One out of four Americans plans to make New Year’s resolutions about money, according to a new survey from Sallie Mae.
According to Sallie Mae, 21 percent of consumers want to save more cash.
If you could stand to bolster your bank account, here are four ways to save more money and help you keep more of your hard-earned dollars:
1. Join a membership organization
Of all my tips to help you save money, joining a membership organization can be incredibly effective and easy.
For example, AAA members get discounts on everything from hotel stays to passport photos.
People 50 and older can join AARP and receive benefits ranging from reduced rates on health and life insurance to savings on shopping, dining, travel and more.
Even professional organizations and civic groups offer various financial perks to their members.
2. Extend the life of your car
I know that Beyonce recently reportedly bought Jay-Z a $2 million sports car, but chances are you’re not such a high roller.
Still, if you were contemplating buying a new or used car in 2011, that could cost you thousands of dollars in new car payments, more expensive car insurance and more.
Instead, save yourself big bucks by extending the life of your current car — one of the most important ways to save more money.
With today’s technology, it’s not uncommon for cars built in the year 2000 or later to be able to log 150,000 to 200,000 miles.
“Routine vehicle maintenance is the best way to keep your car running,” says Jeff Santana, manager of the AAA Car Care Center in Springfield, N.J. “Regular trips to your mechanic can mean the difference between tens of thousands of miles in your car’s life.”
Also, review your owner’s manual for guidelines and service schedules that will tell you how often you should do routine maintenance, such as changing your car’s oil, rotating your tires and replacing things such as the water pump or timing belt.
3. Re-run your numbers
Everyone should have a good idea about the numbers that are driving his or her household budget, specifically how much money is being spent each month on things such as food, utilities, credit cards, insurance, etc.
Go over each of your major categories of spending early in 2011 and contact each creditor you’re paying to ask about discounts.
Can you shave 10 percent off your cable bill? Will your credit card company lower your interest rate?
And what about your auto insurance? Have you shopped around lately to make sure you’re getting a competitive rate?
Comparison shopping to lower your existing bills can save you thousands of dollars annually, keeping more money in your pocket.
4. Do it yourself
Paying other people for services that you can do yourself can get awfully expensive awfully quick.
Sometimes it’s necessary to pay others for things when you lack the time or expertise to do something — say babysitting when you have to work, or putting down new tiles in your bathroom.
But if you have the ability, by all means, consider tackling certain projects yourself to save cash. Your investment will be spent in time, and not dollars.
For example, there are a host of areas where we pay for services that we can definitely do on our own, such as lawn mowing, shoveling snow, basic hair services, manicures or house cleaning.
The key is to identify areas where you’re shelling out cash that could be better saved if only you could take on various tasks yourself.
All of these strategies, if carefully and regularly implemented, can fatten your bank account not just in 2011, but for years to come. Do you have any tips that help you save money? Please share them below.