With the year quickly coming to a close, many people are starting to think of New Year’s resolutions. This New Year instead of creating a resolution that you will most likely give up after a month or two, create a habit that will change how you spend and save your money.
- Create a Budget or a Spending Plan. Knowing how and where your money is going will help you have better control of your money and keep you from living pay check to pay check.
- Do a 52 Week Challenge. For the New Year, challenge yourself to save a certain amount of money each week or start with putting $52.00 in a saving account and decreasing the amount each week.
- Budget for outings with friends and family: Louis has many attractions that are free like the Zoo, the Art Museum on Fridays, Forest Park, the Science Center, Grants Farm (have to pay for parking). Throughout the summer there are free concerts on certain nights of the week at places like the History Museum and the Botanical Garden and even in many parks.
- Wait for it. If you want to buy an item and you really don’t need it right away, wait for it to be marked down or go on sale. Research items online; you will be amazed what you can find on EBay and Overstock.
- Create a wants and needs list. Make of list of all the things you want to buy and categorize them. Ask yourself if this is a need or a want; write a reason why you should not putt off the purchase. Making this will this list will help you put things into perspective.
- Pay for things with cash. Instead of putting things on your credit card which will accrue interest each month unless you pay the balance in full, make purchases using cash. Over time a $50.00 purchase could cost you big money in the long run.
- Set S.M.A.R.T Goals for large purchases. Each month set S.M.A.R.T. financial goals to help reduce spending and help increase savings.
- Specific: Write down exactly what you want to save for.
- Measurable: Know how much you will have to save to reach your goal.
- Adjustable: Don’t set yourself up to fail. Make sure the goal you set for yourself is reasonable and possible.
- Realistic: Set goal that are within your budget and don’t take funds away from other financial obligations.
- Time Oriented: Set a target date to have reached your goal.
By Evette Baker, Financial Education Specialist