A recent poll discovered that one of the most common financial resolutions made this New Year is to save more and spend less. With the average American having under $1,000 in their savings account, it's no surprise that people want to bolster this. Three easy ways to boost savings, whether for an emergency fund or to create a down payment, are to switch your light bulbs, organize your family's groceries and participate in a savings challenge.
- Simply switching your household's light bulbs might not sound like it could save you much, but it could take up to $1,000 off an energy bill. LED bulbs might cost a little more, but they last longer and are more energy efficient. Expert Robert Farringdon says, "In our home, we have a lot of recessed lighting in main areas – like the kitchen and family room - which we leave on all day. By simply switching these out, we've lowered our electric bill by roughly $80 per month. That gets us to about $960 a year."
- It's also wise to do a pantry inventory, largely because one of the greatest family expenses is food. Organizing your panty and the food in your freezer can save a significant amount, especially when you plan the week's meals in advance. Angie Nelson, a savings expert, said she was able to reduce grocery bills by $30 per week – over $1,500 each year – by reducing wastage and frequent visits to the shops.
- Finally, people might like to try a 52-Week Savings Challenge, which starts easy and becomes harder. For example, challenge yourself to save $1 in the first week of the year, then $2 in the second week, $3 in the third week, and so on. If you complete the challenge, you can save a total of $1,378, plus any extra interest you might have earned on your savings.
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