weather icon Partly Cloudy

The 5 best saving tips for 2016

It’s the start of the new year, and many people are recovering from post-holiday shopping debt and putting together a list of resolutions for 2016. If saving money is on your list of goals for this year, you’re not alone. Money goals came in third on the list of resolutions, according to a report by Statistic Brain Research Institute.

Sometimes, keeping a New Year’s resolution is easier said than done — in fact, 8 percent of people who make resolutions are successful in achieving them, according to Statistic Brain. When it comes to money-saving tactics, it’s best to set specific and achievable goals for yourself in order to stick to your commitment, as people who make explicit resolutions are 10 times more likely accomplish their goals than those who do not.

This year, plan to get ahead of the game by focusing on financial trends that you can anticipate in advance. Here’s a roundup of expert advice on how to save money in 2016, based on current and predicted events.

1. Invest in Your Health
Commit to two New Year’s resolutions at once — vow to invest in your health in order to invest in your financial future. Nate Michaels of personal finance blog HackingYourBudget.com recommended focusing on your health to save money on medical expenses.

“Investing in your health is a long-term challenge, but there are still short-term gains that can realized by not getting sick and spending money on doctors’ visits, (not) having to fill costly prescriptions and not having to miss work,” Michaels said. “While some of this investment can come in the way of food — Harvard suggests it costs $1.50 extra per day to eat healthy — it is also important to remember that you can find savings by using your time for exercise. Cut out the monthly gym expense and enjoy the outdoors; it’s free.”

In addition to improving health to decrease medical expenses, it’s more important than ever to make sure you are properly insured in case any medical emergencies do come up. Not to mention, according to Healthcare.gov, if you can afford health insurance but choose not to enroll, you’ll have to pay what’s called an individual shared responsibility payment fee. Plus, you could pay more out of pocket when emergencies do arise if you aren’t covered by insurance.

The open enrollment period for anyone without health insurance closes on Jan. 31. If you are currently employed and enrolled in an employer-sponsored plan, be sure to know when your open enrollment period is scheduled. Take a look at how your plan might be changing, and what that could mean for your premium, deductible and other expenses.

2. Watch What You Eat
Food prices fluctuate each year, and if you pay attention to trends, you could save a significant amount of money at the grocery store. Supermarket food prices are expected to rise 2 to 3 percent in 2016, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service.

This predicted increase is based on an assumption of normal weather conditions. However, severe weather or other unforeseen events could drive up food prices even more. On the other hand, if oil prices remain low, decreases in production and transportation costs could ultimately translate into lower retail food prices on grocery stores shelves, according to the report. It’s also helpful to know which 2015 events could continue to affect the price of food in the new year.

“The poultry industry is still recovering from avian flu, so eggs will be more expensive, and higher demand on full-fat dairy products and all types of meat will have the same effect,” said Benjamin K. Glaser, features editor at DealNews.com. “Also, extended drought in many growing regions around the world — including California, Brazil and West Africa — is leading to shortages of items, including chocolate, avocados and almonds.”

3. Use Your Tax Refund Wisely
Tax season is right around the corner, and it’s the perfect opportunity to bank major savings. Scott Smith, president of CreditRepair.com, recommended using tax refunds to create or increase an emergency fund.

“Savings equals security, and living without an emergency fund is a risk that nobody should take,” he said. “Maintaining at least three to six months’ worth of income will shelter you from credit-busting events like unemployment, increased cost of living, medical emergencies and home or auto damage … Those who earn higher income should set the bar at a 12-month savings.”

Whatever income bracket you’re in, the point of an emergency fund should be to break the cycle of debt and build financial security, said Smith. It’s better to dip into your savings rather than use credit, but be sure to build your savings back up again, he added.

The 2016 tax season is scheduled to begin Jan. 19, and this year the deadline to file a tax return is April 18, rather than the traditional April 15. File your taxes as soon as possible to get ahead of the game.

4. Put Your Raise to Good Use
If you get any type of annual raise, cost of living adjustment (COLA) or bonus in 2016, put that money straight into savings. If you receive a bonus, use all or a portion of that money to either pay off your debt, or add to your emergency fund. If you receive a raise or COLA, calculate how much more money you’ll see in each paycheck, and use the out-of-sight, out-of-mind savings method.

