Happy New Year.

Each year in January I like to do what I call “Sarah’s Life Edit”.  I try to edit and declutter all aspects of my life:  finances, kitchen, closets, kids stuff, etc.

I like to start with finances since coming from December where there was an excess of spending, parties taxes due, tuition, etc.  So here are some simple ways I edit my finances in January.

Finances:
1.  Cash only in January.   I make saving a game with myself.  I take 1/4 of my normal variable expenses out in cash and this forces me to get creative, plan ahead and be resourceful.

2.  Print a calendar and write down expenses each day.  If you know ahead of time pre-track your expenses.  I like to use the calendar as a visual and challenge myself to stick to my budget.  Add up all your expenses at the end of the week to make sure you’re on track.

3.  Gather all unused gift cards.  Separate into categories:  Retail, Restaurants, and Entertainment.  Plan shopping dinners out and activities around your gift cards.

4.  See if your credit cards have cash back rewards programs.  My credit card gives you an additional 50% bonus if you get the cash bonus deposited back into your account.  No Brainer!

5.  Sign your kids up for a kids club checking account (First Community Credit Union-has one my boys love).  My boys got some money for Christmas and when they deposit up to $250 a year they get a $10 gift card.