11 Tips to Stretch Your Dollars in the New Year

Are you feeling the pinch of higher food and fuel prices? Perhaps your budget needs constant revisions because of these higher costs, but you’re running out of ideas to make your money go further in 2024. So here are 11 tips on how to stretch your dollars in the new year.

Track your spending. If you’ve never figured out where your money goes, you’ll have difficulty seeing where you can cut back. Most experts recommend tracking every penny spent for a month to see potential money pits. And yes, this includes those monthly subscriptions that you probably forgot about, like streaming services, Apple Music, or DoorDash.

Develop a budget. Once you understand where your money is being spent each month, it will be easier to devise a workable spending plan. Be sure to build in a little margin for those unexpected expenses. Everyone should aim to have an emergency fund of at least $1,000 for car repairs or medical bills.

Buy with cash. Having to hand over actual dollars and cents can make you think twice about that $10 latte. So whenever possible, shop in person with cash. Try bringing only cash with you to the store. Leave your credit card or bank card at home. Scary, right? Carrying cash forces you to commit to your pre-determined budget and can prevent overspending on impulse buys.

Make a list. Whether it’s the grocery store or a big box store, you’ll spend less if you write down what you’ll buy—and stick to it once you’re inside the store.

Rent your place. As a traveling healthcare professional, you are often gone from your home base for weeks or even months at a time. Consider offering your pad as a short-term rental during those times through rental apps like Airbnb or Flipkey.

Adjust your thermostat. Get a programmable thermostat to control your heating and cooling inside your home. These can help you shave dollars off your utility bill, especially if you program it to hold steady at lower temperatures in the winter (or higher temps in the summer) when you’re not at home. Then, when you are home, knock it up or down a degree or two and see how much you’ll save.

Invest in ceiling fans and portable fans in warmer months to keep the air circulating and feeling cooler while the A/C hums along at a higher temperature.

Unplug unused appliances. Unplugging appliances you won’t use when you’re away from home can save your electric bill. Energy drainers include TVs, microwaves, coffeemakers, and computers. Also, turn off lights when leaving rooms. Put a few lights on timers to come on in the evenings for security while away instead of keeping them on constantly.

Eat more at home. Yes, grocery store prices have risen, but so have restaurant prices. A fast food meal for one person could easily run you $12-$15. Whether traveling or at home, plan to cook and eat meals rather than pick up something from a restaurant. Before a trip, plan out your meals (and snacks) with a grocery list so you can easily cook your food wherever you are posted. Your waistline and your budget will thank you. Also, incorporate more vegetarian meals into your weekly planning to further extend your food dollars.

Shop discounts. Healthcare professionals don’t have to break the bank to purchase scrubs and other job essentials. In fact, we put together healthcare discounts guides just for you!

🎁 Allied Health/Hospital Worker Discount Guide
🎁 Nurse Discount Guide 

Make it a practice to never pay full price for your work essentials. Don’t forget to follow travel nurse influencers on social media – they often have specific promo codes for 10 or 20 percent off select items.

Pare down transportation. Could your family survive on one vehicle? Do you need to rent a vehicle for your travel assignment? Consider how you could save on commuting costs, including selling one of your cars, taking public transportation, and bundling errands. If the weather is decent, think about getting around town on a bicycle (saves on gas and you get a great workout)!

Buy generic. Whenever you can, buy the store brand or the less-expensive option rather than the name-brand item. Many grocery stores have excellent store brands priced significantly less than national brands. Make it a habit to regularly try the store or cheaper brands to see if you can tell the difference in the product. Make it fun by doing a blindfold taste test between brands – you might be surprised which you like better.

Saving money doesn’t have to mean depriving yourself of the comforts of home. Instead, try one or two things per week from this list, and soon you’ll see your dollars stretching even further in the next 12 months.




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