How many of us don’t welcome the new year and wonder what happened to our finances during the previous one? Where did the money go? You take a look at your savings account and you wonder how it can be so depleted!

With the current economic state and many workers falling victim to stagnant wages, it’s easy to see how many of us can be living paycheck to paycheck without having anything at all in our savings account. It’s time to change that, right now!

What are your ideas and plans for the new year when it comes to good ways to save money? Are you going to fall into your old habits or are you going to look for new ways to get out of that hole?

Here are a few tips to get you going in the right direction:

1. Start with your credit cards. If you have more than $3000 in credit card debt, you’re probably paying far too much interest every single month and this is draining your account. Start by setting aside money, however small the amount, to start paying off one credit card at a time. If you have to get a part time job or work overtime hours to do so, then so be it. You need to get the ball rolling or you’re never going to get out of this mess!

To build a sense of accomplishment and to get some momentum going in your favor,
start paying off the credit card that has the smallest balance. I know this seems
contrary to everything else you have heard, but it works. The moment you see one
credit card with a zero balance, it’s going to inspire and motivate you to continue paying off your others.

2. Save money on electricity. For most people, their electricity bill is way too high. This is a result of people not turning the lights off when they leave the room, leaving low circuit appliances continuously plugged in, and turning down the thermostat far too low.

If you don’t have an electronic thermostat with a timer on it, you’re missing out on plenty of savings. With this system, for example, you can set the thermostat to 76°once everybody leaves the house, and return it back to 72 automatically once the first person returns home. Your home will still be nice and comfortable and by
allowing your air conditioner to work less, your electricity bill will show substantial savings over the course of one month.

During the winter months, it’s a no-brainer to simply open up the windows and let the fresh air in. Your wallet or pocketbook will love you for it.

3. Plan your meals. Instead of visiting the grocery store and getting this or that and just continuously filling up your shopping cart with items you will probably not even eat, make a plan and stick with it. Shopping lists are extremely underrated and under-utilized but if you want to save tons of money on groceries, a good list can become your best friend. While we’re at it, cut back on eating out and you will almost immediately see some relief in your bank account. This is one of the most creative ways to save money because you can also add using your weekly flyer and manufacturer coupons into the mix.

4. Optimize your cell phone planThere are many great ways to save money in 2013. for savings. Take a look at your cell phone account and find out if there are any ways you can cut back on your expenses. For example, if you have a certain plan with “X” amount of allowed data and you can switch to a different plan with less data capacity with the same company for $30 less a month, you need to consider it. Most people can save big money with their cell phone plans if they take the time to research the plans that are available. By saving $30 a month, you will save $360 a year. Hint – I know many people who have switched from Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T to MetroPCS and they are saving more than $100 a month.