As a new year begins, and you consider what you can do to make this coming year better than the last year, it’s a good idea to look at your habits. Many of our habits contribute to money leaks in our lives.
It might take some time to eradicate a habit in your life, but you can work on one at a time. Work on developing good habit from this list each month, and in 10 months you could have a new you that is also more financially sound:
- Brew your own coffee: Instead of buying coffee, brew your own and bring it along. At the very least, you could brew your own coffee three days a week, and only buy it two mornings a week. With the cost of coffee rising, you really could save a bundle over time.
- Brown bag it: This is everyone’s frugal living tip — because it works. Not only can you save money on your lunch each day, but you can also live healthier. Healthier lunches prepared at home and brought to work will save you money on health care costs down the road.
- Carpool: Save money by spreading out the cost of gas with your co-workers, or with neighbors who work near your location. There are a number of web sites — and even a Facebook app — that can help you find people to share rides with. You’ll spend less in gas and maybe even make new friends.
- Walk more: Instead of driving everywhere, consider how you might walk more. I’ve stopped driving around my neighborhood, opting to walk or ride my bike. This saves money on gas, prevents idling, and improves my health. Even if you do drive, consider parking further away from your destination. A little more exercise — leading to better health — will help you save money in the long run.
- Work out at home: Make an effort to work out at home. The gas costs related to going to the gym only add to the cost of the membership. There are plenty of ways to get in good shape without going to the gym.
- Grow your own food: You don’t need a big garden. Even if you have a small space, you can grow tomatoes in a container, and keep an herb garden in your window. Of course, if you have the space for it a bigger garden can be great. Save money on food and eat healthier.
- Plan your meals: Part of the big costs associated with meal time is often because we don’t plan ahead. Make a menu, and plan out what you need. You can also plan your meals around what’s on sale, and what you have coupons for. Use the crock pot, or get a 30-minute meal cookbook to ensure that you have time to create healthy, low cost meals for your family.
- Cut the soda: Instead of drinking soda, switch to water. You’ll be drinking fewer calories, and water costs much less — especially out of the tap. You can invest a little in a water filter if you feel it necessary. Over time, the filter will more than pay for itself.
- Institute a waiting period before making a purchase: Before you buy something, institute a waiting period. You might be surprised to discover that what you “want” changes when you think about it for 10 to 20 days. This can be a good way to curb impulse spending.
- Stop smoking: This is listed last because it might take more than a month to kick this habit. However, the rewards in terms of saving money as well as improved health, might be well worth it.
What new habits do you want to develop in order to save money?