1. - Pay Off Debt - Stop using credit cards and focus on paying off debt. For those without self-discipline to stop using a credit card, it should be removed from the wallet. The credit card can also be cancelled, but not unless the balance is zero. If a credit card is canceled while there is still a balance, the issuer may raise the interest rate to the maximum allowable by law.
2. - Carry Cash - Remove credit cards from wallets, or even better, shred credit cards and ATM cards and use cash instead. Tally how much money is needed throughout the week to pay for typical cash-based purchases and keep only that amount on hand. This will make it less likely to spend hard-earned cash on something that is wanted, but not really needed.
3. - Quit Smoking - This is a "kill two birds with one stone" resolution. Smoking is unhealthy and it's expensive. In one example, if a pack of cigarettes cost $6 in an area, a pack-a-day smoker could save upwards of $2,190 in a year. Even a pack-a-week smoker could save more than $312 a year. Non-smokers can also save money on health insurance.
4. - Stop Eating Out - Yes, this one requires time to be able to cook enough meals to stay full every day. Cooking each day can be time-consuming, so instead, set aside 4-5 hours on a day-off to cook three or four large meals, enough to make seven servings for each day of the week. The food can be portioned into tupperware and placed in the fridge or freezer. If the food is something enjoyable, the person eating it isn't likely to get tired of eating it every day. A new set of meals can be planned each to keep things interesting. At the very least, people looking to save money can cook dinner 2-3 times a week and take leftovers to work. Make it a habit to never waste leftovers.
5. - Use Public Transportation - Using public transportation can save lots of money. Not only does it save on gas, but it will also prolong the life of the person's vehicle and any of the costs associated with maintaining it. For students, schools often also provide a free bus or train pass. Some businesses also have a free public transportation program in place for their employees.
6. - Trim the Fat - Cancel things that aren't needed. Cancel unused gym memberships because they can always be renewed later. Cancel magazine subscriptions if magazines are piling up in the corner. Many people also cancel or at least downgrade, cable or satellite subscriptions. TV lovers can also purchase a powerful over-the-air digital reception antenna for less than $100 and then never have to pay for TV again.
7. - Repair Credit - For those who have had problems in the past with making large purchases due to bad credit, for example a when buying a house or a car, this is a great resolution to get back on track. Credit reports can be ordered from Experian, TransUnion and Equifax using a free trial. The reports should then be analyzed to determine which items are damaging and then each item should be challenged. A credit record can be cleaned up in a matter of months with some dedication.
8. - Use Unexpected Income and Tax Returns Wisely - Instead of using tax returns and work bonuses on things that are wanted, use the money instead to pay off debt or place it in an emergency fund. The general rule of thumb is to divvy it up into thirds; use a third to pay off debt, place another third in savings or use it for an investment, and use the last third on something that's wanted.
For additional information on the news that is the subject of this release, visit the Pearson Financial Planning Library provided by The California Institute of Finance at http://www.callutheran.edu/
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