“Almost without fail, my No. 1 tip for saving is automate, automate, automate — or what I sometimes call the … out-of-sight, out-of-mind savings model,” said Jeff Jones, associate financial planner at Longview Financial Advisors, Inc. “If you want to save, have an amount deposited into a separate account directly from your paycheck.”

The key to success with this savings tactic is to use an account that isn’t visible when you log into your bank account online, he added. If you sock away the money and it isn’t too easily accessible, your savings could stand a better chance of growing.

5. Pay Off Your Credit Card Debt
In December, the Federal Reserve announced it would raise short-term interest rates for the first time since the financial crisis, according to The New York Times. Because credit card interest rates typically are not fixed, they can be vulnerable to changes from the Fed. If you have credit card debt, you could see an immediate increase in interest rates, which will ultimately increase the amount you have to pay off each month, according to Forbes.

Paying down your debt can help you save more money in the long run — as you reduce your balance, you reduce expensive interest charges. One helpful strategy is to try paying off your debt one step at a time, said financial attorney, debt expert and author Leslie Tayne, of Tayne Law Group, P.C.

“It is important not to dwell on your credit card debt or become stressed out,” she said. “Instead, confront debt head-on by identifying which credit card has the highest interest rate, and making it your goal to first swiftly pay off the credit card bearing the highest interest rate.”

She recommended paying double the minimum whenever it’s possible. Then, when you’ve paid off the credit card with the highest interest rate, repay the balance of the next card, and continue until you’ve paid off all your credit cards, she said.

