Ahhh, the New Year. It’s a time when we all start to reflect about the past year and try to figure out how we can improve in the year to come. Along with promising to take off those last 10 pounds and make moves to further our careers, many of us are also examining our personal finances and seeing how we can manage our money better this time around.
According to a survey by OnePoll, last year, 73% of Americans had a New Year’s resolution that focused on being smarter with their money . Additionally, the average respondent reported that they wanted to save $327 per month.
If you’re striving to save more money in 2022 and beyond, here are some resolutions you can consider adding to your list and steps you can take to possibly help you get there.
1. Save 20% Every Month
A good rule of thumb is to save 20% of your income every month. The other 50% of your money should go toward your needs, and 30% can go toward discretionary items.
2. Try a Weekly Budget
With so many transactions coming in and going out, sometimes keeping a monthly budget can seem intimidating. How do you track and manage them all? What happens if you have an emergency? With a weekly budget the amounts you have to track are smaller and more manageable, and you’re much more likely to stick to them. Make a spreadsheet of all your weekly expenses and then decide where you can cut back to save money.
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3. Decrease Discretionary Spending
Spending money on entertainment, takeout, coffee, and other wants can add up quickly. When you create your budget, figure out ways that you can reduce spending on things you don’t actually need.
4. Stop Storing Your Credit Card Information
While adding your credit card details to your online accounts makes it super easy to check out, it can also lead to increased spending on impulse purchases. Instead, remove those saved cards and force yourself to manually type in your credit card number when you want to purchase something. If you have to get up to find your card, you may be less likely to purchase things that you don’t actually need.
5. Schedule Automatic Transfers
Make it a goal in 2022 to set up automatic transfers from your checking to your savings account. All you have to do is set the amount and the date you want the recurring transfer to occur. Then, you can watch your savings blossom automatically in no time.
6. Earn Credit Card Rewards
With credit card rewards, you can get cash back when you make purchases. Then, once you reach a certain amount, like $25, you can automatically transfer it into your savings account. As long as you pay off your balance in full each month, credit cards can be very helpful when it comes to reaching your savings goals.
7. Pay Off High-Interest Credit Cards
If you’re not careful, you could be spending hundreds of dollars every month on credit card interest. Create a plan for 2022 to pay off your high-interest credit cards and then stick to it. For example, you could use the debt avalanche method, where you pay off the card with the highest-interest rate first and then move on to the card with the next highest interest rate, and so on.
8. Sign Up for a Balance Transfer Credit Card
If you have credit card debt, you may be able to pay it down faster by signing up for a balance transfer credit card. You’ll pay 0% interest on your debt for a certain period of time, say 15 to 20 months, before your interest shoots back up. Just make sure you pay off your balance before that introductory period is over or else you’ll be right back where you started. And if the interest rate is higher than your current credit card, your situation could be made worse if you don’t pay it off in time.
9. Find a Side Hustle
If you have any free time at night or on the weekends, then you can freelance or work some other sort of side hustle. Whether it’s tutoring school children or driving for a rideshare service, those extra dollars can make a serious impact on your savings. Even renting a room in your house on Airbnb could put hundreds or thousands of extra dollars in your account every month.
10. Sell Your Unused Items
Decluttering your home may be another New Year’s resolution you have for 2022. Knock out that resolution and your money-saving resolution by selling your unused items on sites like eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace.
11. Save for Retirement
If you’re young, you may feel like you don’t have to worry about retirement just yet. But the truth is that it’s going to come faster than you think. Plus, if you start saving right away, you’ll make more money on your investments through the power of compound interest. Take advantage of your company’s 401(k) matching policy, if they have one, and beef up your retirement savings in the New Year.
12. Create an Emergency Fund
If you were to lose your job tomorrow, would you have enough money to last you until you found something new? What if you had a medical emergency or your house suddenly flooded? Having at least six months’ worth of savings in an emergency fund will help you cover any sudden, unexpected expenses, and help ensure that your budget and financial goals won’t be derailed.
13. Use Coupons for Groceries
Check your weekly newspaper for the latest deals and discounts at your local grocery stores. Adjusting your purchases to match that week’s sale items can help you save. You can also clip coupons from sites like Coupons.com and P&GGoodEveryday before your weekly shopping trips for more savings.
14. Buy Generic
Did you know that generic products might be the same as name-brand products, but without the fancy label? Whether you’re at a grocery store or a pharmacy, look into buying those store-brand and generic products instead, because you could end up saving a lot on your grocery bill.
15. Choose a Day to Review Your Finances
In order to stay on top of your financial goals, it’s helpful to set aside one day a week to go over your spending. Pay your bills and check your accounts on this day as well to ensure you’re meeting your benchmarks.
