Have you been trying to save money, but still find yourself a little short on your rainy day fund? Sometimes putting a simple savings plan in place can do the trick. Here are a few easy ways to help you boost your budget in the new year.
First, kick things off by committing to a yearlong savings plan, like the 52-week Savings Challenge. Start by saving $1 in the first week of January, $2 in the second, $3 in the third and so on. After 52 weeks, you'll have saved a total of $1,378 in the bank without even realizing it.
Another popular way to see some yearly savings is to set up monthly transfers. All you have to do is set up a separate account for extra funds and then arrange to have a little money automatically transferred into it every week. It's just like setting up "auto-pay" for your bills, except you're paying yourself.
When it comes to unexpected bonus income, be smart. While a little quick cash can tempt anyone to splurge, using a simple rule of thirds can help keep your funds from disappearing entirely. Here's how it works: Set aside one-third of the money to put toward any past debts. Save another third for the future, and then use the remaining for whatever you want in the present.
Step up your savings for the new year with these tips. With the right plan in place, you can bump-up your budget, one day at a time.
New Year, New You: Five Cheap Products for Reorganizing Your Life
Savings Resolutions for the New Year -- Savings Experiment
When it comes to upgrading your life for a new year, getting rid of household clutter is a great place to start. Unfortunately, doing that isn't exactly cheap: While companies like the Container Store and Ikea offer hundreds of products to help you put your life in order, their price tags can pack a wallop.
However, it doesn't have to be so costly. If you're looking to face 2013 on a stronger financial and organizational footing, these five products are hard to beat for value.
You may be aware that Google offers a host of free programs that can help you do everything from picture editing to word processing. But when it comes to getting your life in order, it's hard to beat Google Calendar. On the surface, it's a pretty standard personal calendar, but it easily syncs up with your smartphone, which means you can check your agenda -- and add to it -- almost anywhere.
If an electronic calendar isn't for you, why not try an old fashioned paper one? Basic weekly planning calendars, like this simple one from Muji, only cost a few dollars, and can be easily tucked into a purse or backpack. In addition to giving you a place to organize your daily events, they also make a handy spot for jotting your thoughts.
Along with all the information you want to hold on to, there's certainly some you'll want to dispose of, and safely. Identity theft is a serious threat, which makes getting rid of your bills and other personal correspondence more of a chore. If old mail is crowding the corners of your home, you may want to try Muji's hand-cranked paper shredder. While it's not quite as easy to use as an electric shredder, the $11 price tag is hard to beat.
If you're having trouble organizing your bills and assorted other papers, you may want to check out Staples' Essentials Value Pack. For $4, it has a collection of paper clips, binder clips, rubber bands, and push pins -- all the essentials that you need to get a handle on your unwieldy paperwork. And with an easy to carry plastic case, it fits nicely into a backpack, school desk, locker, or anywhere else where you may find yourself in need of a little quick organizational help.
If you've ever found yourself searching through dozens of boxes or files in search of some vital item, you may already know that, when it comes to organizing your life, few things are more useful than a label maker. Dymo's Express label maker costs only $9 and can vastly simplify your life.