The holiday season is an excellent time of the year – time with family and friends, attending or hosting parties, gift giving and extensive travel are typical holiday activities and we can all agree that these are, for the most part, enjoyable. Even so, the holidays can also put a damper on some individuals. With all these enjoyable activities also comes excessive spending and blown budgets, meaning the start to the year seems less than optimistic. Even if the financial goals that worked toward last year were set aside or completely ignored through the holiday season, there is light at the end of the financial tunnel. Here are some tips on how to save money for the upcoming year.

Mortgage or Loan Refinancing

If you are a homeowner, your mortgage is most likely the highest payment made each and every month, and it is a cost that cannot be avoided. In an effort to save money, though, a refinance could put dollars back in your wallet. The current interest rates are historically low which presents an opportunity for lower cost borrowing. If your credit history is good, you may be able to reduce the interest rate on your mortgage and ultimately, lower your monthly payment. If you do not own a home, refinancing for a lower rate can also be done on personal loans, helping you save money on total repayment and increasing your cash-flow each month.

Savings and Investments

Another tip on how to save money is directly related to setting money aside each month. That may sound counterintuitive, but saving for specific goals or major purchases helps reduce the possibility of adding to credit card balances which can quickly get expensive. If you know you are taking a long holiday or are purchasing a new car, start setting aside extra cash each month in a high yield savings account or a low-risk investment and use it for that intended goal only. In an effort to get ready for the 2015 holiday season, establish a separate savings account that is meant specifically for holiday gifts, parties and travel. This is a great tool in how to save money throughout the year.

Cut Excess Spending

The most important step in how to save money is establishing a realistic, but fluid budget. Once you have determined how much you have to spend each month, start to review what you may be able to cut out. A $5 latte each morning could be set aside for longer-term goals, and that cost savings will add up quickly. You can also set a specific budget for entertainment or clothing each month and be diligent about staying under that amount.

These smart tips on how to save money can be used any time throughout the year, but starting out 2015 with a clear financial agenda should help you from having regrets about your spending for the next holiday season.