It’s hard to believe it, but a new year is upon us. At this time of year we start to hear about New Year’s Resolutions and ways to save money or cut back. You’ve heard it all before – start budgeting, cut back on expenses, blah blah blah. Well, today, I’d like to look at some of the more uncommon ways to start saving money this year that’ll hopefully help get your creative juices flowing.
Take Advantage of Employer Benefits
One of the more common things many people overlook is all the benefits they get from their employer. A paycheck is nice and so is paid vacation, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Are you saving for retirement? If not, then check out your employer’s 401(k) plan. Sure it helps you in the long run, but it also helps lower your tax liability.
Don’t overlook a less well known way to save money via your employer – the Wellness plan. Many employers are now offering wellness plans that span from offering incentives for healthy living habits, gym subsidies, and free checkups. Just ask your HR department and if they don’t offer it, then there is no harm in asking them to start.
How is treating yourself an uncommon way to save money, you ask? Simple – it helps you stay motivated to reach a certain goal. I like to set a goal at the beginning of the year of something I want to reach. Sometimes I even use a picture of that thing or place to motivate me. That little trick helps me stay on task when it comes to saving money positively spills into other areas of my life as well.
Don’t Go to the Grocery Store
Ok, I’m not saying you should go hungry. Instead, get yourself out of the mindset of going to the grocery store once a week. Do a little work and see how long it takes you to clear your refrigerator and pantry of most items and set up your shopping schedule around that. Not only will that help your grocery budget, but you’ll also likely notice just how much food you may be wasting.
Look for Ways to DIY
DIY may not be one of the most uncommon ways to save money, but it’s one that many overlook. The beauty of DIY is that it really can be as broad or as narrow as you want. In my instance, I cut my own hair as well as our sons hair. You can buy a pair of clippers at the store for maybe $20 or $25 and it pays for itself after one cut. Another option is to try a local beauty school. My wife went from paying $50+ for a haircut to $10 and she gets the same quality. If frugality isn’t necessarily your thing, you can always do things like:
- Change your own oil
- Brew your own beer
- Repair your own things
Of course, these will all depend on your skill level and can save various amounts of money, but they all add up over time and you might also teach yourself something new.
What are some other uncommon ways to save money? What will you be doing to save money this year?
Image by 401 (k)2012/ Flickr
10 thoughts on “4 Uncommon Ways to Start Saving Money this Year”
I try to make it two weeks before going to the grocery store. Mostly because going to trader joes in union square is a total nightmare. I usually only make it ten days though.
I hear you on the Trader Joes Stefanie! It seems like ours is a mad house whenever we go to it. That said, going once every ten days is pretty darn good.
We’re doing a grocery fast this week and trying to use up everything in the house before we go shopping again. It’s something we try to do every so often, and it’s always interesting. Skipping a week’s grocery run is usually a nice windfall at the end of the month.
Good for you Adam! We’ve seen the same thing with our grocery shopping and has allowed us to shift some spending to other areas in order to be more efficient with our budget.
I’ve been a big proponent of taking advantage of employee benefits. My old company offered a great one through their Wellness programs: attend seminars for $50, have a gym membership for $250 reimbursement, get flu shots, screenings, smoking cessation programs that all pay you to break bad habits.
I championed the financial literacy workshops that focused on reducing financial stress that employees would bring into work.
That awesome Jason! There are many benefits that a medium to larger employer will offer. If they don’t offer something, then it never hurts to ask.
Nice ideas. I don’t take advantaged of our HSA at work, and figure my wife and I pay at least $500/year here. May as well do this pre-tax, and in case of emergency we could pay medical bills w/ pretax money.
Doing it pre-tax is definitely the way to go Chuck. It may only seem like $500, but every little bit helps – especially if it’s in your pocket and not with the IRS. 😉
This month, we’re doing the “don’t go to the grocery store” savings method, and dining out of our freezer and cupboards. I’m amazed with all the perfectly good, but forgotten-about, food that’s in there! Everyone else is doing some sort of health cleanse, and we’re doing a cabinet cleanse 😉
Love these tips. I love saving money. I will do anything to save money – I will walk 10 blocks in the rain to find my bank branch and avoid paying an ATM fee from another bank.
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