How to Save Money Throughout the Year

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Certain times of year just lend themselves to cutting back financially, at least a little. Do you really want to tackle those barely plowed roads to go out for dinner after a snowstorm? But relying on factors like that can be a recipe for budgetary disaster.

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That doesn't mean you can't include them in a little advance planning, however, and you should set yourself a savings challenge by setting a savings goal. Base it on when you think you can most likely cut back – and when you're almost certainly going to want to spend more.

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The Winter Season

The winter holidays are notorious for busting budgets, but that doesn't mean adding to your emergency savings during this time is impossible.

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You're not the only consumer out there who's giving in to a shopping frenzy just ahead of the gift-giving season. Consider selling those gifts you received last year that left you feeling "eh" so you never really used them. Get those like-new-condition items up on eBay, then put the money you raise into savings.

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As for your own holiday spending, set spending limits with family members so you're not tempted to go overboard. Consider taking something yummy and homemade to a holiday party instead of dropping a fortune on that elite holiday liqueur in order to meet your savings goal.

And remember: This is a time of fresh beginnings. Seize the day and make a New Year's resolution to change your spending habits. Dedicate the first week of the year to shopping around for the best deals on your must-pay monthly bills.

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Each season provides some unique money-saving efforts, from staycations in summer to homemade goodies rather than that top-price vino at holiday parties.

Spring Will Come Eventually

Spring can be an optimal time for saving money. The break in the weather can open the door to earning some extra cash through odd jobs, money you can tuck aside in a savings account. Consider walking dogs or rolling up your shirtsleeves to do handyman or yard work that other people just can't (or don't want to) find the time for.

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Or put your energy into your own home now that it's getting warmer. Dedicate some time to patching up holes, fissures and cracks that let warm air escape in the winter and cool air in the summer months. Your utility bill budget will show incremental savings that you will be thankful for in summer and winter.

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Then there's that tax refund. You know the drill. Save it in an emergency fund, or use it to pay down those high-interest credit cards. Or perhaps better yet, set a day aside to make sure you have your paycheck withholding just right so you're not having more in the way of taxes withheld from your paychecks all year than you have to.

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Consider also:Why Does Financial Wellness Matter?

Those Lazy Days of Summer

Summer is the perfect season to save on your entertainment spending. Communities often host concerts, festivals and sporting events that you and your family can attend for free, or close to it. And depending on your location, you probably have access to hiking trails, beaches or even public parks. Pack a lunch and carry along your own bottled water, all in service of meeting your personal finance goal.

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A staycation might not be something you want to commit to every year, but you can save some serious money if you cut back on your travel plans to explore your own city or hometown instead. At least do a diligent search to compare airfare if you really do want to head off to parts unknown. You'll find the best deals if you check all the airline websites independently rather than using third-party searches.

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Consider also:Is There Fun in Your Budget?

Bring on That Turkey

And then there's Thanksgiving, the harbinger of the spend-money season. That turkey dinner doesn't have to doom your savings plan. You might think of volunteering your time at a shelter rather than break the month's grocery budget on a meal that no one can eat in one sitting anyway.

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Autumn is also a great time to begin your holiday shopping. You won't be tempted to grab something off the shelf that comes with a sky-high price because the calendar is ticking down and it might sell out. Don't wait until the very end of the year. Spread out your purchases over a couple of months in advance and avoid a cash-crunch in December.

It's not too late to start, and there's always next year.

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