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New Year’s money resolutions

February 24, 2012

Say goodbye to the colourful parades, parties and fireworks festivities. Now that the holiday season has come to an end, the start of a new year is a perfect time to get a better grip on your savings habits.
Fortunately, as far as New Year’s resolutions go, making the decision to save and spend wisely is a lot easier than shedding those few extra pounds. Here’s some motivation to reshape your money habits in 2012.

Stick to a budget
With holiday bills slowly making their way into your mailbox, now’s the time to reexamine your spending habits and make cuts where you can. Day-to-day living expenses, such as groceries, clothing and transportation, can significantly impact your debt load. Not to mention the high cost of entertainment.
Creating a household budget is an excellent way to get a handle on your expenses and better manage your costs. Within no time, you’ll discover where you’re spending your hard-earned dollars and places where you can scrimp and save.

Save a little money every month
You’ll be amazed by how much money you can accumulate simply by putting away a few extra dollars a month. A pre-authorized savings plan — where a little cash is automatically put aside every month – is an easy, habit-forming way to save. Before you know it, you’ll have a rainy day fund for unexpected household and family expenses.

Become a smarter shopper
You don’t need a degree in economics to make the most of your money the next time you go shopping. Here are a few simple tips:
  • Comparison shop. You’ll never know if an item is on sale elsewhere unless you hop around from store to store.
  • Buy for quality – not quantity. Spending a few extra dollars today could save you a whole bunch in the long run.
  • Scour your local newspaper for coupons and promotions.
  • Before you open your wallet, ask yourself: “Do I really need this?”

Use credit wisely

Using credit wisely can help you achieve your financial goals. However, credit abuses can negatively impact your ability to purchase a car or take out a mortgage. To establish healthy credit habits, always pay your credit card balance in full and on time every month. And avoid drawing cash on your credit cards. By following a few hard and fast rules, you’ll not only build a solid credit history but also avoid high interest charges.