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  • Avoid the take-out trap. Restaurant meals are generally more expensive than a home-cooked meal.
  • Brew your own coffee. If you spend $2.50 per cup daily, you may save more than $900 annually without sacrificing your favorite beverage.
  • Book it to the library. Many libraries now allow members to borrow paper and e-books, as well as movies on DVD.

Improve your Financial Fitness.

Smart spending strategies to help you save big.

The New Year is the perfect time to get fit – financially, that is. And good news: Even small changes can have a big impact. Create a budget plan now to help reduce excess spending, pay down debt and/or accumulate savings throughout the year.

Your Financial Workout

Purpose: Help decrease personal debt; increase financial stability, flexibility.

  1. Assess your monthly spending
    Review pay stubs, statements, bills and receipts.
  2. Record money in and money out
    Document income sources, expenses and other spending. Identify trends and areas for improvement.
  3. Identify "wants" vs. "needs" spending
    Review your spending habits, prioritize. Develop a budget that covers necessities (mortgage/rent, utilities, groceries) and debt reduction first.
  4. Look for opportunities to save
    Could you pay less for the same services by changing service providers? Are coupons available for your favorite grocery items? Are you paying for services you rarely use?
  5. Pay down debt
    Pay new bills in full, on time. Set realistic payment amounts and timeframes for paying off existing debt.
  6. Save for "rainy days"
    Save now for unexpected expenses and long-term goals (e.g., buying a home, retirement, college tuition).
  7. Treat yourself right
    Allocate a portion of your monthly budget for fun and entertainment; it helps you stay on track.

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