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Start the year armed with money-saving tools

As another year nears its end, the beginning of another is just around the corner.

How would you feel if by the end of 2014 you were richer (with no lottery jackpot necessary)? Here are 14 tips to make 2014 a successful and bountiful year.

1. How did you do in 2013?

Knowing how you did the year before sets you in a good spot for the New Year. Look at your spending habits, know how much did you put into savings and analyze what you spent on that you wish you hadn’t.

2. Make a budget

At the beginning of each month, write out what expected expenses are and what extra items you may spend on. Stick to the plan. At the end of the month, write out actual expenses and what put extra money in savings.

3. Create a savings plan

Whether it’s contributing to your 401(k), adding to your kids college fund or planning for a vacation, making a plan and putting it in writing can help you stay on track. If you want to save up for a new TV by Black Friday, set a goal to put away $10 a week (instead of eating out for lunch). By November, you’ll have $440 saved!

4. Eat out less

Think about this: A household of two that goes out to dinner once a week may typically spend about $50 for dinner, drinks and tip. That’s $2,600 a year! How about eating out only twice a month, and pocketing an extra $1,300 by the end of the year?

5. Make a grocery list

When you write things down, you are more likely to stick to the plan than if you go into a store with no idea of what exactly you need to get. If you plan out your meals ahead of time and know what ingredients you’ll need, you’ll buy what you need and avoid spending on things that may go bad in the fridge.

6. Become a smarter shopper

It may require some effort, but by using store loyalty cards, coupons, online savings codes and smartphone apps, you could pay a lot less.

7. Clean out your house

A lot of us have clutter around the house that we barely use or don’t want anymore. Sell it in a yard sale or on Craigslist. You could Donate it. Not only could you make a few extra bucks, you could also start the year off with a new space.

8. Make a get-out-of-debt plan

Whether they are credit card or medical bills, student or car loans or a home mortgage, if your plan is to be debt free, look for plans to help you get there. KTAR’s financial guru, Dave Ramsey, has a step-by-step plan to get out of debt, big or small.

9. Intentionally increase your income

A new year could mean new beginnings for your career. Set a goal to look for a new job if you’re in between careers. If you’re employed, meet with your superiors and ask what you can do to improve to get a raise or be promoted.

10. Exercise

The benefits of working out go beyond looking better. Studies show exercise improves mood which can help with productivity. The health benefits are a given, which then mean you could save money on doctors’ visits and medicine. The same goes for getting more sleep.

11. Revisit your assets

If it’s been a while you’ve sat down with your accountant, it could be helpful to look over your finances. If you’re a business owner, set new goals to increase productivity, profitability and possibly restructuring to be more successful.

12. Downgrade

Do you still need to have 500 channels of cable or satellite television? If you find yourself so busy you don’t have time to watch TV, there may be a space to kill one more bill. The same goes for landlines.

13. Get organized

Just like cleaning out your home and exercising, organizing your schedule can help you be more productive. That translates into more focus time for your job and possibly a better financial gain for a job well done.

14. Reward yourself

Just like sticking to a workout plan or diet, making sound money-saving decisions can be overwhelming. Have a plan in place to reward your positive actions to keep your motivation up. Sometimes a hot bubble bath or a special meal can do the trick.