The new year is a time of change and refreshment for many people. Setting resolutions for self-improvement is a common practice, and alongside health and fitness goals, many people turn their eyes to their wallets.

Statistically speaking, most Americans carry debt in some form, whether it is student loans, car or home loans, or credit card debt.

Learning good ways to manage money is important, so let us help you out with some of our household budgeting tips.

Plan Meals in Advance

overhead shot of meal planningTake some time to choose the recipes you want to make over the course of a week, and write out your shopping list accordingly. 

Use this list as a guide when you are in the grocery store and do not deviate from it. You will save money on groceries by having a plan set in place and following through.

Sticking to a list means you won’t end up with impulse-bought extras you don’t need.

Shop Around

Making a major purchase? Make sure you look for the best price. There are so many places to find a good deal these days that any large expense should be carefully researched.

Search online for the best deals, and try to wait for a sale. Take your time, and you’ll find the best price available for that new refrigerator or vacuum cleaner.

Consider Alternatives

Think about whether you want to be spending money for a gym membership when you could jog freely in your neighborhood and invest in a set of weights to use at home.

If you find yourself spending a lot of money buying books, you may want to get a membership to your local library instead. Things like these can consume a lot of your money over time, so when a cheaper option is available, consider taking it.

Use Coupons and Rebates

Coupons are a tried-and-true staple of consumer culture. Since coupons save a portion of the cost of every item they apply to, they can add up to cut a significant part of your total bill at the end of a shopping trip.

Rebates have the same effect, so make sure that you are sending them in when you get them. Once you get used to doing it, you will find that the savings gathered from coupons and rebates can add up quite a bit over the course of a year.

Spend Cash

woman's hands counting cashDetermine an amount of money that you want to use as spending money, and take that amount out of the bank in cash. Consider this your discretionary fund: once it’s gone, you don’t get more cash until your next paycheck.

This will cause you to seriously consider how you spend your money because you are counting cash and coins rather than simply pulling out a credit card.

There’s an App for That

There are a multitude of apps out there that are designed to give you a better idea of where your money is going.

Budgeting tools like Mint or You Need a Budget are designed to help you visualize the way you spend money, create budgets you can stick to, and even give advice on how to manage your funds.

By tracking your expenditures in charts and graphs, these apps can help you learn where to cut costs and maximize savings.