For many people around this time of year is when the gyms are packed with new members. Sure, it’s great to start to care about your health, but let’s face it, after a couple months you find yourself going less and less and pretty soon they monthly dues are being taken out of your bank account every month you haven’t been in almost a year. Before you continue to pay the aaa membership cost when you don’t need to, now is the time to take a look at your finances and save money where you can.
Review Current Finances
If you can pull your last month’s debit or credit card statement you can actually go line by line and see where every dollar is going, from monthly bills, to spending money on food, gas, and entertainment. You can get a good idea of what you’re spending and start to budget for what you should be spending. While it will take months of tweaking as you go along, starting a budget is a great way to discipline yourself to spending what you allowed for, and hopefully watching the savings add up each month.
Get Out of Credit Card Debt
Interest is how credit card companies make their money, and depending on your card, you could be paying upwards of 16% APR, which depending on the balance, could be a few hundred a month just in interest payments, so those minimum payments are doing little to chip away at the actual balance. If you can somehow make large payments and make sacrifices in other areas, until the credit card debt is paid off, you’ll find yourself in much better financial shape once you’re out, and you can put your money to better suited areas such as building an emergency fund or increasing retirement fund contributions.
Start Grocery Shopping
Going out to eat is great. You get to order what you want, have someone cook it, get served, and then you get to leave while someone else cleans up. The problem is, you pay for it, and depending how often you go out for lunch or dinner, you could save hundreds of dollars a month by going grocery shopping instead and preparing your meals at home. While that may be an adjustment, even scaling back by days going out will still make a huge dent, until you see the results adding up and decide to scale back even further.
Make Cuts Where You Can
Saving money will not always be easy, especially when it means getting rid of things you are used to, or used to paying for that is. The popular trend now is cutting the cable cord, as many of the best shows are on streaming services anyways, might as well get rid of all the channels you don’t watch but still pay for, not to mention commercials that get more annoying every time, which is probably why you DVR every show anyways, so the more you entertain the idea of getting rid of cable, maybe one day you will actually do it!