In a few days 2014 will be here and we are excited. With some big goals planned for this upcoming year, we’re doing a little bit of work now to ensure success. We’re taking some time to find ways to bump up our income and trim our family expenses.
Increasing Your Income in 2014
Who wouldn’t like to have a little bit more money in their budget? If you’re looking to get a bump up in your income for 2014, now is the time to start.
- Review your W-4. My husband just had Human Resources send out an email to all employees reminding them about some withholding changes in North Carolina. It was also a good reminder for us since we haven’t reevaluated our withholding in a couple years. If you’re in the same boat, go ahead and take a few minutes and review your withholding.
- Double-check your health insurance, flexible spending plan, and retirement benefits. Now is a great time to make sure you’re taking advantage of every opportunity to lower your tax obligations and expenses plus increase your retirement contributions. You may find a more affordable health plan that fits your family’s needs better and you can make sure you get the maximum amount of your employer’s 401 (k) match if they offer it.
- Make money doing what you love. Do you enjoy playing the guitar, building things with your hands, or running the numbers. Check with your family, friends, and neighbors and see if you can teach or help them out for a few dollars on the side. One of our neighbors is very handy with building and we paid him for a cat box for our home. It was built better and cost less than what we saw at the stores and he got some cash doing something that he enjoyed. It was a win-win.
- Sell your stuff. As we spruce up our place to get it ready to sell, we’ve been de-cluttering and getting rid of stuff that we hardly use or haven’t touched in years. It’s amazing how many things can pile up. By selling some of your items, you can make more room in your house and have some extra cash. Using sites like Craigslist make it easy and free to get your listing up and out there.
Saving Money in 2014
There are some big wins you can score by optimizing your monthly bills and tackling some projects at home.
- Winterize your home. You don’t have to spend a lot to save a lot. Make sure your home is sealed so leaks and drafts don’t drain your wallet.
- Review your cellphone plan. Cellphone bills have become a big expense for some families. Too many people are quick to jump into a 2 year contract simply to get the latest smartphone without running the numbers. There are now some providers who offer great plans, including unlimited ones for a fraction of the big companies. Companies like Republic Wireless and Ting are offering cheap smartphone plans for around $25/month.
- Shop around for your insurance. A few years ago we had managed to cut our car insurance in half by simply switching companies. You can now go online to find and compare plans and prices on auto, health, and life insurance. Don’t just look for the cheapest plan, look for the one that is the best value.
- Ditch the cable bundle. With options like Hulu Plus, Netflix, and Roku, your family may not need to pay for cable anymore. Even if you keep the cable on, it pays to check and see if you can get a better deal elsewhere, perhaps splitting up your bundle.
Thoughts on Making and Saving Money in 2014
I shared some ways you can build your savings, but I’d love to have more. What are some of your money goals for next year? What do you hope to accomplish in 2014?