Here are 25 tips to save money this year

By SUSAN E. COSGROVE,

No matter where you are on your financial journey, you can still turn your financial situation around. Many New Year’s resolutions are made to improve and or change how one manages personal finances.

Sometimes all it takes for any positive change is that first step in the right direction to get things moving in your favor. The most difficult part is often just getting started.

Here are 25 money saving suggestions that can make a difference for you and your family. Some take just a few minutes, while others require a regular effort. But they are all simple to incorporate into your daily life.

1. Distinguish between needs and wants. Consider values, goals, and resources.

2. Get a handle on your spending habits — list all current income and expenses and decide where you can decrease spending.

3. Explore alternatives for  increasing income.

4. Know how much things cost, and then do comparison shopping.

5. Know when to use cash, check, or credit.

6. Track your spending. Beware of little expenses. Benjamin Franklin, American author, diplomat, inventor, physicist, and politician said, “A small leak will sink a great ship.”

7. Shop with a list, and don’t buy on impulse. If you see something you really want that you didn’t plan to buy, think about it overnight before making your decision to purchase.

8. Follow proven buying guidelines. Consider price per unit, and watch weights and measures. Check your receipts and count your change.

9. Pay promptly. Don’t build up interest charges for late payments.

10. Know how much money you have, and plan your spending.

11. Don’t spend tomorrow’s paycheck today.

12. Be sure the time is right for the best price. Often, it is not what you buy but when you buy it.

13.  Keep a running “shopping list” for everything (not just grocery items). It can help you stop impulse buying. Check for coupons for essential items.

14. Learn the principles for cutting family living costs. Learn, practice, and develop skills in the marketplace, in wisely using credit, in being thrifty, and in using financial institutions.

15. Substitute other resources for money. Learn to barter, share, switch, substitute, simplify, and conserve goods and services.

16. Establish a safe level of credit.

17. Set aside a realistic emergency fund equal to 3- to 6-months of take-home pay.

18. Don’t buy insurance you don’t need. If you have an adequate emergency fund (3- to 6- months of take-home pay), consider increasing deductibles. Also, take advantage of special rates for nonsmokers, good students, and multi-car households.

19. Shop for credit just as you shop for merchandise.

20. Consider the cost of credit as part of the cost of the item you are buying. Know the annual percentage rate as well as the cost of credit in dollars and cents.

21. Shop sales carefully. A seasonal sale may save 10 to 25 percent; a clearance sale may save 50 to 75 percent. Consider the actual savings in dollars and cents.

22. Remember, if you don’t need it, it is not a good buy at any price.

23. Avoid waste, and limit the use of disposable products such as paper towels, disposable plates, etc. Teach children not to waste food, household items, etc.

24. Recycle. It will save money and reduce landfill space.

25. Check with the Newton County Extension office for other money saving ideas or visit extension.msstate.edu.

For more information on making budgets, contact Susan Cosgrove, Financial Management Area Extension Agent, at 601-635-7011.