Frugal Living, Personal Finance 
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10 Habits You Can Change to Save Money in the New Year

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CoffeeAs a new year begins, and you consider what you can do to make this coming year better than the last year, it’s a good idea to look at your habits. Many of our habits contribute to money leaks in our lives.

It might take some time to eradicate a habit in your life, but you can work on one at a time. Work on developing good habit from this list each month, and in 10 months you could have a new you that is also more financially sound:

  1. Brew your own coffee: Instead of buying coffee, brew your own and bring it along. At the very least, you could brew your own coffee three days a week, and only buy it two mornings a week. With the cost of coffee rising, you really could save a bundle over time.
  2. Brown bag it: This is everyone’s frugal living tip — because it works. Not only can you save money on your lunch each day, but you can also live healthier. Healthier lunches prepared at home and brought to work will save you money on health care costs down the road.
  3. Carpool: Save money by spreading out the cost of gas with your co-workers, or with neighbors who work near your location. There are a number of web sites — and even a Facebook app — that can help you find people to share rides with. You’ll spend less in gas and maybe even make new friends.
  4. Walk more: Instead of driving everywhere, consider how you might walk more. I’ve stopped driving around my neighborhood, opting to walk or ride my bike. This saves money on gas, prevents idling, and improves my health. Even if you do drive, consider parking further away from your destination. A little more exercise — leading to better health — will help you save money in the long run.
  5. Work out at home: Make an effort to work out at home. The gas costs related to going to the gym only add to the cost of the membership. There are plenty of ways to get in good shape without going to the gym.
  6. Grow your own food: You don’t need a big garden. Even if you have a small space, you can grow tomatoes in a container, and keep an herb garden in your window. Of course, if you have the space for it a bigger garden can be great. Save money on food and eat healthier.
  7. Plan your meals: Part of the big costs associated with meal time is often because we don’t plan ahead. Make a menu, and plan out what you need. You can also plan your meals around what’s on sale, and what you have coupons for. Use the crock pot, or get a 30-minute meal cookbook to ensure that you have time to create healthy, low cost meals for your family.
  8. Cut the soda: Instead of drinking soda, switch to water. You’ll be drinking fewer calories, and water costs much less — especially out of the tap. You can invest a little in a water filter if you feel it necessary. Over time, the filter will more than pay for itself.
  9. Institute a waiting period before making a purchase: Before you buy something, institute a waiting period. You might be surprised to discover that what you “want” changes when you think about it for 10 to 20 days. This can be a good way to curb impulse spending.
  10. Stop smoking: This is listed last because it might take more than a month to kick this habit. However, the rewards in terms of saving money as well as improved health, might be well worth it.

What new habits do you want to develop in order to save money?

(Photo: m.aquila)

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19 Responses to “10 Habits You Can Change to Save Money in the New Year”

  1. I’ve implemented a couple of these in the past 6 months. Could you give us more information about the sites that get people wanting to carpool together? Good post. Thank you.

  2. Sheila says:

    I would add to freeze leftovers for those times when you’re too tired or rushed to cook. That way, you will avoid that impulse to get take-out, which will help both your wallet and your waistline.

    • echidnina says:

      That is a really good tip. My partner and I try to cook when we can, but all too often the impulse to order out or nuke a readymeal wins over taking the effort to cook something. If we make things in bulk when we have the time to, we can make our own ‘tv dinners’ for those lazy evenings.

    • Shirley says:

      The freezer is my food budget and time saver! When lean ground beef is on sale I buy ten pounds and crumble-cook it or make it into patties or meatloaf and then freeze it in quantities for one meal. It makes for a quick and easy meal when you weren’t expecting to (or wanting to) fix one. Just remember to label each package even though you may think that the contents are obvious… once frozen they may not be.

      • Sarah says:

        I use my freezer a lot. I grew up on a farm and learned how to use it. When I get married I plan on registering for one if we don’t have one already. They are so helpful and really make it easy if you cook a big meal and then dish it into the serving sizes you want. I rarely eat out since I also learned how to cook and bake at a young age.

  3. Diane says:

    Most of these I already do… since we work at home, brewing coffee, brown bagging & carpooling are not an issue! Already gave up soda, work out at home and walk for exercise… And I have an automatic “waiting period” as I almost never make a decision to by anything on the first try~ LOL!

    My main focus for now is to buy as little as possible for the next 3 months~ everything needs to just stay on the list for that period!

  4. With the invention of Keurig and single pod brewing systems, i really don’t see why anyone buys coffee on a daily basis. These machines are incredibly easy to use. and while more expensive than traditional drip coffee, they sure are less expensive than buying from any coffee station.

  5. daenyll says:

    Definitely need to get back into riding my bike to work.

  6. Jonathan says:

    Superb tips. Since I started planning our household meals last year I recoken we’ve saved close to £1000. My favourite is buying a large chicken and then you have loads of meals from it.

  7. elloo says:

    Don’t buy bottled water! It’s hugely expensive per gallon.

    Hang your clothes outside, if you can. It’ll save a bunch on your electric bill by not using the clothes dryer.

    • Strebkr says:

      The bottled water item is very easy. We actually bought a case of water awhile back, but only for the bottles. We choose a brand that had thicker then normal bottles so they would last a little longer. We can then refill them as often as we want.

      We tried reusable bottles in the past, but for whatever reason we didn’t use them enough. We needed to be able to take bottles places and not worry about loosing them or being able to throw them away when needed.

      We probably get 30-40 refills from a single bottle before it gets lost, left somewhere, etc.

      Its a good balance of being disposable and reusable at the same time.

      • Shirley says:

        We do this with gallon bottles for the coffeepot because the water in our area is so mineral laden. Self-serve kiosks outside grocery stores have one gallon of drinking water for 25 cents.

    • Shirley says:

      When you can’t hang clothes outside, hang heavier items, like towels, on a hanger inside. They’re dry in less time than you would think although you may have to turn them over once.

    • Mekay says:

      Good point elloo, except for the bottled water part. Yes, don’t buy bottled water, BUT, tap water is yucky in too many ways to count. If folks are really trying to be frugal and give themselves good drinking water, they could (in certain areas) collect rain water in barrels and filter it through a berkey water system. Also, there is a site called Findaspring.com where people can locate actual springs where they can collect the spring water for free.

      Totally agree about the clothes drying.

  8. Jeff Crews says:

    I read #1 and could have stopped there. I used to go to Starbucks everday. I decided that I wouldn’t as much. (unless I have gift cards). It is a couple weeks into January, and I haven’t gone once…..SUCCESS!

  9. Marlo says:

    I really could do better at planning meals. I am working on it because our income has been cut in half. I am working on it and its getting better!

  10. MJB says:

    Great, common sense tips.

    I’d add that it is cheap to workout at home or outside. The cost of a gym membership can easily eclipse the cost of equipment within a few months. I’d also suggest that if you just want or need to join a gym, you could choose one that is within walking or biking distance.

  11. purple says:

    Excellent list.

    Recently I changed my phone plan and saved two hundred dollars a month in my currency (not from USA) and carpooling another eight hundred since I work far from home. Late fees also cuts into your budget so pay your credit card on time.

  12. Neurilene says:

    Thank you so much for the article! Excellent! Also thanks for the e-mails….


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