15 Top Money Moves if Your Resolution Is to Spend Less

Making these changes can mean a whole lot of extra cash in your wallet.

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Updated July 18, 2024
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As the calendar turns a new page, many of us embark on the tradition of setting New Year's resolutions. If your goal for the coming year is to spend less and get ahead financially, you're not alone.

The start of a new year provides an excellent opportunity to reassess our spending habits and make intentional choices that align with our financial goals.

To help you on your journey toward financial wellness, here are 15 top money moves to consider if your New Year's resolution is to spend less.

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Stop using multiple credit cards

Antonioguillem/Adobe shopper buying online with multiple credit cards

Juggling multiple credit cards can lead to a tangled web of expenses and varying interest rates. Simplify your financial life by consolidating your spending onto one credit card.

This streamlines your monthly payments and makes it easier to track your expenses and monitor your overall credit utilization.

By focusing on a single card, you gain better control over your finances and reduce the risk of accumulating unnecessary debt. Consider using one of the best balance transfer credit cards to help consolidate your debts.

Cancel one streaming service in January

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In the age of digital entertainment, streaming services can quickly add up, consuming a large portion of your monthly budget. Start the year by assessing your current subscriptions and consider canceling one streaming service.

Whether it's a platform you rarely use or one with overlapping content, eliminating even one subscription can free up funds for other financial priorities. Your wallet will thank you!

Track your spending

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Understanding where your money goes is the first step toward effective budgeting. Take the time to track your spending meticulously. Use apps or old-fashioned pen and paper to record every expense, no matter how small.

Analyzing your spending patterns will reveal areas where you can cut back and make informed decisions about where to allocate your resources more efficiently.

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Shop around for cheaper insurance

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Insurance is a necessary expense, but that doesn't mean you have to settle for the first policy you find. Take the initiative to shop around for cheaper insurance rates.

Whether it's auto, home, or health insurance, getting quotes from different providers can help you uncover potential savings.

Be sure to compare coverage options and read reviews to ensure the lower premium doesn't compromise the quality of your insurance coverage.

Cook more at home

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Eating out regularly can take a significant bite out of your budget. Make it a goal to cook more meals at home in the coming year. Not only is home-cooked food typically healthier, but it's also more cost-effective.

Plan your meals, create a shopping list, and embrace the joy of preparing your favorite dishes. Not only will you save money, but you'll likely discover a newfound appreciation for the culinary arts.

Use cash for discretionary spending

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It's easy to overspend when using credit or debit cards for everyday purchases. Consider using cash for discretionary spending, such as dining out, entertainment, or shopping.

Having a tangible limit can make you more mindful of your expenses, and once the cash is gone, it serves as a natural brake on additional spending. The tangible nature of cash reinforces financial discipline in a way digital transactions often don't.

Negotiate bills and recurring expenses

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Many people overlook the opportunity to negotiate bills and recurring expenses. Whether it's your cable bill, internet service, or gym membership, contact your service providers to see if there's room for negotiation.

Loyalty often pays off, and companies may be willing to offer discounts or special promotions to retain your business.

The simple act of asking can result in significant savings on monthly bills. If asking doesn’t work, say you’d like to cancel your service and see if they are more open to offering a discount.

Embrace the art of DIY

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From home repairs to personal grooming, embracing the do-it-yourself (DIY) mindset can lead to substantial savings. Instead of hiring professionals for every task, explore the world of online tutorials and DIY guides.

Whether it's fixing a leaky faucet or giving yourself a home haircut, acquiring new skills can empower you to handle tasks independently, reducing the need to pay someone else.

Implement a waiting period for non-essential purchases

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Before making non-essential purchases, implement a waiting period. Give yourself a set amount of time, whether it's a day, a week, or a month, to consider the item's necessity.

This waiting period allows you to reflect on whether the purchase aligns with your priorities and goals. Often, you'll find that the initial impulse to buy fades, resulting in more intentional and mindful spending.

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Embrace the sharing economy

Andrey Popov/Adobe woman sitting in car with friends

Explore the sharing economy to access goods and services without the burden of ownership. From ride-sharing to communal workspaces, the sharing economy offers cost-effective alternatives to traditional ownership.

By embracing shared resources, you can enjoy the benefits without the hefty price tags, contributing to financial savings and a more sustainable lifestyle.

Prioritize experiences over material possessions

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Shift your mindset from acquiring material possessions to prioritizing experiences. Instead of spending on tangible items, allocate your budget toward creating memorable experiences next year. This could include travel, cultural events, or educational pursuits.

Investing in experiences not only brings greater fulfillment but also reduces the accumulation of unnecessary belongings that often lead to increased spending.

Set specific savings goals

RomanR/Adobe financial goal concept

Establishing clear savings goals provides a tangible target for your financial efforts. Whether you're saving for an emergency fund, a vacation, or a major purchase, having specific objectives makes it easier to resist impulsive spending.

Break down your goals into achievable milestones, and celebrate your progress along the way. This intentional approach to saving can transform your financial habits and reinforce the value of long-term planning.

Unsubscribe from marketing emails

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Marketing emails can be a constant temptation, enticing you to make unnecessary purchases. Take control of your inbox by unsubscribing from marketing emails in 2024.

By reducing exposure to promotional messages, you minimize the chances of falling prey to impulse buying.

Unsubscribing not only declutters your digital space but also contributes to a healthier relationship with consumerism and spending.

Explore alternative transportation options

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If possible, explore alternative transportation options to reduce the financial strain of owning a car. Public transportation, biking, carpooling, or ridesharing services can offer cost-effective alternatives to car ownership.

Evaluate your transportation needs and consider whether downsizing to one vehicle or relying on alternative methods could contribute to substantial savings in the long run.

Downsize or declutter your living space

Andrey Popov/Adobe Woman sorting wardrobe into brown boxes with

Consider downsizing or decluttering your living space as a strategic move to spend less. A smaller home or a decluttered living environment not only reduces monthly expenses like rent or mortgage payments but also encourages a minimalist lifestyle.

Sell or donate items you no longer need, giving you some extra cash and fostering a sense of simplicity in your daily life.

Bottom line

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Embarking on a journey to spend less is a commendable New Year's resolution that can positively impact your financial well-being.

By implementing these 15 top money moves, you'll not only gain better control over your finances but also foster a mindful and intentional approach to spending. As you navigate the path toward financial resilience, consider what truly matters to you and how aligning your spending with your values can lead to a more fulfilling and sustainable financial future. 

What changes will you make in the coming year to ensure your financial goals are met with success?

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Author Details

Adam Palasciano

Adam Palasciano is a personal finance-obsessed and money-savvy individual who loves to hash out content on all things saving money. He specializes in writing millennial-friendly personal finance content, covering topics ranging from trending financial news, debt, credit cards, cryptocurrency, and more.