We recently asked mem­bers of the North­eastern com­mu­nity to vote on which New Year’s res­o­lu­tions they’re taking up—and among the top vote get­ters was “save more, spend less.”

Here, per­sonal finance expert Tim­othy Gagnon, assis­tant aca­d­emic spe­cialist of accounting in the D’Amore McKim School of Busi­ness, offers tips to help you achieve this goal.

•    Track your expenses for a week and see where your money goes, then cut back (not out) the unnec­es­sary expenses. Do you need four cups of coffee at Star­bucks each day, or would two do?

•    Pay cash—yes, it does exist—for all expenses for a week to see how much you spend. Debit cards and credit cards allow you to spend without thinking because you do not see the bal­ance on an ongoing basis.

•    When making large pur­chases: Find what you want, then go home for a week and think about it. That way you have a cooling-​​off period during which to reflect on whether you really need it.

•    Watch impulse pur­chases; it’s the old adage that you do not do gro­cery shop­ping on an empty stomach. You will buy what you do not need and blow the budget. Make a list—or eat first.

•    Do a budget and then track your expenses to it. See how real­istic you are about your spending, and then think of how to get a better grasp.

•    Rec­on­cile the checking account and review your debit and credit pur­chases monthly. Deter­mine if each pur­chase was nec­es­sary or worked toward your goal.
•    Allow your­self some money each week for going wild, but do not exceed that amount. By doing so, you will think before you spend it since you will not have enough for some­thing else later.

•    Start and fund your IRA early. Even use this year’s tax refund to fund next year’s IRA, or take out a little from each pay­check so it is not such a large number in April.

•   Fund your 401(k) at least to the level at which you will get the employer’s max­imum con­tri­bu­tion, and each time you get a raise, take half of it and put it in your 401(k) to increase your funding.

•    Have money auto­mat­i­cally directed to a sav­ings account out of each pay­check so it will not be spent before you save. Also, check your tax with­holding in your check and if you are over-​​withholding, then reduce the with­holding and send it to a sav­ings account or your retire­ment savings.