New Year, New You, New Budget

Happy 2017! I love the start of a new year; it’s a clean slate, you can tackle something that you have always wanted to but couldn’t find the time or you can challenge yourself to be financially responsible.

In November I challenged myself to “No Spend November”, it wasn’t the easiest of things but my bank account sure loved it. A few rules that I stuck by were, no eating out for lunch, no Starbucks, no Happy Hour dates, no manis or pedis, and I could only buy the essentials. Trust me, it was hard to get my lunch and breakfast together every morning but the results were worth it. I was spending almost $50/week on LUNCH! That’s not including the occasional reload of my Starbucks card to keep my caffeine addiction in check.

Now with the new year I wanted to share a few tips on how to increase your savings and cut your spending in little ways that put off a big reward.

Minimize Your Subscriptions 

Cut the Cable
Maybe you are like me and find yourself watching Netflix or Hulu more than you watch live TV. Cutting your cable can easily save you $70 if not more a month depending on your plan. If you want to keep your cable because you can’t live without your shows, call your cable provider to see if there are any deals for established customers, or if you reduce one of your cable boxes and replace it with AppleTV.

Cancel Your Magazine Subscriptions
Most of the magazines now are 85% ads. Use Pinterest or blogs for food or fashion inspiration.

Cancel Your Gym Membership
Right now most gyms are filled with the January Resolutioners so the gym is way too packed. Think about what you do while you are there, if it’s only cardio put your sneakers on and explore your neighborhood or city park. If you do a lot of free weights, head to your local Tuesday Morning or Marshalls to buy some free weights at a cheap price. Once you have a few pieces of equipment (free weights – light and heavy, and resistance band) check out Tone It Up on Youtube. There are a ton of FREE workouts that you can do in the comfort of you own home.

Cook More

I love to cook larger meals during the week so I can bring leftovers for lunch. My favorite resources are Pinterest and SkinnyTaste.com. Even though my kitchen is a mess afterwards, it’s nice to cook and hang out with my fiancee at the same time instead of siting on the couch watching TV. It gives us a chance to talk about our days and spend quality time.

If cooking every night isn’t your thing, Pinterest has a a lot of Freezer Meals. In an hour I was able to knock out almost 10 meals. (You can find some of my favorite in my Food board). When I was reading to make them, all I had to do was drop one in my crockpot and head to work.

Purge Your House

Every once in a while I purge my house and get rid of items that we haven’t used in forever or that we have upgraded. Anything that is still in good condition I try to sell on our neighborhood Facebook group, Craigslist or the Let Go app. If after a week, it doesn’t sell then I’ll just add it to our Goodwill donation and claim it on my taxes. If I do sell it, I’ll either treat myself to a manicure, a coffee, or I’ll put it into the piggy bank for a future vacation.

Smart Money Tips

If you have student loan debt, look into refinancing it for a lower rate which will significantly reduce your monthly budget. If you have student loan debt and are looking into refinancing, you can find more information here.

One thing that I’ve done recently is, a balance transfer on my credit card to get out of debt faster. This way I’m able to put more smart money towards it since it is interest free for 15 months! Before I completed a balance transfer, I was paying a hefty amount every month to get out of debt but the amount wasn’t reducing as much as it was increasing with each monthly statement. I felt like I was in a hole that I couldn’t get out of but now I’m seeing the light.

These are just some small steps to start your 2017! What are some items that you plan on cutting from your budget? Comment below, I would love to hear about them.

Thanks for stopping by!

Xo, Heather

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