Making resolutions for the new year is a 4,000-year old tradition, so if you’re hoping to make 2014 the year you get healthier, fitter, or happier, you have about four millennia worth of company. To help you on your way, we’ll be posting 10 science-backed action steps for a popular resolution every day through January 12. Be sure to check back for hints and tips to kick off your best year yet!
MANAGE MONEY BETTER
The best things in life may be free, but it’s nice to have debts paid down, a decent credit score, and some money left over for that weekend trip or occasional retail therapy. Use the tips below for useful info on how to save without giving up spending altogether.
1. Learn the money basics.
Understanding finances, from the difference between good debt and bad debt to the ins and outs of budgeting, is the first step in managing money like a boss.
2. Save creatively.
Sock money away with some minor tweaks to your daily routine, like swapping store-bought cleaning products for homemade ones, or cooking inexpensive meals with a slow cooker (which also cuts down on electricity usage!).
3. Make financial responsibility sexy.
The good news is that it’s possible to spend quality time without spending lots of cash. Make cooking together or working out with your special someone into a date!
4. Cancel memberships and subscriptions you can live without.
Haven’t been to the gym in a while? Consider canceling your membership to work out at home. Or get rid of cable and resolve to watch all TV and movies by streaming them for free or at lower cost.
6. Gift creatively.
Holidays, birthdays, “just-because” gifts… they can add up. But it’s possible to be thoughtful and frugal at the same time. Craft something special with your own two hands or give things that are super meaningful and super affordable.
7. Save automagically.
Set up an automated recurring transaction that moves money from your checking account and deposits it into your savings account. Whether it’s $2 per week or $15 each month, you’ll be putting something away consistently.
8. Take out less, make-in more.
There are plenty of ways to eat delicious food without dropping a ton of bank. Make takeout a for-special-occasions-only thing and start making healthy breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and sides, and dessert at home.
9. Pay yourself first.
Deposit a bit of every paycheck into a high-yield savings account. Again, whether it’s a dollar amount or a small percentage, a few dollars here and there adds up.
10. Brew your own joe.
If you’re anything like the average American, you might be spending over a grand on coffee each year. Cold brewing makes delicious coffee hot or cold, and all you need is grounds, a container, water, and time.
What are your favorite money management tips? Let us know in the comments below or get in touch with us on Twitter.