While you cannot manipulate the economy, you have power over your own actions. Instead of waiting for ideal conditions to materialize, take charge and implement change.
While you cannot manipulate the economy, you have power over your own actions. Instead of waiting for ideal conditions to materialize, take charge and implement change. It’s not necessary to wait for the perfect moment to start saving money. Postponing will only result in a never-ending waiting game. Therefore, embrace the present and kick off your financial journey today. Hailing the equilibrium, below are ten ways to handle your finances.
The simple secret to saving money
Pay off your debt
The most crucial step in building up your savings is by repaying your debts. If you channel all your paychecks towards settling your debts, you won’t have enough funds to save adequately. Moreover, the interest on your debts usually outpaces the returns earned in traditional savings accounts, making debt reduction the smartest way to maximize your money. Once you’ve paid off your debts, you can redirect the money you previously paid towards your savings account.
It’s essential to avoid the temptation of carrying a debt balance, especially with credit cards. If you merely pay the minimum amount due, it may take years to become debt-free. Furthermore, credit card interest rates can skyrocket, making it harder to clear your balance. Your objective should be to clear off all debt and maintain a zero balance on your credit cards.
However, having a savings account is still essential, even if you’re still paying off debts. Apart from emergency expenses, you should also save for future expenditures, such as insurance premiums. Create a budget that prioritizes debt repayment while still allowing for savings as early as possible.
Write down expenses
To begin your savings journey, the first step is to determine your current expenses accurately. Keep track of all your expenditures, including coffee runs, household essentials, cash tips, and regular bills. You can easily record these expenses using pencil and paper, simple spreadsheets, free online expense trackers, or mobile apps.
Once you have your data, sort the numbers into various categories like mortgage, groceries, and gas, and calculate the total amount for each category. Ensure that you account for all expenses, including those paid via credit card and bank statements.
Change your income tax withholding
If you find yourself receiving a substantial tax refund every year, Elio Alfonso, an assistant professor of accounting at the University of Tampa, advises that you should adjust your withholding allowance.
By doing so, Alfonso suggests that you will no longer provide the IRS with an interest-free loan without reason. Instead, you should use that money to earn interest and generate more savings for yourself. However, if you opt to receive a smaller paycheck, be sure to allocate some of that money from each pay period towards supplementing your savings.
Cancel automatic subscriptions and memberships
You have the opportunity to subscribe to various services such as Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, gym memberships, the latest box subscription, and Amazon Prime. To save money, consider cancelling subscriptions you don’t use regularly and turn off the auto-renewal feature when you make a purchase. If you end up needing the service again, only sign up if it fits within your new and improved budget.
For subscriptions you do want to keep, think about sharing them with family or friends. Some streaming services, including Netflix and Hulu, offer the option to watch your favorite content on multiple screens with an upgraded account. This approach benefits everyone involved and helps save money.
Get ready to go grocery shopping
You have the opportunity to subscribe to various services such as Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, gym memberships, the latest box subscription, and Amazon Prime. To save money, consider cancelling subscriptions you don’t use regularly and turn off the auto-renewal feature when you make a purchase. If you end up needing the service again, only sign up if it fits within your new and improved budget. For subscriptions you do want to keep, think about sharing them with family or friends. Some streaming services, including Netflix and Hulu, offer the option to watch your favorite content on multiple screens with an upgraded account. This approach benefits everyone involved and helps save money.
Pay in cash and save money
Encouraging savings can involve some psychology, and one technique is to use clear plastic and pay in cash. When you physically hand over money, you become more aware that you are spending real money. In contrast, credit or debit cards are so convenient that they can make you forget how hard you worked for your money.
When you pay in cash, try to develop a habit of setting aside any spare change and depositing it into a savings account. Even though it may be a small amount, the coins and dollars can accumulate over time. You can also do this with your checking account by rounding up the amount for each transaction to the nearest dollar and transferring the extra funds to your savings account.
Paying with cash can also help you stick to your budget. Allocate a specific amount of money for each expense category per week and put it in separate envelopes. For instance, one envelope can be for dining out, another for entertainment, and a third for fuel. If you use up all the cash in one envelope before the week is over, you’ll have to cut back on that expense until the following week. You may need to eat at home, choose a cheaper activity, or take public transportation.
Determine your financial priorities
Your savings allocation is greatly influenced by your spending and earning habits, as well as your goals. If you anticipate needing to replace your car in the coming years, it’s wise to start saving for that expense now. However, it’s also important to consider your long-term objectives, such as retirement planning. Your retirement savings should be in line with your short-term financial needs. Understanding how to prioritize your savings goals will help you allocate your savings in a meaningful way.
Participate in incentive programs
There’s no need to abandon your morning latte routine, but it’s wise to maximize your order’s value. Take advantage of any free incentive programs offered by your favorite coffee shop. Starbucks, for instance, has a user-friendly app that rewards you for spending just a few dollars in the store. Sign up to start earning rewards today. For local coffee shops, make sure they have a punch card system in place to track your purchases and earn free drinks or discounts.
Participate in incentive programs
Cable TV prices are skyrocketing, with the average monthly cost now at approximately $217 including fees, amounting to over $2,600 annually. Fortunately, there are more affordable options for watching your favorite shows. Consider using cable alternatives such as network apps and streaming services to save money.
When choosing a subscription service, be selective and only subscribe to those that you truly need. Subscribing to every service available will likely cost you more than a cable TV subscription.
Minimize your spending at the restaurant
Since eating out tends to be more expensive than cooking at home, one of the easiest ways to cut costs when you want to save more is to eat at home. If you still want to dine out, consider using a credit card that rewards you for restaurant purchases or offers discounts. Opt for appetizers to save money or share a meal with a companion. Avoid expensive drinks and desserts to stay within your budget.