5 Super Easy Ways To Save Money

This is the time of year when you are bombarded with articles about New Year’s resolutions and how to actually keep them.

If you’re hoping 2017 will finally be the year you get on top of your savings, here are 10 simple, painless ways to achieve that goal.

1. Follow a budget

While maintaining a budget is one of the most effective tools for tracking personal spending, roughly 60% of Americans don’t do it. If you draw up a budget with a line item for savings, you’ll have an easier time finding cash to put in the bank. Not only that, but following a budget will give you a clear picture as to where your money is going so that if you do need to free up more cash, you’ll see which spending categories offer the most wiggle room.

2. Set up an automatic savings plan

You can’t spend money you never see in the first place. If you don’t trust yourself to save money or just want to simplify the process, then sign up for automatic deposits through your bank so that a certain percentage of each paycheck goes directly into savings.

3. Sign up for commuter benefits

An easy way to shave money off the cost of your commute is to use pre-tax dollars to pay for it. While you can’t get a tax break on gas for your vehicle, you can allocate up to $255 each month for parking and another $255 for a transit pass if your employer offers commuter benefits. So if you spend $200 a month on a rail pass and $80 a month to park at your local train station, you can sign up for commuter benefits through your employer and avoid paying taxes on $3,360 over the course of the year.

4. Walk or bike to work (and everywhere)

Some of us have no choice but to drive pretty much everywhere we go, but if you’re willing to do a little exercise, walking or biking on a daily basis could shave hundreds of dollars off your monthly expenses, especially if you’re able to give up your vehicle. The average cost of owning an automobile is roughly $8,700 a year, so even if you spend a fraction of that to maintain a bike or call the occasional car service, you’ll still come out way ahead.

5. Sign up for free trials

Whether it’s a cable package, a streaming service, or a magazine subscription, many companies offer free trials in an attempt to lure in customers. As long as you cancel within the appropriate time frame, you’ll typically snag a month (sometimes more) of free service without having to spend a dime.

These tips, especially when combined, can help you save some serious money in 2017. So if 2016 wasn’t the money-saving year you hoped it would be, now’s your chance to start fresh and attack your goals head-on.