November and December are filled with friends, family, food, and gifts, but in January we have to sit down and evaluate our choices over the past couple of months. Hopefully you were smart in your spending and there aren’t any surprises or overdraft fees, but regardless of how you ended 2018 financially, it’s always good to take stock in the new year and set goals for yourself. Even if you’re not someone who likes thinking about numbers and budgets, there’s no need to get overwhelmed or feel guilty for past decisions. 2019 is a new year and with a few easy changes, anyone can make this year the best one yet. Start off by making sure your apartment is winterized, then see if there are other eco-friendly steps you want to take. After that read on to see some more ideas to easily save money this year.
Cut Back on Vices
January is typically a time when we do some soul searching and life evaluating. While you’re in an introspective mood take a good look at some of your habits and think about how they could be impacting your monthly budget. Obviously, if you regularly smoke or drink cutting back or stopping completely will save quite a bit of money, but other vices such as pop consumption and eating fast food can add up as well. You don’t necessarily need to stop your vices cold turkey, but committing to only drinking on the weekends or making your lunch ahead of time will help your bank account in a short amount of time.
Check Out Free Local Events
Indianapolis always has something going on, especially in the downtown area. No matter the day or time of year you can easily find something to do or somewhere to go, and many activities are either free or cost effective. If you’re not sure what’s going on right now you can do a quick internet search or go to a site like Downtown Indy to stay informed. You should also keep an eye on your apartment community’s Facebook and Instagram pages for resident events or other promoted activities, and check out this blog for seasonal fun like these Fall and Winter ideas.
Cut Down on Meat
We know in general Hoosiers are a “meat and potatoes” kind of people, but if you’re serious about saving money you should think about cutting down on meat. Try “Meatless Monday” or choosing the veggie option now and then. Veggies are usually much cheaper than meat, and studies have shown that regularly choosing a plant-based protein can help keep your diet balanced as well. Those combined with the reduced carbon footprint of eating vegetarian make cutting down on meat a win/win/win.
Make Coffee at Home
Coffee is one vice we know most people won’t give up, but there are ways of keeping it from breaking the bank. Whether you stop by Starbucks, Dunkin, or the local coffee shop of a morning, that $3 for a black coffee or $5 for a specialty quickly adds up to upwards of $60-$100 per month. Invest a little money up front for a personal coffee maker or a bit of time in the morning to brew in a French press or pour over and you could quickly see a difference in your bank statement as soon as February. Even better, if your apartment community has a coffee maker in the clubhouse you won’t even have to buy your own beans!