Smart Quiz: You Can Save Money When…
- You Retire
- Kids Are Grown
- You Decide To
- Car is Paid Off
Answer: You Decide To
Imagine if you had some extra cash left over at the end of the month and all the bills were paid. Even a few extra dollars can seem like a lot if you’ve been struggling to make ends meet. No matter what your financial situation, however, you can decide to save money, starting right now. Cutting back on expenses, finding ways to slash bills and creating an easy-to-use budget are great ways to start!
Readjusting Payment Dates
If you or someone you know is struggling to pay their bills on time or doesn’t have enough money to meet due dates on a regular basis, you know how hard it is setting money aside for savings. You can’t save if your cash is not flowing in the right direction. If this sounds familiar, maybe your spending and monthly budget need revamping.
One culprit could be that all the bills are due around the same time each month. An easy remedy is to call your creditors and see if they can change the due date so it’s coordinated with your paycheck for an easier payment schedule. Many utility companies will do this as long as you have a low balance and a solid payment history.
Select an Easy-to-follow Budget Method
Set up a monthly budget that designates exactly where the funds will go. There are several plans you could use, but try incorporating the 50/30/20 rule. This breaks down as:
- 50 percent toward basic needs such as shelter, food and transportation costs
- 30 percent added for wants that include entertainment, cable, travel and gift giving
- 20 percent contribution into savings
Not every household is equipped to follow this rule, so feel free to tweak yours as needed. But do yourself a favor and make a plan to follow this rule. It can be something as simple as setting one percent aside for savings. It’s not 20 percent, but it is a start! All in all, it can give you a good understanding of where your money is going and how to set a savings goal for the end of the month.
Slash Monthly Bills
Look at your monthly obligations. Are any of those bills negotiable? Here are some things to take a closer look at:
- Call your cell phone and cable provider. You can often save money by bundling services together or eliminating what you can. Cut back on premium channels or ditch cable and switch to a streaming service like Netflix for cheaper movie choices.
- Contact your utility companies to see if a budget plan would help reduce your monthly utility bill payments.
- Try lowering your house payment by refinancing at a lower interest rate. If your FICO score has improved and you have equity, you may be able to reduce your monthly house payment and possibly even get some to take care of lingering debts.
- Bundle all of your insurance policies, including home, auto and life.
- Grocery shop on a budget. Utilize in-store savings, rewards cards and start clipping coupons.
Cut Back On Overspending
Saturday shopping trips with the girls. Buying your grandkids that new video game they’ve been wanting. Everyone likes to indulge occasionally, but not thinking certain things through can lead to frivolous overspending. Before handing over your hard-earned cash, ask yourself do you really need that? Can it wait? Will it be cheaper after the holidays? Stop and think about your buying decisions. You’ll be further ahead by putting those dollars into savings now rather than struggling to make up for it at the end of the month.
Build an Emergency Savings Fund
It’s important to have money set aside strictly for emergencies. If you don’t, begin saving now. Start off with a small amount if you have to, even $25 a week. To start with, aim for $1,000. Once you have that much, your next goal could be one month’s worth of expenses, then six months. Before you know it, you’ll have a nice nest egg to work with should the unthinkable occur with an emergency or job loss.
You may be thinking that you can’t afford to save anything right now, but even a few dollars is a good starting point. If you have a little more cash on hand next month, put those funds into savings or pay down a debt that you have, which can free up more funds for savings down the road. Today is a good day to start securing your future and gaining peace of mind.
~Here’s to Your Financial Health