New Year’s offers a wonderful opportunity to change your life for the better and move towards productive new habits. Goals can include health, personal development and giving back to your community. Some even offer the opportunity to save money while you improve yourself. Here’s our top five ways to save bucks while improving your life.
Give up smoking
Smoking is a hard habit to break, but one of the most financially rewarding if you do. The cost of a packet of cigarettes varies wildly across the country depending on taxation: from $10.06 (New York) to $4.50 (Missouri) according to a 2010 survey by Orzechowski and Walker, an Arlington, Virginia, consulting firm. With the average pack costing $5.95, giving up could save about $180 a month or more than $2,100 annually. The average household income is the US is $46,326, a twentieth of which you may be wasting on cigarettes.
Giving up cigarettes will improve your health, reducing health insurance premiums. Non-smokers pay 14 per cent less for health insurance, according to eHealthInsurance.com, adding further savings of $540 annually for women and $252 annually for men.
Plan your shopping to reduce waste
A family of four in America can waste up $1,940 worth of food every year including up to 16 gallons of milk, 12 dozen eggs and 240lbs of produce because they haven’t planned their weekly shopping properly. To start, take an audit of what food you actually eat for two to three weeks. Armed with this knowledge, plan your shopping to consider a whole week’s worth of meals and reduce wastage. Scheduling a weekly day to eat leftovers will encourage creative cooking and cut waste down even further. This benefits not only your wallet, but also the environment by saving energy costs in the production and transport of your food.
Clear out clutter and streamline your life
Declutter your home by recycling your old gadgets with musicMagpie. They will recycle your old technology for free and make cash offers for the newer stuff, which may be worth more than you imagine.
Eat healthy and save money
You might think that healthy eating is expensive, but often the opposite is true. Comparing empty calories in candy and soda to those in fresh vegetables and produce reveals a different story. Healthy eating means cooking more for yourself at home and sourcing your own food from local providers. If you eat food that’s in season and utilize farmers markets you can eat nutritious healthy food for a steal. By shopping smartly and buying and cooking in bulk you can revolutionize how you eat and save money.
Start using coupons
Coupons have undergone a renaissance recently, providing savvy shoppers the means to cut a chunk of their weekly bills. Coupons are available in store publications, specialist magazines and online.
Get out of debt
As you start to save money, your priority should be to get out of debt. If you have credit card debt, then transfer to a card with a lower interest rate and aim to reduce the principal debt rapidly. For example, by transferring a $2,000 balance from an 18 per cent card to an 8.25 per cent card and then paying off your balance at a rate of $50 a month, you could save $730.