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15 Realistic New Year’s resolutions that will save you money

By Staff Writer
Come the New Year many people make resolutions to keep fit and save money. But they often come up with grandiose, well intentioned plans that they can never stick to and promises to improve finances and health fall flat by February or March and sometimes even sooner.
This year, Justmoney has come up with realistic resolutions that you can stick to. Commit to these 15 tasks and save money for 2015:
1.Make a budget and stick to it. Avoid over spending. By living within your means, you are able to save money, as well as reduce the likelihood of landing in debt.
2.Save more. By placing more money into a savings account each month, you are ensuring a better financial future, and have access to extra funds in the case of an emergency. Create a seperate emergency fund for all those unforeseen costs that arise and tap into that to fix your broken down car, plumbing disaster or minor home fixes so that you don't touch your savings which can be used to pay for essentials such as school fees.
3.Don't go out (as much): Instead of going out with friends and family and spending money, rather find ways of entertaining that are free or things that you can do at home. Plan games nights at home, or dinner evenings where everyone contributes to the evening.
4.Cut back on alcohol and cigarettes. Every year these 'sins' get taxed more. This year will certainly be no different. Cut out or back on these vices and save. You will also be doing your body a great favour by cutting out or reducing these toxins in your life.
5.Reduce spending on luxury items. If a product or item is not a necessity reconsider before purchasing it. Also ask yourself this: 'Have I checked to see if it's cheaper elsewhere'. If the answer is no to this question then don't proceed with it to the till point.
6.Create shopping lists. By drawing up a list of the necessary grocery items you need for the week, you avoid purchasing items that will go to waste, and will only buy the essentials, thereby reducing your grocery bill.
7.Reduce debt. Avoid using credit cards and store cards as they can charge you as much as 22.65% in interest. Commit to paying off your debts. Pay the higher interest bearing loans first by paying more toward them each month. In the long term this will save a lot of money.
8. Get out of unnecessary contracts. By signing on with a company under contract, you are bound to that company for the period of the contract, whether or not you make use of the service they are providing you. Save money by cancelling contracts, e.g. gym and cellular contracts especially if you don't make use of them.
9.Change banks. Look at your bank charges and shop around to see if you are paying the best rates. Ask your bank what cheaper account options they have and find out what a competitor is willing to offer you. You could save hundreds of rands every month by switching your current, savings and credit card accounts to a bank that will charge you less in fees.
10.Check your direct debits and other recurring payments: Are you still using these services that you pay for every month? If not then cancel them! Doing an audit of all your commitments may even reveal some fraudulent activity so have a good glean of your finances.
11.Buy your Christmas gifts now. Yes you heard right. The January sales are a perfect time to buy Christmas gifts. Wrapping, decorations and other goodies are on sale. It will mean you cut out the pre-Christmas rush and reduce the expense of it all.
12.Cancel your rewards membership or make use of them properly. Banks do offer rewards schemes as do many other retail stores. But are you taking advantage of everything these schemes have to offer? If not, get out of it now, as the amount of money you are paying to be a member every month could cancel out the amount of money you save anyway.
13.Be tax savvy: When tax season opens try and file your tax return as early as possible. This will save you the last minute rush and possibly even paying accountants to do the job for you. Also remember that tax free savings accounts are going to be introduced this year – saving you even more money.
14.Sort out your will: This may not save you money but it could help your loved ones save money. Also intestate laws, which apply if you don't leave a will, may not take your wishes into consideration. It will save your family a lot of heart ache and financial hassle if you make a will today.
15. Sell things you don't need: If your home is cluttered or littered with things that you don't use anymore it's time to get rid of them. What's one man's junk is another's treasure so who knows you may get some money for that Christmas reindeer jumper that you hate and want to turf out. Sell unwanted items (especially those unwanted Christmas gifts) and buy things you really want or even better stick the money in a savings account.

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