By JOHN PEPIN
Journal Staff Writer
MARQUETTE - With the new year just around the corner, countless people will be making resolutions and many of those are expected to make resolutions to pay off debt or save money.
Some estimates suggest there has been a great increase since 2009 in the percentage of those making money-related new year's resolutions since 2009. One source suggested 43 percent of those crafting resolutions for 2011, will make them based on hopes of making financial improvements or gains.
For those wanting to save more money in the new year, the experts at the website "How to Save Money," offered a few tips.
These suggestions on their surface might seem like small gestures, but they can add up to large savings over time, which the experts agree is often how some of the best savings are realized.
"Saving money often isn't about making huge life changes," the website said. "For many people, the best money saving tips simply require a little sacrifice but add up over time."
Here are five money saving tips from the website experts that could be incorporated into your plans to make your new year's money resolutions successful:
- The first suggestions is to start your money saving quest by making a budget. If you don't know where all of your money is currently going, you won't be able to save it. Nothing can motivate someone to change their habits more than counting up how much they spend at vending machines each month. Spend
a couple of months recording your income and expenditures and you'll find the best areas that you can save money in.
- Avoid late fees, service charges and interest. If you are ever late paying bills, you need to find a way to pay them on time. Whether you are late because you are living paycheck-to-paycheck or you are just forgetful, the result is the same. You are spending money on fees that you could otherwise put into your savings account. These fees might seem small, but they add up and they are unnecessary. If you have credit cards, check how much interest you are paying each month. Although it is fine to own credit cards, you should pay off the amount in full to avoid paying a high price for their convenience.
- Use generic brands. When you go grocery shopping, don't just reach for your favorite brand of pasta sauce. Spend a couple of your grocery trips looking for the product with the cheapest price per unit. You can save several dollars a week by shopping more frugally. In many cases you'll find the store brand tastes just as good as the name brand. As long as you find a few generic products that you like you will be saving money every week.
- Evaluate your TV plan. Negotiate a better deal on cable television service or drop it completely. How much do you spend on cable television every month? Do you get that much enjoyment out of it? If you have more than one option for television service, see if you can switch to a new company for a better deal. If you can't, then try to negotiate with your current provider to see if they will help you cut your bill. Some people find that they can drop their cable television completely and watch their shows through Hulu, iTunes, or Netflix.
- Pay attention to energy. Bring down your electric or gas bill. Utility bills are often some of the highest and can seem impossible to reduce. Find out how you can insulate your home to make it easier to heat in the winter and cool in the summer. Although this might cost a little bit of money now, it will help you save money in the long run. You don't have to completely re-insulate your home, but there are probably small and affordable changes that you can make. Talk to your electric company to see if they have a program to help customers find ways to reduce their consumption. Do little things like wash your clothes in cold water and keep your fridge fully stocked to save energy.
For more suggestions on a wide range of money-saving tips, visit: www.howtosavemoney.com.
John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.