It’s the beginning of 2018 and if you’re anything like everyone else you’ve set some goals for yourself. Losing weight, quitting smoking or any number of resolutions that may or may not happen. Personally, I’m continuing my resolution from last year. Say sorry less. It seems easy but you’d be surprised. Anyway, another popular resolution is to save money, and that can be a lot harder than replacing “sorry” with “thank you for understanding”. So here are a few helpful tips and tricks.
- Set up an automatic draft of $5 or $10 out of your pay check directly into a savings account. This may not seem like a lot, but if you can afford to stash back $10 a week then when 2019 rolls around you’ll have $520 stashed back for the year. Not a lot of money but it’s sitting in a savings account that generates interest.
- Take part in the Year Long Weekly Money Saving Challenge. This one has some pros and cons that a lot of people like to argue over, but here’s the concept. On week 1 of the year you drop $1 into a jar or envelop. On week 2 of the year you add $2 to the savings. Now you’ll have $3. On week 3 you add $3 and end up with $5. Getting the idea? It’s pretty straight forward. Finally on week 52 when you add $52 to your savings you’ll have $1,378 set aside. The pro to this challenge is you’ll have cash available if you really need it. A few cons include you earn no interest and you’ll be more tempted to dig into it for less than noble reasons.
- Juggle the bills. Look at your monthly expenses. There are a few that are mandatory and others that aren’t. You most likely need a cell phone, but are you paying more than you should? Same goes for streaming TV, like Netflix or Hulu. Ask yourself if you can consolidate your bills. When was the last time you shopped around for a better cell phone plan? Do you really need to spend $50 a month on four different streaming programs? Most people find they can free up at least $5 a month doing this an sometimes much more. It may not seem like much, but it adds up.
- Meal planning. If you have the time to cook at home do it as often as you can. Make out a grocery list once a week or once a month and buy what you’ll need to make those meals. Buying in bulk can save a lot of money. And remember you don’t have to have a first class meal every night. Splurge here and there but try to buy the healthiest foods for the best price. It’s a balancing act, but the work is worth the pay off.
- Set a budget for your monthly luxuries. Love video games? Have a reading addiction? That’s okay. You can enjoy those while you save. Personally I set a book buying budget every month and refuse to go over that budget. This type of budget can be created for any luxury. Just make yourself stay in line with it.
- Set some goals for your savings. This isn’t actively going to save money, but it will help you keep on track. Buying a house and need to save up the down payment? Looking forward to a new car? Want the latest tech gadget? Keep that in mind anytime you go to spend money you don’t have to spend.
Those are six money saving tips and there are tons money to be found online. From better budgeting to forced drafting you can save money as long as you roll up your sleeves and try. Sometimes life happens and the bills can’t get paid when they need to be. If you find yourself with that problem every month you may need to sit down with your bills and your pay stub and work on downsizing or finding a higher paying job. As long as you take steps to fix money issues there is no shame in it. It’s called taking charge and everyone has to do it at some point.
Best of luck!