How can consumers save money in the new year?

Some of the big New Year's Resolutions that people adopt each year are related to their financial security. Many Americans aim to pay down their debts, save a little bit of money, or both, over the course of each new year. However, while that's often easier said than done, the fact of the matter is that there are a number of tricks people can start using to get themselves to achieve those goals quickly and easily.

One rather popular one that has been shared a lot online in the last few years is the idea of starting a penny jar. Each day, a person with this goal puts a penny in the jar, progressively. That means that on Jan. 1, they put in one penny. Then on Jan. 2, they put in two pennies. And on Jan. 3, it's three pennies, and so on, for the entire year. By the end of the 366 days - remember, 2016 is a leap year - they'll have saved more than $650, and it never costs them more than $3.66 cents in a given day, less than the cost of a cup of coffee. Then, at the end of the year, that money can be contributed toward an emergency savings account or paying down credit cards or student loan bills.

What about everyday savings?
Of course, that might not be the best idea for everyone, as many people are looking to save on purchases they make in the course of their daily lives instead. One way in which this can be done is to plan out everything that is going to be eaten for an entire week, based on what's on sale or items for which coupons can be easily found. This takes a little bit of work each weekend, but the savings can add up very quickly. Indeed, people who bring their lunch to work instead of paying somewhere between $7 and $10 each day will likely save thousands of dollars over the course of a year (assuming about 250 work days).

Likewise, avoiding family trips to local restaurants more than one every few weeks or so can help them save a lot of money, even if it's just to a relatively cheap fast food place. While this isn't always a luxury busy parents have when it comes to feeding their kids, those looking to save money can go far with a little bit of prep work.

What else can be done?
There are other money-saving tips available on smartphone apps, which can help people identify areas where they are spending too much money, or help them set and stick to a budget. These apps, when used regularly, can likewise help consumers save hundreds of dollars over the course of the year.

And again, using those savings to pay down debt or build an emergency account can have a huge positive impact on a person's overall financial situation, because it reduces the likelihood that they're going to run into major investments they need to make (emergency car repairs, etc.) but cannot afford.

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