Has January been a time of new beginnings and exciting possibilities for you this year? Or has the month January been stressful as the holiday credit card bills arrive bearing the bad news of how much you really spent on christmas?
Even if you didn't overspend at Christmas, you may still feel the need to tighten your belt as you head into the New Year. Maybe unexpected expenses caught you off guard last year. Or maybe your savings account experienced more withdrawals than deposits.
Whatever the case may be, if your pocketbook or wallet is feeling empty this month, why not make a commitment to do something about it? Now that Christmas is over, it's time to give yourself a gift: the gift of thrift. Here are five ways to jumpstart your frugality this week:
1. Write it down. – For at least one week, record every single dollar you spend. To make this easier, keep a little notebook in your purse or coat pocket so you can quickly jot things down before you forget. This will help you see exactly where your money is going and where you can cut back.
2. Cut out extras. – Once you see where your money goes, try to eliminate one or two of the non-essentials such as that cappuccino on the way to work or those extra goodies at the grocery store. In looking over your expenditures, you may be surprised at how much those little splurges add up.
3. Put off spending. – For items that are necessary, challenge yourself to delay spending as long as you can. Make it a game to see how long you can put off your next shopping trip by using up what you already have in your pantry. Strategically combine errands into one trip to make that tank of gas last a few days longer.
4. Lighten up. – In addition to saving money, look for ways to make extra money, too. Because so many new items find their way into our homes in December, January is a great time to declutter. Pad your bank account by selling your extra stuff through a classified ad, at a consignment store or through an online auction like eBay.
5. Enjoy free fun. – Cutting corners doesn't mean that you have to cut out all the fun! Do something fun this week that doesn't cost you a dime such as curling up with a good library book or visiting a free exhibit with someone you love.