It's never too late to turn over a new leaf and start good saving habits. Get inspired with Wise Bread's long list of saving changes for a healthier bank account in 2013.
Making changes to your savings plan is about so much more than deciding where to save your money and how much to put away. You can save money by not spending it (yet not losing out or making undue sacrifices), by spending wisely, by becoming more aware of where your money goes, and even by making more money.
Here are 37 ways you can make positive changes and save money — today.
Changing the Mechanics of Saving
1. Apply your latest raise entirely to your savings. You (hopefully!) managed to get by before you got the raise, so take the after-tax increase in your pay and sock it away.
2. Join company savings plans. Some allow you to save money from your gross pay before tax is deducted (allowing you to effectively save more money without feeling the pinch), and other company plans offer matching benefits. Always save the maximum amount you can that is subject to matching grants; it's like free money.
3. Review your asset allocation plan to ensure your savings are all going to the places you need — and want — them to go.
4. Set up an automatic savings plan.
5. Reevaluate your savings objectives (Why are you saving? When will you need the money?) to ensure you're on track to reach your goals. Tweak as necessary.
6. If you have a variable or unpredictable income, employ a savings technique that works with it.
Read on for more.
7. Move excess funds in your bank account to a high-interest savings account. This earns your money a more respectable amount of interest and also helps with discipline against impulsive withdrawals or debit card spending.
Save Money Around the House
8. Reduce your power bills.
9. Rekindle the art of reusing stuff.
10. Conserve water.
11. Use your oven efficiently.
12. Employ money-saving household cleaning hacks.
14. Saving money by making more (with creative recycling techniques, for example).
15. Renegotiate your bills and services, including phone, cable, internet, and your credit card interest rates.
16. Make a disposable razor last six months.
Saving Money on Vacation
17. Buy souvenirs strategically.
18. Use frequent flyer miles to save money on flying for your next vacation.
19. Save money by getting the best deal on airfare — even after you buy your ticket.
20. Get free upgrades and travel in style.
21. Don't waste money on passport pictures.
Credit and Debt Savings
22. Transfer high-interest debt (like credit cards) to lower interest debt (like a line of credit). Make sure you keep up the same payments to clear up the debt faster.
23. Freeze your credit cards — literally.
24. Pay down your consumer debts. If you've accumulated high-interest debt and can't pay it all off but you are still saving money, consider temporarily reducing the money you're saving in favor of paying off the debts (which are surely at a higher interest rate than your savings are). But don't forget to…
25. Increase your savings amounts once you've paid down debts. (You're used to living without the money anyway…save the difference).
27. If you're paying for credit card insurance, don't.
Saving While Shopping
28. Reconsider that impulse purchase.
29. Use some savvy shopping strategies at the supermarket.
30. Ask for a discount. No really, just ask.
31. Before you replace that broken item with a new one, make sure it's not covered under some sort of warranty, even if you don't have the warranty slip. (See above about simply asking).
Savings for Family and Life
32. Start a gift calendar so happy occasions don't turn into sad, unexpected spending sprees.
33. Start tracking your expenses to determine how (or if) you could save more money.
34. Consider selling your car and investing in an auto share program.
35. Involve the kids in your savings plans and budgeting. With them in the know, you can all work together to stay on track and save money.
36. Find a financial planner who can knowledgeably help you navigate your savings, debt management, insurance, tax planning, and estate planning. If you have a financial planner but aren't sure they're up to snuff…
37. Consider firing your financial planner.
Check out these smart Wise Bread stories: