Still haven’t decided on a New Year’s resolution? How about making this the year — actually, the decade — you focus on your financial goals? Whether you want to pay off credit card or student loan debt, build up an emergency fund, or save money for a big purchase or retirement, these five tips will help you cash in on your resolution.
1. Learn How to Budget
We know budgeting isn’t the most fun concept, but bear with us. You can’t take control of your finances if you don’t know what they are! So, tally up your income, deduct your necessary expenses (rent/mortgage, utilities, car payments, groceries, etc.), and then section out the leftover amount for spending, saving, and paying down debt (if you have any). Once you’ve decided how much you’ll save each month, set up automatic transfers from your checking account to your savings account. If you don’t have anything left over after expenses, it may be time to make some adjustments, like refinancing your auto loan, switching up your cell phone plan, or even finding a cheaper place to live.
2. Stick to Your Shopping List
Whether you’re shopping for groceries, gifts, or goodies for yourself, plan what you’ll purchase in advance and stick to it! Even seemingly small impulse buys can cut into your savings goals. Save even more by checking to see if there are Ibotta offers for any of the items on your list and by using buyable gift cards at participating retailers for up to 10% instant cash back on your entire purchase. Shopping online? You can also save on online purchases by using the Ibotta mobile app.
3. Plan Ahead
If you know you’ll need to make a major purchase this year, try to time it with the annual sales calendar. As the weather changes, retailers need to make room for the new season’s products, meaning you can often save money by shopping at the end of the season (think Christmas decor in January or bathing suits in August). Need a new mattress? You’ll find the best deals around the summer holidays: Memorial Day, July 4, and Labor Day. And, of course, you can score savings on electronics and other hot gifts during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Regardless of when you shop, earn cash back by using the Ibotta mobile app.
4. Travel Light (on Your Wallet)
In general, we recommend avoiding credit cards with annual fees. But if you fly the same airline over and over, it could be worth it to open a card for that specific company. Using an airline credit card can give you perks like free baggage, priority boarding, free drinks or visits to the airport lounge, and even free flights! Increase your savings by booking flights, accommodations, and rental cars through the Ibotta mobile app, where you’ll earn cash back on a percentage of your purchase.
5. Cut Back on Eating Out
If you’re anything like us, a heaping portion of your budget goes toward eating at restaurants. But if you’re serious about saving, this is one of the most effective places to cut back. Cooking at home is almost always less expensive — and usually a lot healthier, too. Save even more by adding grocery offers in the Ibotta mobile app before you shop and then uploading your receipt for cash back.
Bonus Tip: The easiest way to save money this year is to earn more of it! Maybe this is the year you negotiate a raise, ask for that promotion, or apply for a new job.