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2020 has been a hard year for many and knowing how to save money in the coming year is important.
If you need to put away a little extra, these are some great ways to start.
Learn How to Cook
It’s easy to get delivery for every meal, but the cost of take-out adds up quickly.
If you have spare time at home, try mastering a few of your favorite meals. Look up easy recipes online and save the ones you like. Even having a handful of go-to meals in your arsenal can make figuring out what to cook much easier.
You may have to stock up on a few kitchen essentials to begin with, but you’ll save money in the long run.
Get Picky About Groceries
Even if you learn how to cook, try to be careful about what you buy in store. Grocery prices are rising. You’re paying about 13% more than you did in January to stock up on your staples.
Meat and eggs in particular have been getting more expensive. Lowering the amount of animal protein in your diet even a little could save you money.
Also, try couponing. Varo has a helpful list of coupon apps to help you get started.
Additionally, looking for sales listed in the ads found in your local paper or when you first enter the store. Buying what’s on sale can help lower your overall grocery bill.
Start following a budget
Now that fewer activities are open, you may be buying stuff less frequently already. It might be easier for you to start tracking your spending, making this a perfect time to get on your budgeting game.
Knowing how much money you have coming in and going out can help you see the bigger picture of your spending and adjust as needed.
It’s good to start simple. Save an Excel document or jot down your monthly income and expenses in a notebook. Check out our full budgeting breakdown—with apps that can help—for more detail.
Host virtual game nights with friends
It’s more of a challenge for people to get together anymore, and nights out tends to cost a lot anyway. Thinking of alternative solutions can help you save your cash, like by hosting a game night over video.
Look for an online game that your friends can download or a board game that you all have. Think classics like Monopoly, Pictionary, or Yahtzee, or try your hand at one of the newer players.
It’s a free night of reconnecting with the people you love.
Cut back on alcohol
These costs add up when you’re buying a lot of it. Consider paring back how much you drink each week and put that money in your savings account instead.
Or you could always start making your own beer.
Get rid of extra subscription services
Scour your bank statement for anything that charges you automatically and make sure it’s something you still want.
Think about magazines you never get around to reading (The New Yorker, anyone?), gyms you aren’t going to, or free trials that ended and are now costing you. To replace the gym, you could always try free online or outdoor workouts.
Practice mindful online shopping
Everyone’s shopping online these days, but it can be easy to overspend. Try to avoid opening those tabs when you’re feeling anxious or upset.
This habit can make you buy stuff you think will make you feel better rather than stuff you need. Instead, keep a running list of needs and wants. Save up for the wants rather than buying them on a whim.
Creating money-saving habits for this year—and next
Saving money doesn’t have to fill you with dread. Instead, start with a small goal and implement it in your life. For example, you could plan to use coupons and sales on every grocery trip this month.
When that feels normal, move on to the next target.
There are countless ways to spend less in 2021, so we hope our list gives you inspiration to start.
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