It’s 2014, the year for you to spend less money. Everyone starts the New Year with grand dreams of saving, getting out of debt, and making more money. But it’s easier said than done. With the end of January around the corner, New Year’s resolutions are starting to lose their steam. But you can maintain your resolution if you try.  Here are some ways to make 2014 the year you save:

Create a budget

The first thing you should do is set a budget for yourself. People often don’t realize how much money is going into their daily Starbucks run or ordering takeout. So, make a list of your monthly expenses (things you actually NEED to pay for: bills, rent, food) and your extra expenditures. Decide what’s necessary and what’s not. Your expenses are necessary, but you can then budget around your extra spending. Set aside some money for entertainment (restaurants, movies, shopping, etc..) and other projected expenses (birthday presents, family reunions).  It is up to you how much you decide to use on this extra spending, but the income you have left over is what you can save.

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Modella

Find some everyday ways to save.

Even by just creating a budget, you are still going to spend money. So, cut the costs where you can. Stop dining out all the time and go to the grocery store. Even though you may not be the best chef or may not have the most lavish dinners, you can save a lot of money by eating in. Furthermore, use coupons when you shop. Most grocery stores have deals and coupons, so you can get the items you need at a discounted price. Also, start using a bike or public transportation when you can. Cars cost a lot of money, with high gas prices, tune ups, etc.., so try something that’s inexpensive. Bikes are a great way to get places without using money, and they even provide you with the exercise you might need.  Public transportation can also be cheaper than driving.

Use the right credit cards to save money.

There are many ways that credit cards can help you save. For one, take advantage of sign up bonuses. Many credit card issuers offer rewards and introductory promotions that can save you a lot of money. Invest in the right cash back and rewards credit card for you. For example, if you have a large family and buy a lot of groceries, you might want to check out a card that saves you a lot on every dollar you spend on groceries. In addition, if you have a lot of high interest debt, look into a 0% interest credit card that has no balance transfer fees. By consolidating all your debt onto one card, you can move your debt from a high- interest card to a low-interest card and end up saving a lot of money.

Don’t give up on your New Year’s resolution just yet. By following these tips, you can easily save money and stay financially smart in 2014.

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