Wednesday, December 30, 2015

10 Ways to Make 2016 Financially Better Than 2015

Are you dreading paying the January bills after overspending on Christmas?  Are you tired of always just making ends meet and never having enough money to spend it on something fun?  Do you want to take a vacation, but don't want to put it on a credit card?  Do you want to stop feeling the weight of being in debt and instead feel the freedom of being financially free?

I've come up with 10 things you can do in 2016 to begin to either start to pay off debt, get rid of that last lingering credit card bill, be better prepared for Christmas spending 2016, or finally pay cash for that vacation you want to take the kids on!

1.  Track your income and expenses.  I do this every month and it allows our family to see exactly where our money is going.  I simply use a spreadsheet where I record all income and then expenses.

2.  Set-up an account to have funds transferred on a monthly basis and do not touch until Christmas.  I always use a Smarty Pig account.  If you are able to transfer $100 a month, by December you will have saved $1200 for Christmas!

3.  Stop eating out so much!  When my family of 5 eats out, we average a bill of about $50 for a sit-down restaurant and $25 for fast food..  I know if I make a meal at home, It can be for about $10.  That is a savings of $15 - $40 a day!  Our family only eats out typically only one night a week.

4.  Earn some quick cash (and a cash flow) by decluttering and selling unwanted items.  I sell all the time on Ebay and Facebook garage sale sites.  On average I make about $50 a month.  I keep a log of what I make every month.  This is an easy way to have some cash on hand and not have to do an ATM withdraw.  Bonus, you de-clutter your house!

5.    If you shop online, earn extra cash by using a cashback site first!  I use EBATES all the time and have earned a lot of money that gets transferred directly into my Paypal account.  You can then use the funds to make online purchases or move the funds to your bank account.  Here is what I have earned:

6.   Consider using cash back apps when you shop for groceries.  The two apps I use all the time are Ibotta and Checkout 51.  Once you reach a $20 balance, you can transfer the money to your Paypal account.

7.  Review your grocery shopping habits and perhaps see if you can switch some of your shopping to a lower cost store.  Look into a monthly trip to Aldi's or another retailer to pick up canned goods and staples that are generally a lot less expensive than at a large grocery store chain.

8.  Couponing!  I know this is not for everyone, but every little bit helps.  I'm in a local group for my favorite store Giant Eagle, and I normally pick up a few free or really cheap items every week!.

9.  Look into a money saving challenge.  This allows you to put cash away every week and increases the amount.  Check out the one here on Simplistically Living.

10.  For daily inspiration and encouragement, follow Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman on Facebook.  They always have all kinds of ideas and insight!

I hope some of these tips were insightful and help out in 2016!  No one likes being tied down by debt and you feel so much freedom when you are able to pay your bills every month and have a little extra left!

Happy New Year!


  1. I like the idea of the SmartyPig tranfers. We are always scrambling at the last minute to figure out Christmas. A savings account would make it much more enjoyable and less stressful!

    1. This has worked great for us the past couple of years. If you start saving in January, it makes December so much for fun!