9 Frugal Money Habits To Start Using Now as 2024 Approaches, According to Experts

The approaching New Year is the perfect time to plant the seeds of successful financial planning. If you’ve gone a bit overboard with your holiday shopping or splurged on a fancy vacation, there’s still time to hit the reset button on your spending habits before January.

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“The truth is, meaningful and helpful frugality can take a while to effectively incorporate into our lifestyles,” said Mafe Aclado, general manager of Coupon Snake, “so it would really count as a major bonus to get a head start as the year draws to a close.”

Here are the top frugal money habits to begin today, according to experts.

Create a Budget Now

“I would say setting a budget and sticking to it would be my top frugal money tip for 2024,” said Carter Seuthe, CEO of Credit Summit.

He said that if you don’t yet have a solid budget in place, the turn of the new year is an excellent time to get started.

Budgets are useless if you aren’t sticking to them, said Seuthe, so it’s important to set a realistic budget that takes into account where your money goes and still allows for discretionary spending and entertainment.

“Setting a budget is also often the first step toward cutting your expenses, so it can provide a great foundation for frugal living going forward.”

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Don’t Buy Food Items on Impulse

“Every year, countless numbers of food items end up unused and in the trash can,” Aclado explained. “And this is essentially because many have unintentionally made it a habit to shop for more food items than they can consume before the end of its shelf life.”

“Fact is, because food is one of our most essential needs, people tend to splurge on food items that end up as waste,” she added.

She said picking up this habit this holiday season can be good practice that can help make adopting frugality easier next year. “Truth is, with a much reduced grocery bill to worry about, you take a significant step closer to improving your finances.”

Focus On Only What You Need

According to Aclado, there are expenses that you can simply do without: “From subscriptions to doom spending on expensive items that not only can you absolutely do without, but also have more affordable substitutes in thrift stores.”

She said that strategically avoiding these costs and channeling those funds elsewhere can also help you get out of debt quickly.

“In my experience, I have learnt that prioritizing your needs is the best way to both practice frugality and improve on your finances.”

Track Your Spending

Another frugal habit you can start right now, according to Jake Hill, finance expert and CEO of DebtHammer Consolidation, is tracking every dollar you spend, even for small purchases.

“This habit can make a huge difference in your overall spending, since seeing how much money you truly use on day-to-day purchases can motivate you to cut back on nonessentials.”

Starting this habit now is a great way to set yourself up for success in achieving financial goals you want to set for 2024.

Maximize Savings Through Smart Home Investments

According to Ashish Agarwal, owner of Home In Depth, financial prudence isn’t just about cutting costs — it’s about making wise investments, too.

“As we approach 2024, one of the most effective frugal habits people can adopt is investing in their living spaces. Why? Because our homes are not just shelters, they’re assets that can significantly impact our financial health.” 

For instance, he noted that opting for energy-efficient home appliances or solar panels may require an initial investment, but the long-term savings on utility bills are substantial. Similarly, small home improvements or DIY projects can enhance your property value without incurring hefty expenditures.

“It’s about creating a balance — investing where it counts, and saving where it’s possible.”

Start Automating

Experts recommend using automation in every financial goal you set for the year.

Darius Smith, financial advisor at Wealth is my Worth, said you can do this by opening an account specific for that goal and creating a direct deposit to automatically fund the account every single pay period. “This will chip away at your goal over time without missing any opportunities.”

The best part? You’ll never forget, and you’ll never over-spend and leave the goal out of your budget, because it will come out before the other expenses.

Buy Used Before You Buy New

Making as many secondhand purchases as you can is one method to stretch your money farther, said Jack Williams, founder of Handyman Reviewed.

“You may get goods for a portion of their retail price — sometimes even up to 50% less — by visiting thrift stores, consignment stores, internet marketplaces and garage sales.”

He noted that though there will always be certain things you just must have new, wherever possible, you should try your hand at purchasing used before investing in new.

Prepare Food at Home

For most people, eating out is one of the biggest ways they blow their budget.

“Homemade dinners sometimes cost 300%-400% less than those from restaurants,” said Williams. “Over time, cooking at home may save you a lot of money.”

He suggests making it a weekly ritual to make affordable, healthful meals and snacks.

“Eat less out of restaurants and pack your meals to go. You may also make coffee at home rather than purchasing it. Dining out ought to be a rare pleasure rather than a regular occurrence.”

Start a Home Garden

McKinzie Bean, personal finance mentor and owner of Moms Make Cents, said one of the best frugal habits you should pick up now to set up your finances for the next year is to try home gardening for fresh produce.

She said that planting your own vegetables can save you a lot of money, because seeds cost way less than the vegetables themselves, and you can grow the same vegetable over and over again.

“Doing so means more and more savings,” Bean added. “Not to mention, home gardening is a good stress reliever and a fun activity with the kids. If you start now, you’ll have edible produce by January next year, which means you will kickstart your frugal living goals right away!”

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 9 Frugal Money Habits To Start Using Now as 2024 Approaches, According to Experts

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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