Three easy tips to help you save money in the new year

With the New Year, many of us find ourselves reflecting on 2014 and wondering which New Year’s resolution we might actually stick to in 2015. It’s an unfortunate fact that many of us do not follow through with our own promises. Many people agree that the beginning of a new year is the perfect time to make changes, yet in the end, life gets in the way for most of us and little actually changes.

To understand this phenomenon better, I researched and came across the nudge theory. This theory argues that positive reinforcement and indirect suggestions can influence the decision- making process of individuals. In other words, to put fruit on eye level is considered a “nudge” because it enables the consumer to see the fruit better than something else – like junk food! A nudge can be understood as a “hint” or a “poke” into the right (desired) direction without literal requirement of action. A nudge is usually a manipulation of the environment of some sort.

If you research this topic on your own, you might be shocked to learn how modern marketing uses this to trick consumers into certain buying behaviors, targeting all age groups.

When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, give yourself a head start in following through with your own promises by creating your own nudges and making yourself aware of the unidentified hints around you. This will benefit your children as well since they are growing up in an environment that is manipulated and forged by marketing. To improve your financial freedom, try three goals for the New Year. Each goal is very realistic and will have get garner amazing results in terms of savings.

Goal 1: Rename Your Bank Accounts

By giving your bank accounts names, you can trick yourself into “not spending as much.” Let’s say, for example, you label one of your savings accounts “College Fund” or even with the name of one of your children, you are less likely to spend any of that money. If you don’t have a savings account, get one!

Goal 2: Resist Sales Tricks

Every store is in the business of trying to sell their goods or services to you.

A range of tricks are used to increase buying behavior such as rewards cards, special deals for in-store credit card sign- ups, and exceptionally low prices. In the end, evaluate every purchase with this in mind: Do you need it or want it, or is it simply because it is a good deal.

Goal 3: Eat a Healthy Breakfast

It may sound ridiculous, but eating a healthy breakfast is not only good for your body, it is also good for your wallet. If you’ve eaten a healthy meal in the morning, you won’t be tempted to buy calorie-infused fast food. Too many people are accustomed to stopping for fast food in the morning because they are starving on the way to work or school. A healthy breakfast will give you the energy to last through the morning without spending extra cash on dollar fast food and expensive coffee.

While these three goals do require some persistence, they’re pretty easy for the entire family to do. The money you save will benefit your wallet, your health and, most importantly, your entire family.

Money Quest Financial Academy (www. moneyquestfa.org/) aims to raise awareness toward financial literacy among children and youth. The personal instrumental goal enrichment series provide financial education for all ages, incorporating family and community as strong key success factors.

Rebekka Sanders is a National Financial Educators Council’s Certified Financial Education Instructor. Learn more at http:// financialeducatorscouncil.org/

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