you have ways of saving a lot just in this category.

ENTERTAINMENT. Wow, do we spend a lot in this area. Whether it's a night out at the movies or paying that big cable/satellite bill, this takes a big chunk out of the budget. When you next have one of those evenings when you click through fifty channels and can find nothing to watch, that's the perfect time to make the big move. Try cutting your cable package to the minimum. Or....really take the big plunge and cancel it completely! We did this last year, buying an inexpensive Roku unit, a new Tivo, and using the Netflix account we already had. We have been pleasantly surprised at how easy it was, as we discovered the huge amount of online streaming content we can get for free. We set up OTR (over the air) antennas for the local channels, too, and it hasn't been painful at all.

If you like to go out a lot, a local Entertainment coupon book may be well worth the cost, too. You can get discounts on everything from restaurants to movies to bowling and much more. Look through the book for your area before buying, to make sure there are plenty of coupons you'll use to justify the purchase.

GAS. Ouch. Gas prices this past year have been downright frightening, but you can certainly improve on that expense. We keep our longer shopping trips to a minimum, combining all of those errands into one big trip to the city. Even in our small, local area, when we go out, we try to get everything done in the same trip. We own several vehicles, and use the most fuel efficient ones for any longer trips we need to make.

As always, we also think going to garage sales is a huge money saver in so many areas. Check out our book for ideas that will save you money on gifts, appliances, decorations, special events, decorating and so much more. (Psssst...the book will be free this weekend, Dec. 29-30).

Cheers and here's to a very frugal New Year for you and yours!

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