Now that we are well into 2017 and the holidays are long behind us, it is time to start to build that bank account back up and start to save money more than ever. What better way to do that is to improve finances going forward, and you can start right now.
Get Tax Return Out of the Way
Whether you are going to owe or be lucky enough to take a refund this year, do not delay the inevitable and get your tax return done now. If you owe, waiting the additional few months that you have left to file and pay could mean that you do not have the available funds to make your tax payment, or if you have a return coming, you can start to put the extra money to good use as soon as possible.
Limit Going Out to Eat
This can be hard to overcome, but try going grocery shopping at least every week for the staples, and less often for pantry and freezer fillers. Going out to eat is quick, easy, and less cleanup, but it means a strain on your wallet with the high markup cost of having someone else prepare your food. Planning out breakfast, lunch, dinner at home, you will be surprised how long your food stock can last, and now much you will save by avoiding the restaurant.
Start Using Coupons
Coupons have been around forever, so this is nothing new, but now would be as good of time as any to start using them. You do not have to be one of those extreme coupon people where you are creating a stockpile and getting the bottom line zero, but using coupons that come in the mail, digital that you can add to your store rewards card, or sites such as Groupon, you will really see the savings add up.
Whether you are going to a retailer in person where you have a couple options, or online where you have endless number of competitors, it is always best to take the extra time and shop around for the best price. These days there is so much competition with pricing and quality, that even different brands could be the similar product you are looking for but at a fraction of the price.
Live Within Your Means
The biggest way to improve your finances this year is to stick to a budget and live within your means. If you have more money going out than coming in there is a problem, or if you are evening out at the end of the month but there is no contribution to savings. Do your best to stay within monthly expenses and allotted funds for food and gas, but to avoid temptation to splurge on unnecessary purchases. If there is an item you really want or a trip that you want to take, budget to save up for it and wait a few months so it will not be a strain on your bank account and debt added to a credit card.