From GoBankingRates.com: The 5 best savings tips in 2016

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Business Videos
How much do Las Vegas casino CEOs make?
Las Vegas gaming CEOs made anywhere between $1 million and $24 million last year, according to company filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. ((Las Vegas Review-Journal)
30-year-old Rio needs a little TLC
Nearly 30 years after the Rio opened, the red and blue jewel that helped catapult Las Vegas to a new level with its buffet and nightclub has lost its status along with its shine.
The latest on the Drew Las Vegas - VIDEO
Eli Segall recounts his tour of the Drew Las Vegas, formerly the Fontainebleau, on the Las Vegas Strip. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pinball Hall of Fame to move near south Strip
Operators of the Pinball Hall of Fame have been approved to build a new, larger arcade near the south edge of the Strip on Las Vegas Boulevard near Russel Road. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
National Hardware Show underway Las Vegas
The National Hardware Show kicked off Tuesday at the Las Vegas Convention Center (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Caesars for sale?
Caesars Entertainment Corp. has been swept up in takeover speculation since the company’s share price tumbled last year amid disappointing earnings and concerns over a recession. Amid the decline, hedge funds scooped up shares. Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn began buying shares of Caesars as early as January. Icahn acquired nearly 18 percent by mid-March. In February Icahn called on the Caesars board to study a sale as a way to boost shareholder value.
Las Vegas home prices
Las Vegas home prices grew fastest among major markets in February for the ninth straight month. But amid affordability concerns, the growth rate has slowed down. Southern Nevada prices in February were up 9.7% from a year earlier, according to the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index. The last time Las Vegas' price growth fell below 10% was in September 2017, S&P Dow Jones Indices reported.
Free Parking Coming To Wynn
Free parking will come to the Wynn and Encore resorts on May 1, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Founding Venetian employees talk about 20 years at the Strip resort
The Venetian, which opened May 3, 1999, is celebrating 20 years on the Las Vegas Strip. Seven original employees talk about opening the luxury resort and working there for two decades. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Circa aiming for December 2020 opening
The 1.25-million-square-foot property will have 44-stories and 777-rooms. It will also have a separate nine-story, 1,201-space parking garage.
Boxabl official explains the building concept
Boxabl business development manager Galiano Tiramani shows off a room built by his company. (Blake Apgar/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TI/Mirage Tram reopens
The tram that shuttles guests between TI and Mirage reopened this week after being closed for much of 2018.
Las Vegas Convention Center expansion taking shape
Renderings and actual footage show how the Las Vegas Convention Center is evolving.
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz at Las Vegas convention
Former Starbucks CEO and potential presidential candidate Howard Schultz spoke at the Epicor Insights user conference at Mandalay Bay Convention Center Wednesday, April 17, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Drew Las Vegas to open in the second quarter of 2022
The 67-story Drew Las Vegas is slated to open in the second quarter of 2022 at the north end of the Las Vegas Strip. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NAB Day 1 (Time Lapse)
NAB kicked off at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Monday, April 8, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
National Association of Broadcasters Show shows 1mm thick 8K TV with 22.2 channel digital sound
Japan’s NHK Science & Technology Research Laboratories booth featured a 1mm thick 8K TV system used in conjunction with a 22.2 channel digital sound system at the National Association of Broadcasters Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Nevada shoppers react to Smith’s no longer accepting Visa credit cards
On March 1, Smith’s announced that it would no longer be accepting Visa credit cards at any of its 142 supermarkets, including the 45 in Nevada.
Massachusetts Gaming Commission asks how long Wynn executives knew about misconduct
Business reporter Rick Velotta gives an update on the adjudicatory hearing on the suitability of Wynn Resorts to retain its gaming license in Massachusetts.
Henderson app developer part of Startup in Residence
Henderson based developers of the app On Point Barricade are taking part in Startup in Residence, a North America program dedicated to pairing tech companies with governments. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Sam's Town employees and customers talk of their love for the iconic casino
Longtime Sam's Town employees and customers love each other and love their casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas apartments rents
Las Vegas’ apartment market has accelerated in recent years. Developers are packing the suburbs with projects, landlords are on a buying spree, and tenants have filled buildings.
William Boyd talks about the birth of Sam's Town
On the eve of the 40th anniversary of Sam's Town, William Boyd, executive chairman of Boyd Gaming and son of hotel namesake Sam Boyd, talks about how the casino became one of the first local properties in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
High Roller observation wheel turns five
The world’s tallest observation wheel celebrates it’s fifth year on Sunday, March 31, 2019. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Escape Room Industry Growing In Las Vegas
Escapology employees discuss the growing escape room industry in the U.S. and Las Vegas. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Impact of parking fees on visiting the Las Vegas Strip
There are no data showing a relationship between Strip resort and parking fees and the number of out-of-state visitors to Las Vegas. But there are data showing a relationship between Strip parking fees and the number of local visitors to the the Strip. ‘’As a local, I find myself picking hotels I visit for dinner or entertainment, based on whether they charge for parking or not,”’ said David Perisset, the owner of Exotics Racing. ‘’It is not a matter of money, more of principle.’’ A 2018 survey by the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance found 36.9 percent of Clark County residents reported avoiding parking at Strip casinos that charge for parking. 29.1 percent reported avoiding using any services from a Strip casino that charges for parking.
MGM's sports betting deals
MGM Resorts International signed a sports betting sponsorship agreement with the NBA in July It was the first professional sports league to have official ties with a legal sports betting house. The deal came just two months after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a law prohibiting sports betting in most states. In October, MGM became the first gaming company to sign a sports betting partnership with the NHL. In November, MGM became the first gaming company to sign a sports betting partnership with the MLB. Financial terms of Tuesday’s deal and earlier partnerships have not been announced.
Faraday puts Las Vegas land on the market
Nearly two years after Faraday Future bailed on its North Las Vegas auto factory, the company has put its land up for sale. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
El Cortez owner Kenny Epstein on running the iconic property
Kenny Epstein, owner of the El Cortez Hotel in downtown Las Vegas, talks about Jackie Gaughan mentorship and answers rumors about bodies in the basement at the mob-era casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
LVCVA recommends construction of underground people mover
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority announced the recommendation for an underground people mover for the convention center. The system would have the potential to expand and connect Downtown and the resort corridor all the way to McCarran. (Michael Quine/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada’s real estate industry blamed wrong enemy when bubble burst

State lawmakers approved a bill in 2015 — a decade after Las Vegas’ wild building spree — that raised barriers to pursuing lawsuits alleging shoddyconstruction. A measure now working its way through the Democratic-controlled Legislature would wipe out or change provisions of that law.

CEOs get $800K pay raise, leaving workers further behind

Pay for CEOs at S&P 500 companies rose to a median of $12 million last year, including salary, stock and other compensation, according to data analyzed by Equilar.