Saving money and sticking to a budget in 2020

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Saving money is always one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions, but people may struggle to decide where to trim their budget.

Denver financial literacy expert Rachel Namoff said groceries are one of the biggest expenses where people can find savings.

Namoff suggested skipping processed, packaged and pre-made foods and opting instead for whole foods, which are less expensive.

Those looking to save may also want to pass on organic foods, since many non-organic foods are just as healthy. Buying less meat can also save money. Namoff said consumers should aim to buy seasonal produce, which is in high supply, so often cheaper. She said buying in bulk can often be cheaper, but be sure to compare the price per pound with smaller quantities.

One thing to do before you even go to the store is make a list of what you need and what you don’t need.

“Before you even go to the store, shop your pantry,” she said. “What do you have in your pantry? What do you have in your freezer that has been there, that hopefully isn’t expired, that you can use and save that way?”

She said Americans waste 25 percent of the food they buy on average.

Cutting spending on groceries can help you save for other priorities in 2020. Namoff said one big expense for many people is a family vacation. She said vacations are worth the money, as long as you plan ahead for the costs.

“Taking time out of your routine, whether that’s a lavish trip or just going camping — just having that time to disconnect and really connect with family and connect with yourself is super important,” Namoff said.

If you’re planning a vacation in 2020, Namoff advises researching the fixed costs like plane tickets and activity prices. Other items, like food and lodging, may be more flexible. Namoff suggests looking for hotels that offer free meals, or restaurants where kids eat free. She urges families to take a set amount of cash on their trip to help them stick to a budget.