Ways to cut spending and still have fun in the New Year

The New Year is like a time of reckoning. With all the holiday celebrations passed, you’re forced to take stock of the weight you’ve gained and the money you’ve squandered. Which is why it’s a perfect time to figure out how you can cut back in several areas over the next 12 months. The good news is you can get cash-smart without giving up all your indulgences and social activities. Here are six ways to cut spending and still have fun in the New Year

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Sign up for discount newsletters

We know they clutter up your inbox, but you can often find some stellar steals ranging from entertainment discounts to clothing sales. Or visit any number of the discount sites in Australia, including Spreets, which lets you sign up by major city, Catch of the Day and OurDeal.

You can still shop–but do it alone

Whether it’s clothes browsing or grocery shopping, having a tag-along makes it more likely that you’ll overspend, says CreditGuard.com.au. You know how it goes — you take your best girlfriend to the mall, and all of a sudden you’re telling each other how cute you’d look in 75 different things, 20 of which you give no thought to putting on your credit card. Bringing your partner or kids to the grocery store ups the chances that you’ll cave to their cravings and spend money needlessly.

Go generic where you can

Again, there’s plenty you can still eat and buy, but make it a point to seek out the generic brands when you can. We know some of this store brand stuff doesn’t taste or look the same as its more expensive brand name, but you won’t see much of a different in things like sandwich bread and toothpaste.

Some items you’ll want to actually splurge on, especially paper products like toilet tissue and towels, whose cheaper varieties come apart easier and run out faster.

Start a dinner party group

Going out to dinner is fun, but not when it can cost $50 to $100 if you have drinks and dessert. Still get your social fix by rotating hosting dinner parties with your friends. Each person can bring a dish and a drink and you can gobble and gab long into the night. Visit NineMSN’s Recipe Finder or Taste.com.au’s entertaining section for ideas on menus and themes.

Get online to get travel deals

You’ll save money if you arrange hotel accommodation online, says CreditcardFinder. You can also get access to web-only specials that people booking offline miss out on. Signing up for emails from travel sites like Zuji can keep you in the know on special deals.

Buy entertainment in bulk

Ticket coupon books and bulk movie tickets pave the pave to inexpensive entertainment. Also look for discount days — Tuesdays in Sydney, movie theatre are known to slashe movie ticket prices.

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