Good Morning Green Panda Friends.  After a relaxing three weeks off today is my first day back to work full time.  It’s bittersweet I am definitely not looking forward to waking up to my alarm clock for the first time in three weeks but at the same time I am starting a new job so I am a little bit excited about that.

It seems like today is my first real day of reality in the New Year.  It’s the first day that I am getting back into my routine and it’s also the first day that I am going to start being responsible again.  I have to look over my bills from buying all of my pre-holiday presents and I have to check my credit card statements from the post-holiday shopping. I usually don’t overspend during the holidays but the temptation to want to buy the best gift for everyone on my list can be very alluring.

Let me ask you a question, what is your New Year’s resolution? Maybe you want to catch up on our holiday bills, maybe you want to save more money on a regular basis this year or maybe 2013 is finally going to be the year that you become debt free.  If your New Year’s resolution is to save more money or become debt free then let us help you make a plan.  Both saving money and paying off your debts have one main goal in common…they both require you to free up some of your money so that you can allocate it towards something else.

3 tips to help you free up money to save and become debt free:

1. Stop using your credit cards.  If you are trying to pay off your debt you definitely should not be accumulating more debt and if you want to save money you shouldn’t be spending money on your credit cards.  Money that is not spent on repaying your debts is money that can be saved. There is no point in paying too much money on your credit cards and then not having enough money to live; this is a vicious cycle that will always keep you in debt.

2. Set a realistic budget.  If you want to save more money or if you want to pay off your debt then you have to learn to live without.  Look at your bank accounts and credit card statements from the last month and see where you can make cuts.  Maybe you don’t have to buy a latte every single day; if you cut out your coffee 3 days a week you can save up to $15 per week which is $780 per year. Maybe you can cut out a monthly magazine subscription to help save more money each month. Money that is not spent carelessly can be re-allocated to pay off your debts or transferred into your savings account.

3. Be willing to live without.  If you really want to learn to live on a new budget then you have to be willing to live without some of the luxuries that you car accustom to.  The point of having a New Year’s resolution is to achieve a personal goal, but in order to do that we all have to be willing to change.  We can’t expect to maintain our current budget or lifestyle and pay off our debts or save more money.

What is your New Year’s resolution?

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