10 Money-Saving New Year's Goals That You Can Actually Keep


Can you believe it's almost 2015? I certainly can't, but I'm already mulling over my resolutions list for the coming year. After the parties end, the champagne is served, and the ball drops, some of us have some major catching up to do financially. So, here are 10 money-saving goals to ring in the new year.

1. Start Cooking

Getting a hot meal on the dinner table is difficult during the week, and often we used to resort to ordering pizza or eating out, spending way over our food budget each month. Taking a few extra minutes to pack lunch at night can save $10 or more per day. Set a goal this year to cook more with the food you have on hand. Meal planning is the key here, so get out your favorite recipes and cookbooks and write a plan for the week. You can shave dollars off your grocery bill by learning which ingredients give you more bang for your buck, too. (See also: How to Eat Well on Just $20 a Week)

2. DIY Your Pantry

And if you're interested in learning to cook, consider extending the fun to your pantry. Making your own ingredients at home is both fun and frugal (here's how). You can take your cooking and baking skills to another level and also eat healthier foods when you control their ingredients. And without all the packaging and store markups, you'll be taking more than a few pennies off the cost.

3. Take a "No New Clothing" Challenge

I challenged myself to stop buying new clothes for an entire year back in 2010. It was hard, but in the end I got used to working with what I already own. It helps to have a minimalist wardrobe to begin with, and the rest is self control and avoiding fashion trends. You will definitely save some major bucks if you can curb your regular spending — and you don't have to eschew purchases altogether. Consider reducing your yearly clothing expense by â…“ to start.

4. Track Your (Actual) Spending

Most of us have a budget, at least in theory — but few of us know precisely where the money goes. Start the year off right by recalculating your monthly totals and tracking your spending. Not only does this exercise help you be more mindful with your money, but it also allows you to see where you can cut and save. While you're at it, make sure there aren't any stray bills hitting your account (old subscriptions, unused gym memberships, etc.), and you might see savings right away. Use tools like Mint to track your progress. (See also: 10 Mindless Ways You're Spending Money)

5. Organize Yourself

Getting my house (and my life) better organized is one of my personal goals for this year. And there are lots of areas of focus here. For example, by keeping better track of your mail, you'll have fewer unpaid bills and late fees. By cleaning your pantry and organizing your refrigerator, you'll have less food spoilage and waste. Neatly folding and hanging clothes will allow you to wash them less often and save money on both resources (electricity, water, etc.) and new clothing purchases. The list goes on.

6. Get Fit

Many gyms see a traffic surge of up to 50% in January, only to find a steep decline after those origination payments are made. Skip the pricey gym and workout at home. Jogging and walking are virtually free, so sign up for a 5K or join a neighborhood runner's club. And there are many other types of body weight routines you can do — for free — right in the comfort of your living room. (See also: 7 Online Workout Videos for Free or Cheap)

7. Lean Out TV

Along with getting more active and exercising regularly, you can also cancel your cable subscription. In fact, the average cable bill could hit a staggering $123 per month this year. Without hundreds of channels at your disposal, you might feel more inclined to get off the couch and get moving. You'll have more time for other areas of your life, like cooking and organizing. If you just have to watch, consider alternatives like Hulu and Netflix, which allow you to be more intentional with your time and conservative with your dollars.

8. Clip Coupons

I'm sure you've heard stories of people walking into the store and leaving with several carts full of stuff for $0. While stories like these sound extreme, learning to clip coupons can mean an entire lifestyle of savings. And if you play your cards right, you can indeed see some impressive rewards. Try paying it forward by sharing your loot — here are 13 places to donate extra goods from couponing.

9. Simplify Your Routine

Women spend an estimated 55 minutes each day on their looks (that calculates to around two weeks per year!). And not only that, but think of all the money spent on manicures, pedicures, haircuts, colors, and other spa treatments that pile up monthly. Men aren't immune either. You can greatly simplify your routine and use fewer chemical-laden soaps and creams by making some of your own bath and body products.

10. Go Debt Free

If you're able, try going debt free this year — you may not erase all your debt in 12 months, but you'll make important progress and transform your money mindset. Start by listing all your debts, interest rates, and any other pertinent information. Set payoff goals that are measurable and attainable. Sink funds into those balances starting with the highest APRs and work your way down. Trade in or sell your high ticket items to help pay off debt in larger chunks. And stick with it because — seriously — being debt free is totally, completely awesome. (See also: 6 False Assumptions About Debt-Free Living)

What money-savings goals do you have for 2015?

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Guest's picture

Great post. To bad women spend so much time changing how they look. That is beyond me. I use make up so rarely its about 2 yrs old and still more then half full.

Guest's picture

I like the first point and it is something i have been thinking about for a while. Each month i can't help but worry about how much i spend eating out or ordering food. I have been planning to learn coooking for a while.