10 Frugal Resolutions for the New Year

10 Frugal Resolutions for the New Year

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10 Frugal Resolutions for the New Year

Save Yourself

With holiday shopping winding down and a new year ahead, now is the time to start getting your finances under control. Here are 10 simple resolutions that will help eliminate debt and boost savings in 2021.

Related: Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021

Stop Impulse Buying

Stop Impulse Buying

Psychology Today recommends sending out an "SOS" before making a potentially useless purchase: Step back, try to relax, and take a few deep breaths. Orient yourself toward your goals and values — think about what you're saving for and how it would feel to have a little extra cash. Finally, self-check — take note of how stressed you are and whether you're in touch with your values. If you're motivated by emotion, reconsider the purchase.

Related80 Things You Don't Need to Buy

Still Investing

Put $10 a Week Toward Retirement

This small contribution to an employer-sponsored or individual retirement plan adds up to $40 a month and roughly $480 a year toward your retirement. "Baby steps," says Nicole Mayer of RPG Life Transition Specialists, a holistic wealth-management firm based in the Chicago area. "Make one small goal. ... Even if you can only afford $5 a paycheck, start with something."

Related: 15 Smart Tips to Jump-Start Your Retirement Planning in the New Year

Take Concrete Steps

Consult Your Partner and Family

Getting on the same page and setting the same financial goals will go a long way toward helping to achieve those ends, Mayer says. Have a "state of the union" meeting, decide jointly on common goals, and discuss how to meet them.

Credit Card Sign Up

Pay Credit Card Bills in Full

Every. Single. Month. Avoid the endless cycle of acquiring debt, paying off a little, and acquiring more debt than you just retired. Either bring those balances down to zero every month or don't use the plastic card. Mayer recommends taking things a step further and paying only with cash. "Put your credit card and debit cards away," she says. "If you give yourself $100 a week for entertainment and eating out and you are working with cash only, you cannot spend more."

Related: 26 Tactics for Getting Out of Debt

Take Your Budget Seriously

Take Your Budget Seriously

One-third of Americans who try to set a budget become frustrated because they simply can't stick to it, according to research by Moven, a mobile banking app and debit card. Additionally, about a quarter of consumers feel overwhelmed and stressed by the constraints of a budget. In the new year, resolve to create one that is easy to figure out and follow.

Related: How to Set a Family Budget

Commit to Living Within Your Means

Commit to Living Within Your Means

Yes, this is the point of establishing a budget, but if you didn't earn it, don't spend it. Period. No exceptions. A good place to start: Eating out. Unless there's room in the budget, commit to eating at home.

Related: 100 Cheap & Easy Dinners

Take the ‘Uber Frugal Month’ Challenge
friends walking dog

Surround Yourself With Frugal People

We all know someone who decides on a whim to buy the whole bar a round, always wears the latest designer duds and sits for frequent hair blowouts, or drops $10 a day on gourmet coffee. You don't have to stop being friends, but it may do your wallet good to spend more time with people who are more cautious with their spending.

Related: Best Cheap Coffee Under $10

Build an Emergency Fund

Build an Emergency Fund

Remember that $10 a week you committed to saving for retirement? If you don't have any cash set aside in case of an emergency, those Hamiltons might be better put toward a rainy-day fund — at least until you have a sizable cushion. Some experts suggest $1,000; others say three to six months of expenses. The savings can make that next unexpected medical expense or car repair more of a prick than a sting.

Related: 12 Tips for Building an Emergency Fund

Estimate Your Tax Bill Now

Take Stock of Where Your Money Is Going

Take a deep breath. Now collect your credit card and bank statements from the past year. Study them, check for hidden fees, and note the categories where you went overboard. "Just be aware where you are spending money," Mayer says, "and that will make a difference in your choices."

Related: Don't Let These Hidden Fees Catch You By Surprise