In just a few days, it will be 2016 and we are eager for its arrival. We have some big projects planned for this coming year and we are working hard now to prepare for success. Some of our time is being spent looking for ways to increase our income and reduce our expenses as a family.
Increasing your Income in 2016
Who would not want to have more money left over for their budget? If you want to increase your 2016 income a little, now is the best time to plan.
Look over your TurboTax 2015 W-4. Recently, my husband had Human Resources send an email to all the employees to remind them there were some withholding changes in North Carolina. It was good for us to be reminded as well, since we have not really looked over our withholding in a while. If you haven’t looked at your Turbo Tax 2013 return in a couple of years, you might want to take a few minutes to look at it. Make sure your retirement benefits, flexible spending plan and health insurance are all correct. Make sure you are are taking advantage of the opportunities available to you to decrease the amount you pay in taxes. It might be time to find a health plan that is more affordable and accommodates your family better. If your employer offers a 401(k) match, make sure you are getting the max amount.
Make some extra money with a hobby. Do you play a musical instrument, handcraft something or enjoy number crunching? Talk to your friends, neighbors and extended family and see if you can teach them a skill or assist them for a little extra money on the side. We have a neighbor that is a very good builder and we bought a cat box from him. It was better than what we found for sale in stores and it was better-built and he got a little extra money from doing something he liked. Everybody won.
Sell your things. As we are tidying up our home in preparation for putting it on the market, we have been downsizing and getting rid of things that we do not really want or have not used in a long time. It really is crazy how much stuff you can accumulate without realizing it. If you sell some of your extra stuff, you can increase the space in your home and accumulate a little extra money. Craigslist and other similar sites make it free and easy to unload your extra stuff.
Saving Money in the New Year
You can make more room in your budget by streamlining your month to month bills and doing some things yourself. Weatherproof your house. You do not need to spend a lot of money on this to make a dent. Make sure there are no drafts or leaks so that you do not drain your wallet dry.
Check out your phone plan. Cell phone bills have gotten expensive for some people. Lots of people just sign a two year contract so they can get the newest iPhone model and do not count up the true cost. Some cell phone companies offer great plans that offer unlimited services for a small portion of the cost of a plan with one of the larger companies. Ting, Republic Wireless and other companies have smartphone plans that cost about $25 per month.
Compare prices on insurance. We halved out insurance a few years ago just by switching companies. Now you can go online to look at plans and compare prices for life, health, home and car insurance. Do not just go with the cheapest plan. Find one that offers the best value, as well.
Skip cable. You probably do not need cable anymore, now that options like Hulu Plus, Netflix and Roku are available. Even if you decide you would rather have cable, you should probably shop around and see if you can find a better deal somewhere else which could split the bundle.
Thoughts on Saving and Making Money for 2016
I talked about a few ways you can increase your savings, but I would love to hear more. What financial goals have you set for 2016? What do you want to achieve in the coming year?