Start the Year with Savings Tips

Anytime is the right time to change your habits to save money.

Though the new year is here, there's still time to put a new spin on your New Year's Resolutions and start next year with these savings tips. Did you know that if you saved $125 per month, at the end of 10 years you will have $15,000? And that doesn't even include the interest you can earn on your savings! It's true, but for many people, the prospect of cutting $125 out of the monthly budget sounds daunting. So, we've put together a list of strategies you can use to trim your expenses and maximize your savings.

Comparison Shop

Even if you don't have time to clip coupons and visit multiple stores to ensure you get the best deals on regular purchases like groceries, there are some new tools that can help you save on the larger items you purchase (like holiday gifts). Google Shopper and Amazon Mobile are two free mobile apps that allow you to compare the price of an item through different retailers. And because many retailers now offer price match guarantees, you might not even have to drive to the store advertising the lowest price (also, you can shop online). To learn more about apps that help you save money, check out 10 Best Apps for Saving Money.

Use the Library for Books and Videos

Checking books out of the library has always been a great way to save money over buying books at the bookstore. For those in a monthly book club, finding that title at your neighborhood library could save you from $120-$300 a year, depending on if your club reads new hardbacks or titles available in paperback. Now, many libraries stock eBooks and movies, so you can check those out, too, instead of buying the eBook or renting the movie.

Brew Your Coffee at Home

According to a recent survey reported by Good Morning America, the average American worker spends around $1,100 annually on coffee. Just a few trips to your local coffeehouse for a latte can add up quickly. Drinking coffee at home – while not free – could make a really big difference in terms of your annual savings.

Replace Your Vacation with a "Staycation"

According to the annual summer vacation survey by AAA, the average North American vacation costs $244 per day for two people for lodging and meals. Add a couple of kids and plane tickets and the price tag can easily reach $1,000 per day. Given those statistics, it's easy to see why the concept of a staycation – visiting a local hotel or destination instead of traveling – really took hold during the recession and continues to remain a popular way to take a break without breaking the bank.

Plant a Garden

Consumers are increasingly favoring organic, local produce – which is great, but it can be expensive. Yet you can take advantage of the local/organic produce trend by planting a bountiful garden in your yard, for a fraction of the cost.

Set up an automatic deposit to your savings account

Heard the adage that money burns a hole in your pocket? The reality is that you could probably save a lot more than you think you can if you embrace the concept of "paying yourself first." Put money into savings as a priority before discretionary spending such as entertainment, clothing, dining out, vacations and new toys. An automatic deposit to your savings account on payday is easy to set up with Regions Online Banking.

Trim your tax bill

According to a report issued by the Government Accountability Office, as many as 2.2 million taxpayers forget certain itemized deductions, resulting in overpayment of about $438 per taxpayer on average. Regions Online Banking has partnered with TaxSlayer to make filing your taxes easy. Plus, the Regions Tax Center offers how-to articles, tips, calculators and more to help you ensure that you're paying Uncle Sam only what you owe.

Make your home more energy-efficient

There are some big changes you can make to cut down your energy bill at home – like installing solar panels. But there are also small changes – like a programmable thermostat, for example – that can help you save on energy costs. Plus, there many utilities and states offer incentives for increasing your energy efficiency; some will cover the cost of efficiency upgrades. Learn more about an energy audit in Save with a Home Energy Efficiency Assessment.

Revisit your insurance policies

It's good practice to revisit your insurance coverage at least every other year. In part, you'll be checking to ensure that you have enough coverage, but you'll also be checking to make sure that you're not over-covered (if you are, you're probably over-paying in premiums). You should also take the opportunity to comparison shop among different insurance providers.

Refinance your mortgage

Over the past few years mortgage rates have fallen dramatically. Rates on conventional 30-year mortgages are under 3.5 percent, and FHA mortgage rates are below 3 percent. According to the Time to Refinance? calculator, if you have a $175,000 mortgage that is currently at 5 percent and you refinance into a new 30-year fixed mortgage at 3.5 percent, you could save $457 per month. Of course, there are costs to refinance (closing costs), so refinancing doesn't always make sense; for an assessment of your situation, please contact a Regions Mortgage Loan Officer.