New Year’s Resolutions can be tricky. The start of a new year is a great time to make changes and start taking steps to better your life. Resolutions are as varied as the people who make them, from reading more to being more health conscious or even spending more time with friends and family. Another common resolution is to save money or implement budget friendly habits. If that’s one of your resolutions, first you should winterize your apartment if you haven’t already, then read on for some more simple ways to save money!
Plan Ahead Before Going to the Grocery
If you’re new to lists and planning don’t feel pressured into going full force into meal prep, but it’s always good to go to the grocery with some sort of plan. Even if you’re not comfortable with planning every detail of meals, have an idea of what you want to make throughout the week and make a list then stick to it as much as possible. It’s also a good idea to check and see what’s on sale that week and plan around that. While impulse buys are okay every now and then, they do add up over time, not to mention the food waste that comes from not using produce before it goes bad.
Check Out Free Local Events
DuPage County has tons of events going on year-round, many of which are either free or budget-friendly. Do a quick online search or go to a resource like Trip Advisor to get ideas of things to do. You should also check out monthly festivals, farmer’s markets, and public parks or other public areas that might host events put on by the city. Your apartment community most likely puts on regular events as well, so keep an eye on the Facebook page or the resident portal for any announcements. Even if nothing is officially scheduled, the clubhouse is a great place to invite neighbors to watch the Bears, Bulls, or Cubs depending on the season.
This is probably a no-brainer, but make sure to take a look at the price tag while you’re out shopping. Little purchases can add up quickly, and you want to avoid a sticker shock at the checkout. Keep an eye on any sales going on, and plan meals around produce that’s in season. Also, consider the generic store brand rather than the more expensive items. Once you’re more aware of product prices it’ll be a lot easier to plan a grocery list that sticks to a budget, and it’ll help you make a budget in the first place when you have a better idea of your weekly and monthly costs.
Go Out Less
Another obvious way to save money is to go out less. Your morning coffee or fast food lunch may not seem expensive, but a $5 coffee every weekday adds up to $100 each month, or $1200 every year. Invest in a personal coffee maker, or stop by your apartment community’s clubhouse for a free cup of coffee on your way to work. Take an extra hour or two on Sunday to prep lunches that are easy to grab and go instead of ordering delivery or going out for lunch every day. With just a little bit of effort on your part you’ll be saving tons of money before you know it!