The New Year is a great time to set goals and start fresh. So, if you’re not the best at saving money, or cash always seems to be tight, we have nine tips to help you save more in the New Year.

1. Do a Checking Account Review

Do you have a checking account at another bank or credit union? Are you paying a maintenance fee each month? Does it feel like you have to jump through hoops for your financial institution to honor your “free checking” account? If so, take some time to review your checking account to make sure it works in your favor. Money FCU’s checking account has no monthly fees, no minimum balance or transaction requirements – it’s an easy way to simplify your life.

2. Save More with Automation

There are many tools to help you automate your savings, including direct deposit, payroll deduction, and automatic transfers. With payroll deduction and automatic transfers, you can set up a specific amount to be transferred into your savings account on payday, or on a specific date each month. Eventually, you’ll forget the transfer is even occurring, but your savings will continue to grow!

3. Consolidate Debt

Debt consolidation allows you to transfer high-interest credit card balances or personal loans into a single, manageable monthly payment. Plus, personal loans typically provide a lower rate than credit cards. Also, you have set payments and a clear end-date with personal loans. This helps you pay off the balance quicker versus making minimum payments on a credit card.

4. Set Up Autopay for Bills & Loans

Never miss a payment by selecting an auto-pay option for your recurring bills and loans. In addition to avoiding possible late fees, you’ll help your credit score! On-time payments influence your credit score the most. Money FCU even offers a discount for auto-pay. We take 0.25% off your interest rate on most loans (some loans do not qualify for this discount.)

5. Stop Cash Drains

Big expenses aren’t always what ruin your saving efforts. Smaller expenses can really add up after a while and create a significant cash drain. To put a stop to spending and boost your savings, you can:

  • Investigate your financial accounts for less noticeable fees, like ATM use, account maintenance, or having a low balance. If you’re a Money FCU member, you can find free ATMs in our app or on the website.
  • Do some comparison-shopping for the lowest possible rates on car or home insurance, mobile phone plans, or internet. Additionally, be sure you’re getting any discounts you’re entitled to receive. Look for military, teacher, police/fire, student discounts, or any others you might be eligible for.
  • Explore low-cost and free entertainment choices like beaches, parks, local concerts, and hiking trails.
  • Review your account for recurring charges or streaming services you may not use anymore, or forgot about. $5 here or there can really add up.

6. Refinance Your Vehicle Loan

A quick and simple way to save more each month is to refinance your auto loan to the credit union. Our team will evaluate your loan, and determine if we can lower your monthly payments or save you additional interest over the life of your loan. This is a smart idea if your credit has improved since you got the loan. Plus, it’s totally free to do a refinance quote. You are not obligated to take the loan if it doesn’t make sense. You just need the payoff amount, your current interest rate, and how many payments you have left to get a quote. Request one from our auto loans page.

7. Create a Budget

A budget is the ultimate tool for helping you eliminate debt faster and save more money. Budgeting will help you get your finances organized so you have money left over every month. It might seem annoying, but creating a budget and sticking with it doesn’t have to be complicated. There are mobile apps that do most of the leg work and help you track your spending each month. If you need help creating a budget, or finding where you can save money, we have free financial coaches who can help!

8. Make Extra Money

If cutting back on your expenses isn’t quite doing the trick, you may need to explore other options to save more money. For example, you can:

  • Sell unwanted items at a yard sale or online. Sites like eBay, Poshmark, Mercari, and Facebook Marketplace, make it easy to sell online.
  • Take on a part-time job that works with your schedule. Jobs like Door Dash and Grubhub allow you to set your own work hours.
  • Ask for extra hours at work or see if a raise is possible.
  • Turn your skills or hobbies into dollars. You can make a quick website that doesn’t cost a lot. Then, start with your friends and family. Word of mouth is the best marketing!

Read our recent blog about side hustles for more ideas on how to make extra cash!

If you’re able to set up additional income streams, it’s important that you put this money towards your savings. One common mistake of a pay raise at your work is “lifestyle inflation.” This occurs when you spend more as a result of making more. Avoid this situation by having a plan for that new income already in place. You need to act like it doesn’t exist in order to save it!

9. Pay Yourself First

Lastly, commit to paying yourself first each month. What does that mean? It means making a deposit into your savings account every month, just like you would pay a bill. Figure out how much you can spare after your necessary bills are paid, then set up an automatic transfer for that amount into your savings.

This does require a little math to figure out how much disposable income you have (that’s money leftover after all your bills are paid.) It’s worth it though! Take your monthly net income (how much you bring home after taxes), then subtract your monthly bills (car payment, rent, credit card payments, gas, insurance, utilities, etc.) What’s leftover is your disposable income. You might be surprised at how much, or how little, you have left. If you can spare even $25 out of that, it’s somewhere to start!

We’re Here to Help!

Figuring out how to save more money each month doesn’t have to be complicated. It simply requires planning and a little self-discipline. However, the advantages start kicking in fast and increase over time. With a healthy cushion in your account, you’ll be protected in case of an emergency or unexpected expenses.

To learn more about the saving options available through the credit union or set up automated savings tools, such as direct deposit, call, chat, or text us! We’re here M-F 9am-4pm ET. (315) 671-4000.

Each individual’s financial situation is unique and readers are encouraged to contact the Credit Union when seeking financial advice on the products and services discussed. This article is for educational purposes only; the authors assume no legal responsibility for the completeness or accuracy of the contents.