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5 Tips for Saving More in 2014 - Wednesday, January 01, 2014
As we enter the season for making resolutions and commitments to improving our lives, keep your finances in perspective.  The New Year’s tradition of eating cabbage to ensure wealth is common, but having an action plan to save money will definitely impact your stash of cash! 

The key to saving money is not spending it.  Although this seems obvious, our intentions to save are often foiled when monthly expenses leave nothing "left over”.  As you make your fresh start in 2014, try some of these tips to make saving money happen for you. 

Set "SMART” financial goals:
SMART is an acronym for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.  Your financial goals are achievable if you follow this guideline.  Often we set vague goals like "I will save more money this year” but settting SMART goals will put a plan in place: "Starting this January, I will save $1,200 by January of 2015 by putting $100 every month (or $50 every paycheck) into my savings account and I will not touch it”. 

Skim off your paycheck:
This is a fantastic way to stash some cash!  With each deposit, especially payroll, set up an auto-transfer so that money is directly drafted into your savings account. This can be set up as a specific dollar amount or as a percentage of the deposit.

Treat saving like a bill:
Make saving money an active part of your budget.  Pay all your necessary expenses such as house, car, utilities  and your savings  before you start allocating money for "wants” such as entertainment, cable, treats, fast food, restaurants, and even groceries which often include extras like "junk food”.

Pay off debt:
Pay down debt as soon as possible to reduce the total amount of interest you pay; it lowers your Debt-To-Income (DTI) ratio which can improve your credit score, and it can free up money to pay down other debt or increase your savings.

Review current accounts for discounts:
Check for discounts on your car and home insurance, cell phone, cablevision and other accounts.  You may be paying more than necessary or the company may have promotions which would benefit you.  For instance, insurance agents often have discounts for reaching certain age criteria, having a good driving record, getting married or have more than one policy with them (multi-policy discount).  Also, check to see if you qualify for a better rate on your credit card and verify that you are maximizing the "employer match” on your retirement contributions so no free money if left on the table!

 
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