It wouldn’t be the holiday season without New Year’s resolutions! No matter where you are, the people around you are swearing they’ll get in shape, start a new hobby, travel to a new place, and more. We promise that things will be different this year…but 6 a.m. workouts are just so early, hobbies are expensive, and learning a new language is never easy! One thing’s for sure, though: the New Year is synonymous with the hope for change, and going into 2022, there are changes to come.
However, not all of these changes are positive. High inflation rates, potential tax code changes, and supply chain woes are all economic issues experts are forecasting for the new year. When coupled with the crisis of the past two years, these challenges prove that it’s now more important than ever for people to focus on building robust financial health.
So, how do you make sure your finances can make it through these changes unscathed? You find places to save! In fact, there are several measures you can take to boost your finances in 2022. Join us as we teach you the best tips for saving in the new year!
At the Store
1. Switch Up Where You Shop
Some people love shopping around for the best deals, but if you’re not one of them, you probably choose your stores based on convenience rather than cost-effectiveness.But, by being a bit more strategic about where you shop, you could save anywhere between 30% and 50%!
Take groceries, for example. You can buy your everyday basics and staples at stores like Walmart, Food Lion, or Aldi, where they are more likely to have a larger supply for a lower price. You also can’t go wrong with warehouse clubs such as BJ’s, Costco, or Sam’s Club for buying items in bulk as long as the savings make up for the membership fees. Instead of going to Whole Foods for your organic ingredients, try Trader Joe’s or a supermarket like Publix. If you’re really looking for a deal, check dollar stores like Dollar General or Dollar Tree for their weekly specials.
2. Buy Store Brands
If you don’t want to shake up where you shop or are looking for even more savings, try changing the items that you put in your cart. While this tip is mainly related to groceries, warehouse clubs like Costco and even stores like Target and Walmart also have store brand clothing and electronics that can save you up to 30% without using coupons. Speaking of coupons…
3. Take Advantage of Coupons and Cash-back Apps
Here’s a little secret: deals on the items you buy most are closer than you think. In fact, they can often be found in the palm of your hand! Most big-name stores have mobile apps that accompany them, and those apps tend to have a section dedicated to coupons or other discounts. Before you go shopping, scan the app for relevant coupons and make sure to have them ready to go when you reach the checkout counter. Additionally, cashback apps like Ibotta, RetailMeNot, and GetUpside allow you to save everywhere from the gas pump to the grocery store.
Are you a little less tech-savvy and a little more old-fashioned? Not to worry! Many stores still produce Sunday coupon circulars that you can take advantage of.
4. Know When to Splurge and When to Save
Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of hard and fast rules when it comes to buying the more expensive version of items. It all comes down to personal preference. However, it can be helpful to ask yourself three simple questions:
- What are you going to be using this for?
- How often will you use it?
- How long will you want to use it?
Suppose you’re in the market for a new laptop and you plan on using it primarily for social media and Google searches. In that case, you’ll be able to get by just fine with a base model laptop or even a used laptop. However, if you’ll be using it frequently to edit photos, games, or run more demanding programs, it may be wise to invest in a higher-end laptop model.
1. Replace Your Incandescent Light Bulbs
Did you know that your lightbulbs may be the reason your utilities are so high? If you’re using traditional incandescent light bulbs, you’re using more energy than you need to power your home. While halogen bulbs, diode bulbs, and compact fluorescent lights may cost a bit more, they use anywhere from 25% to 80% less electricity than their incandescent counterparts. They even last 3 to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs, meaning that you’ll save in the long run.
2. DIY Weatherize Your Home
While the term “weatherizing” seems highly technical and intimidating at first glance, it’s easy to do yourself! It only involves sealing the air leaks commonly found in your home’s windows, doors, and vents with caulk. There are some great tutorials online that will reduce your heating and cooling expenses in no time!
3. Don’t Forget Subscriptions and Memberships
Have you ever heard of selective attention psychology? According to this concept, our attention is limited, and we selectively focus on the things that are relevant to us at the time and ignore the rest. Therefore when you’re focused on paying your bills and saving money, you’ll likely be so focused that it’s easy to miss the unnecessary subscriptions! That’s why it’s essential to break out your credit card statements from the past year and go over them with a fine-tooth comb for charges that occur both monthly and annually.
Subscriptions and memberships that you’ve forgotten about, are not actively using, or can find alternatives to should be put on the chopping block. For instance, rather than paying a (potentially expensive) recurring gym membership, a few weights, a yoga mat, and some YouTube videos or an inexpensive fitness app can be all you need to stay fit. Once you’ve canceled your extraneous subscriptions, you can relocate those funds in your budget to things you are using—or you can put that money towards paying off debt!
4. Sell What You’re Not Using
Nothing says “new year, new me” quite like a good decluttering! Start 2022 by going through your garage, closets, basements, etc., and separate what you use from the toys, technology, and clothes that have been gathering dust. You can donate these items to Goodwill for a charitable tax deduction on this year’s taxes, or you can sell them on apps like Facebook Marketplace, eBay, Decluttr, or Poshmark. Less clutter in your home and more cash in your wallet—seems like a win-win!
At the Bank
1. Switch to a Better Credit Card
We’ve all been there: You’re minding your own business when a credit card ad teasing frequent flyer miles, cashback, 0% introductory interest rates, or points comes on. Even if you’re not in the market for a new card, the temptation of rewards can be like a siren’s call: alluring at first but bound to lead to destruction.
If your enticing rewards turn out to be dangerous, it may be time to switch your credit card. Make sure you do your research and are switching for the right reasons. Review any and all fine print closely for any possible fees or interest rate hikes. Also, consider switching to a card that doesn’t have a rewards program. Though this is less appealing at first glance, these cards tend to have lower annual interest rates than rewards cards.
2. Consolidate Your Debt
Here’s the thing about debt: the more you have, the harder it becomes to juggle it all. Even the most organized person is bound to let some things slip when things get hectic. So if you have multiple debts and you’re looking to boost your finances in 2022, you may want to consider taking out a personal loan and using it to pay off all your other debts. This method, known as debt consolidation, leaves you with just one monthly payment to focus on rather than several.
Debt consolidation has several benefits. First and foremost, having a single, affordable monthly payment not only makes your debt easier to manage but also makes it easier to fit into your budget. Next, nothing will slip through the cracks, as there is only one date you need to remember, meaning you’ll start to see your credit rise with each on-time payment. Lastly, consolidating debt can often save you on interest in the long run, especially if your previous debts all had high interest rates.
3. Find Unclaimed Funds
Money may not grow on trees, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find it in the most unexpected of places! Unclaimed funds are money that, while rightfully yours, never got to you. Sometimes this occurs because of a closed bank account that still had a balance or because you changed jobs without withdrawing your retirement funds. Organizations like the US Treasury, banks, and insurance companies all maintain databases of these unclaimed funds. These databases are available to the public, so if you think you may have unclaimed money, it can’t hurt to check! Visit the official government website at usa.gov/unclaimed-money to learn more.
Give a Boost To Your Finances in the New Year
Like with any New Year’s resolution, boosting your finances will take work. These tips aren’t a step-by-step rulebook guaranteed to jumpstart your finances, but they do offer an excellent launchpad for reaching new financial heights in 2022.
If you’re looking for more ways to boost your finances and tackle debt in 2022, look no further than Credit Direct! With a personal loan, you can consolidate high-interest credit card debt and enjoy one affordable monthly payment. Check your rate online in minutes with no effect to credit score.