How to Save Money for the New Year
The last few months leading up to New Year’s Eve is the season when your bank account takes a big hit. From Halloween to Thanksgiving and Christmas, we tend to spend more money than average due to family gatherings and shopping. Starting the new year with a low balance—or worse, debt—is never a good way to begin a fresh chapter in your life.
The first day of the new year should be when you start to build financial momentum throughout the year. Start off with simple saving techniques and then exponentially increase your revenue as you get closer to December. This way, you’ll always have a consistent flow of money that you can transfer to the forthcoming years, and beyond.
- Seed Money
Start the year off by setting aside “seed money,” or a specific amount in your savings account that should not use but only add upon. If it’ll help you, open a secondary savings account at your bank exclusively for this seed money. Later, when you’ve accumulated threefold of what you initially put in, you can use it to spend on important matters such as your child’s college tuition, a retirement plan or to invest in a side business.
- Look for Savings Opportunities
Think like a hunter. You should always be on the lookout for savings opportunities. This could be anything from grocery coupons to seasonal sales at a department store. If you can get something for less without sacrificing the quality of the material or service, then go with that option. For instance, if you can get good quality furniture at a wholesaler for less, then skip the name brand chain stores. There are a lot of opportunities to save money out there; you just have to keep your eyes open.
- Live Within Your Means
Forget your illusions of grandeur and trying to keep up with the Jones’s. Live within your means. If you can’t afford a luxury car you want right now, then don’t trade in an arm and a leg just to satisfy your lust. Prioritize your wants and needs. The latter should always come first.
Whether or not you’re business-minded, you should explore some investment options. There are a lot of opportunities to invest your money in. If your cousin is thinking about opening a new restaurant, lend him some investment money and ask for a percentage of the profits in return. You can also try investing in stocks and bonds. However, it’s best to talk to a financial advisor before investing. It’s a gamble, but it’s safer than gambling because you have more control on the outcome. If you invest wisely, you’ll see your money grow.
- Strategic Saving
There’s simple saving—like a piggy bank or automatically transferring 10% of your paycheck into your savings account—then there’s strategic saving. The latter is a more pro-active and methodical way of saving money. First, create a list of short-term and long-term financial goals. Once you’ve done that and have edited your lists, estimate your budget for each goal.
By breaking down your savings goals, you’ll have a hawk’s view of the big picture and a micro view of your financial status, and what you need to accomplish in the short and long run. There are a lot of tools out there, such as mobile apps and programs like Microsoft Excel, to help you optimize your savings. If you think like a business owner regarding your personal finance, you’ll be more in tune with your financial situation.