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These New Year's Resolutions Can Save You $1,000 or More

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man with face mask and bike in the city
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Financial Resolve

Small, routine expenses and paying too much for major monthly bills can add up quickly over time. A few extra dollars misspent here and there can easily turn into a few thousand dollars each year and quickly derail the family budget. Resolve to adopt at least one of these attainable money-saving strategies, and your bank account will thank you.


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Create (and Stick to) a Budget
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Plan Meals

If you're throwing out spoiled food every week, you're basically tossing money into the garbage, not to mention creating food waste. Here's a simple fix: Look at grocery store circulars to see what's on sale, plan weekly meals ahead of time, make a grocery list, and stick to it. Trimming the weekly food budget by just $20 will net savings of $1,040 a year.


Related: Healthy Meal Prep Tips for a Busy Week

Shop Smarter
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Shop Smarter

Making certain purchases, especially major ones, at the right time of year can save big money. January is a good time to look for deals on furniture and many electronics. Get in the habit of shopping for clothes and shoes, as well as seasonal items such as a snowblower or lawn mower, at the end of the season, when they're on deep discount. For instance, a patio set regularly listed for $1,050 is going for the off-season clearance price of $775 at Walmart.


Related: Money-Saving Hacks for When You're Stuck at Home

Transfer Money Into Savings Regularly
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Transfer Money Into Savings Regularly

This might sound too easy, but it really works: Every week, move $10 to $20 into a savings account. Even better, set up an automated transfer. You likely won't miss the small dollar amounts, and at the end of the year you'll have squirreled away almost $1,000. This is a great way to build an emergency fund — money set aside in case of a major life change such as a job loss. If you already have a sizable cushion (experts recommend at least three to six months' worth of expenses), put the savings toward a rainy-fund, which can make an unexpected one-time expense such as a medical bill or car repair more of a prick than a sting.


Related: Websites That Can Save You Money

Increase Your Retirement Contribution
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Increase Your Retirement Contribution

Sign up for a small, but impactful, annual contribution increase of at least 2% to your employee 401(k) plan. For someone earning a salary of $50,000, that's an extra $1,000 a year — or more if your employer has a company match plan — that will go toward your golden years.


Related: How to Protect Yourself From Financial Ruin in Retirement

Swap a Vacation for a Staycation
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Shop Around for Better Insurance Rates

It's a smart idea to look around for better insurance rates every few years. Oftentimes, bundling auto, home, health, and life policies can lead to big savings too. There are plenty of online tools to get you started, and many companies offer free quotes.


Related: Tips to Keep You From Buying Too Much Insurance

Take Alternative Transportation
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Ditch the Car

With a monthly car payment, insurance, and trips to the gas station, the average car owner spends about $9,666 a year to drive 15,000 miles. Instead, ride a bike, take the bus, or join a carpool to get where you need to go. If you aren't ready to go completely car free, consider selling one vehicle if you live in a two-car household. While it's unrealistic to be without a car in many places, in some cities it's easy to be car free.


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

Consider Refinancing Your Home
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Consider Refinancing Your Home

Check in periodically with a mortgage broker to find out if refinancing your home makes financial sense. The amount you could save on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage varies depending on the terms and current interest rates, of course. Although rates are higher now, they're still relatively low. You could shave hundreds of dollars off your monthly payments.


Related: Refinancing Your Home: Should You or Shouldn't You?

Credit Card Sign Up
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Lower the Interest Paid on Your Credit Card

If you're carrying a balance on a credit card, make it a priority to make more than the minimum payment every month. One trick to shrink the balance faster: Start paying only with cash for things such as entertainment and eating out. Give yourself a set budget, and once those bills have left your wallet, you cannot spend more. Another smart move is to simply ask for a lower interest rate, especially if you've had the card for a long time. It's cheaper for a credit card company to keep an old customer happy than to woo a new one.


Related: Tactics for Getting Out of Debt