Making changes in a New Year is an old topic that is reborn every January. While some tips still hold water, there are many inspiring and positive strategies toward seeing your finances in a new way - just in time for the New Year. These habits are not only possible to implement at any income bracket, but they also make sense. (For more, see Financial New Year's Resolutions You Can Keep.)

IN PICTURES: 8 Easy Ways To Slash Your Holiday Budget

Know Your Worth

All the coupon-clipping and frugal living tips in the world won't save you a significant amount of money, if you're unaware of what your time is valued at. Even homemakers and students have an hourly worth that could make some extreme savings recommendations a waste of time and effort. To better understand if making your own laundry soap or sewing a pair of jeans is a good investment, calculate how long it takes, along with your true hourly wage. (For more, see What's Your Net Worth Telling You?)

Budget in your Credit Card Purchases
Many consumers love their credit cards and use it responsibly enough to make almost every purchase with the swipe of plastic. Even if you pay your cards off every month, however, it can be easy to lose track of purchases and be unaware of just how much you are spending in each budget category. By committing to the practice of placing each and every credit card transaction into the proper budget category (clothes, dining out, entertainment, etc.) you not only guarantee that you'll have the funds to pay it off after 30 days, but you'll also get a grip on which budget categories are the biggest barriers to retirement savings, vacation funds or paying your mortgage off early.

IN PICTURES: Debunking 10 Budget Myths

Delay Gratification

A killer sale (and the resulting impulsive purchase) isn't just hazardous to your financial health, it can wreak havoc on your storage spaces, as well. Before you drop dollars on that must-have seasonal look for 40% off, spend a day to think on it. By making the habit of giving a 24-hour cooling-off period to all non-essential buys, you give yourself time to shake off the rush of the deal, and avoid buyer's remorse down the road. Since many "one-day only sales" don't offer significant savings over weekly promotions, you'll rarely miss out on that ideal price by waiting a bit longer.

Beg, Borrow and Barter

Many of us have too much pride to ask a friend or co-worker for a loan, even if it is to simply borrow a garden tool for the weekend. If you find that you'll only need something for a very short while and will only using it once or even annually, borrowing may be a good way to go. If asking outright (and for free) makes you feel like a mooch, offer to rent the item instead. Use the internet to research rates from rental facilities or break down the cost of a new item into 52 weeks to get a reasonable per weekly rate. If your friend or co-worker won't take cash, offer an exchange of services or dinner.

Document Experiences
People today tend to do too much, spending all kinds of cash on movies, trips and adventures that often get forgotten with the next big experience. In order to truly appreciate where your entertainment and travel money has gone, it may be necessary to document it. Whether you keep a scrapbook, write a blog, or just organize all your photos in a computer file that you can easily access later, it will help to remind you how much you enjoyed that $1,000 weekend getaway or the dinner party that set you back a week's salary. Even if you're frugal with your experiences and rarely feel the need to spend on lavish outings, it's a wonderful exercise in thankfulness that can make the satisfaction from a recent excursion last a little longer. (It will also help to remind children and family members why it's not necessary to take another trip anytime soon.) (For more, see 5 Holiday Gifts That Keep On Giving.)

The Bottom Line
Habits take a while to form, and New Year's resolutions are no exception. Before you become overwhelmed with all the ways to start your new financial calendar on the right foot, pick one you can do today - with little effort - and begin putting it into place right away. If you can successfully implement just one of these ideas into your lifestyle, the positive changes may encourage you to pursue other positive habits.

For the latest financial news, see Water Cooler Finance: FBI Insider-Trading Bust.

Related Articles
  1. Investing

    7 Creative Ways to Save for an Early Retirement

    Take note of these out of the box steps you can take towards securing yourself an earlier, more comfortable retirement.
  2. Retirement

    Birch Box Review: Is It Worth It?

    Learn more about the convenience of the subscription beauty box industry, and discover why the Birchbox company in particular has become so popular.
  3. Personal Wealth & Private Banking

    Women, Invest In Your Financial Literacy

    Becoming financially literate should be on the to-do list of anyone who is not.
  4. Savings

    How to Save Your First $100,000

    Saving your first $100,000 requires the discipline to put money away and control your spending. But just remember – the savings get bigger as you go.
  5. Retirement

    3 Reasons Why This Is the Perfect Time To Visit Greece

    Discover three reasons why now is the best time to visit Greece, including the favorable exchange rate and the country's unrivaled hospitality.
  6. Home & Auto

    What are The Best Ways to Save on Moving Costs?

    Because buying a house isn’t cheap, funds might be limited during your move. So, to avoid additional stress, here are seven money saving tips.
  7. Budgeting

    How Much Rent Can You Afford on $50K a Year?

    Before you go apartment hunting, spend some time calculating a price range that works for you. Here's how.
  8. Personal Finance

    Tips for Talking About Money at Every Step of a Relationship

    How much you talk about money differs, depending on the stage of the relationship.
  9. Retirement

    Living in the Dominican Republic on $1,000 a Month

    Determine whether a $1,000 monthly budget is enough to live comfortably and safely in the Dominican Republic, an island nation located in Caribbean waters.
  10. Home & Auto

    Living in China on $1,000 a Month

    Learn how you can live comfortably on a $1,000 monthly budget in China, a country known around the world for its growing economic power.
  1. How does a bank determine what my discretionary income is when making a loan decision?

    Discretionary income is the money left over from your gross income each month after taking out taxes and paying for necessities. ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is the range of deductibles offered with various health insurance plans?

    A wide range of possible deductibles are available with health insurance plans, starting as low as a few hundred dollars ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How do I know how much of my income should be discretionary?

    While there is no hard rule for how much of a person's income should be discretionary, Inc. magazine points out that it would ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What proportion of my income should I put into my demand deposit account?

    Generally speaking, aim to keep between two months and six months worth of your fixed expenses in your demand deposit accounts. ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How do I use the rule of 72 to estimate compounding periods?

    The rule of 72 is best used to estimate compounding periods that are factors of two (2, 4, 12, 200 and so on). This is because ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How much risk is associated with subprime mortgages?

    A large amount of risk is associated with subprime mortgages. Since the mortgages are specifically for people who do not ... Read Full Answer >>
Trading Center