It’s almost the New Year! And a great time to make some changes in your life. If finding ways to save money is one of your New Year’s resolutions, keep reading. Below are eight ways to do just that.

1. Look to your loans

If at all possible, prepay as much as you can on any outstanding loans. This means adding a few extra dollars to the monthly amount you owe. Doing this saves money because every dollar you pay ahead comes straight off your loan balance. This lowers the total fees and can save you a considerable amount of money over the life of the loan.

2. Earn some interest

Let your money work for you. See if your bank offers interest-bearing accounts – for both savings and checking. Look for free accounts, as well. They usually require a minimum daily balance, but can save you hundreds in fees every year.

3. Consolidate services

If you have contracts with different cell phone, Internet and cable companies, find out if you could save by bundling them with a single provider. Look at services you’re no longer using, as well – streaming music subscriptions, on-demand television. If you’re no longer enjoying them, it’s time to quit paying for them.

4. Brown bag it

Food you bring from home is much less expensive, and probably better for you, too. Skip the morning latte, as well. Putting that extra $4 a day into savings will quickly add up.

5. Buy used

If you’re shopping for a car, remember that a new vehicle loses thousands in value the second you drive it off the lot. Look at used ones instead. Buying from an individual can save you money, as well, since private sale prices are considerably less than those on a used car lot. And don’t stop with your car. Online sites like EBay, AbeBooks and Amazon offer used items from clothing to sports equipment, and usually at a substantial savings.

6. Consider a “staycation”

Travel and hotel costs can really eat through your holiday budget. If you’re planning a vacation, stay close to home. See the local sites – museums, theme parks, that new restaurant. You might be surprised at how restful a vacation is when it doesn’t include the airport.

7. Pay cash

Credit card debt – and the interest that goes with it – can really sneak up on you. When possible, use cash. Some stores even offer a cash discount, since they won’t have to pay credit card fees on your purchase. And be sure to always pay your credit card bill on time. The fines, fees and increased interest rates you can incur for a missed payment can be astronomical.

8. Make a plan

A menu plan that is. That way you can include food items that are on sale in your meal plans for the week. Once you have a menu plan, eating out becomes less tempting. And that will save you money, too!

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