16. Create an Investment Portfolio
The average interest you’ll earn on a traditional savings account is only 0.06%. But if you research different investments like stocks and bonds, you may be able to receive a higher interest rate on your money. Just make sure you invest according to the risk you are willing to take. For instance, if you don’t have much to invest, then you might stick to investing in high-performing, more established and stable companies. But if you have money to spare, you may try investing in riskier, smaller and newer companies.
17. Look Into a High-Interest Savings Account
A high-interest savings account is going to give you more bang for your buck when it comes to your savings. The rates frequently fluctuate, but average around .50% to .60% annually — much higher than the rate of a standard savings account rate.
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18. Use Cash Instead of Credit Cards?
If you use cash instead of credit and debit cards, you’re going to be much less likely to spend money. Credit and debit cards make it easy to swipe without thinking about the consequences. Paying $100 in cash for your groceries is going to have much more of a psychological effect than simply swiping your card, and it’ll encourage you to save more money.
19. Look Into a New Bank
Are you aware of all the monthly bank fees you’re paying just to keep your account open? If you overdraft your account, do you get charged a hefty fee? Does your bank charge you to use an ATM outside of their network? Examine all the fees you are currently paying and then look into competitors to see if they charge lower fees — or perhaps no fees at all.
20. Start a Coin Jar
Put all your loose change into a coin jar and then at the end of the month, take it to your bank to cash it in. This is better than using a Coinstar machine, which will take 11.9% of your money when you convert it into cash.
21. Use Financial Apps
Financial apps are an easy way to keep track of your spending. All you have to do is link your financial accounts to these apps and you can see how much you’re spending and what you’re spending your money on. These apps will even give you suggestions on how to save money and improve your finances, as well as remind you when bills are due. Some of the most popular ones include Mint, YNAB, and EveryDollar.
22. Negotiate Your Bills
Think you’re spending too much on cable? Is your cell phone company ripping you off? Then call your service providers and try to negotiate a lower monthly rate. If you aren’t successful, you could always use services like Trim to negotiate your bills down so you can save more every month.
23. Meal Prep
By preparing your meals in advance, you will have food in the fridge when you’re hungry and you won’t be tempted to eat out. It’s also a good idea to bring a lunch to work so that you won’t be tempted to purchase food on your break with coworkers.
24. Cancel Automatic Subscriptions
Go through your bank statements and see if there are any automatic subscriptions you don’t need or, worse, some you don’t remember signing up for. Cancel them immediately. If a company was charging you without your knowledge, you may be able to request your money back.
25. Decrease Energy Costs
Not having an energy-efficient home can be costly. You may be wasting hundreds of dollars each month because you’re leaving the lights on or running the heater or A/C for hours on end. You can make a few changes like fixing leaky faucets, sealing up cracks, setting timers on lights, and using LED light bulbs to start saving money on your utility bill in 2022.
26. Unsubscribe from Email Lists
If you have a problem with making impulse purchases, then unsubscribe from your favorite retailers’ email lists. Once done, you won’t be as tempted to spend because you’ll no longer receive news about flash sales.
27. Trade in Your Gas-Guzzling Car
Gas prices are very high at the moment, and they show no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Trading in your SUV for a vehicle with a smaller tank could be a smart move. Hybrid and electrical vehicles are good options as well. Though you may pay a premium for them up front, you’ll save a lot on gas in the long run.
28. Ask for Discounts
Whenever you’re purchasing tickets, booking a hotel, or going to an event, ask if there are any discounts. You may be able to snag a discount if you’re a student, a senior, a member of the military, a resident of the state, or even a AAA member.
29. Stop Buying Retail
When you go to retail stores, you’re going to pay full price. Instead, when reasonable, look for used items on sites like eBay and Facebook Marketplace. Flea markets and thrift stores may also have the goods you might need, at steeply discounted prices.
30. Go on a Spending Freeze
Don’t spend any money for a week and see how you feel. This means you’ll need to brew your own morning coffee and settle for home cooked meals. You’ll also need to avoid shopping late at night on Amazon, but at the end of the week, you should be able to more easily distinguish your wants from your needs. This will help make budgeting that much easier.
31. Save Your Tax Refund
This year, instead of spending your tax refund on a new pair of Jordans or a vacation, put it into your savings. It’ll accrue interest and you can then put it toward a larger purchase down the line if you want.
32. Work Out at Home
This one is a double whammy if you want to get fit in the New Year, too. Purchase some weights online and tune into your favorite trainers on YouTube to start burning fat and gaining muscle. You can cancel your expensive gym membership and forget pricey personal trainers while feeling better about yourself in 2022.
Looking Into SoFi Checking and Savings
By opening a bank account online like SoFi Checking and Savings®, you can accelerate your savings in the New Year. Get up to 2.00% APY, pay no account or overdraft fees and gain access to 55,000+ free ATMs at Allpoint locations.
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