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New Year, New Plan

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh

It's a new year and resolutions abound. Why not try some simple resolutions that will affect our spending and saving?

Days Gone By

Resolutions are pointless if you don't make an effort to keep them. Most Americans break their resolutions before the end of January. Take some time to remember last year's resolutions. Did you accomplish them? If not, what was the fault in the resolution? If your resolution was to pay off your credit card bill of $5,000 and you didn't have a strong plan to put that money aside, the goal was never going to be attained whether it was $5 or $5,000.


Cutting Back

  • One responsible resolution is to cut back on electric consumption. Not only will it lower your monthly bills, but it will help those around you. Light pollution, as well as other problems associated with electric consumption, is a growing concern. Do we really need the spotlight illuminating the exterior of the house? Won't a simple security light on a motion sensor work just as well? Make a resolution to eliminate excess electric use by turning out unneeded lights and clicking off appliances when they're not being used. Make a list of these key items and set a goal to lower the electric bill by $5 a month.

  • Can you cut back on TV? Agree to cancel the higher tort cable package and live without the NFL network. It will lower your bill and give you more time for other tasks. After a few weeks you won't even know it's gone.

  • Make a resolution to have family meals at the dinner table more often. This is an important factor in family relations, and it will save on eating out several times a week. Involve everyone in creating the weekly menu, and allow each person to be in charge of cooking for the evening. It gives a sense of ownership to the meal, a time to be together as a family, and a few extra dollars in the budget.

Focus Areas

  • Create a plan to cut back $10 a week on groceries. Purchase in rotation to align with the stores' sales, only buy with coupons, or try bulk. Research the systems of others and try a few for yourself until you decide which works best. Keep in mind the ultimate goal as you alter your shopping habits.

  • Cut down on fuel costs and pollution by organizing a carpool. This can help with the goal of reducing consumption and being on time! With other people relying on you to get them to work, you'll be more motivated to leave the snooze button alone and jump in the carpool lane.

  • Make your goal a realization of your spending. Record all expenses and purchases for a month and evaluate what was necessary and what was frivolous. Each month alter something in your budget. By the end of the year you will have made twelve changes. Although your budget may not be perfect, you will be satisfied to know that you worked to eliminate a dozen problems!

Remain Grounded

Whatever resolutions you make, make them reasonable. Satisfaction is the ultimate goal, and while a perfect budget, weight, or personal life would be great, they're all unreasonable. Knowing that you tried something is a great satisfaction; there is nothing wrong with failure as long as you tried. Maybe grocery rotation doesn't work for you - at least you tried. That in itself is a resolution - to try something new.

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