by: Remie Longbrake | published June 1, 2020
Now is as good as time as ever to prepare ways to save by proper financial preparedness. We do not know where the economy is headed, nor can we predict what the future holds. The Corona epidemic has burdened even the most savvy savers and investors.
The average family in America does not save well. There are many reasons for this (which is outside of this article), however, right around 50% families have zero saved. Whether that is you or not, we can and should all do better to be better savers. This should be a wake up call to all of us. Financially stressful times can happen at any point. How well you are prepared can make all the difference.
When we stay focused on reaching financial goals learning how to save and balance a budget is important. The more that can be saved, the more quickly one will be able to reach goals. Those goals don’t necessarily need to be outside of reality, however just getting by isn’t much of a goal either.
So by using these 15 money-saving concepts, you can help reach your financial goals and save money in the best ways you see fit, so you can survive but thrive.
The fundamental step of a sound financial future is to have a budget in place.
Here's why: Many people do not stop to think about the money they are spending when they swipe a debit or credit card. This cause stress not only financially, but excess spending also causes relationship issues, not to mention inability to reach long-term goals.
In addition to keeping you more aware of the money you are spending, using a budget acts as a buffer to overspending. But keep in mind that in order for this to work, you need to stay committed. It’s easy to overspend. You may even want to leave the cards home when you go shopping and pay cash, at least for the short term. That way you can get accustomed to staying on track.
Many people assume that there is not much that can be done to change the utility bills. But there are money-saving strategies you can use to lower the price of those utilities.
In additional to saving on the cable bill, one can take steps to set the thermostat a bit lower in the winter and a bit higher in the summer. Take the time to seal the cracks around windows and doors. Also consider calling the cable provider, cell phone carrier, electric, and water companies. See what savings can be had. You would be surprised by how much we overpay without realizing it.
Whether you are getting overage charges or you are paying for more data than you need, you may be able to save money by switching your plan. Look at the plans that your provider offers and choose one that's best for your budget. When you qualify for a free phone upgrade, it usually means that your contract is up for renewal. Take the chance to review what other options are available. Prepaid options are getting better, so that may be a great way to save. It’s not likely you need the latest iPhone every year, so also consider why you think you need the latest phone and how much could be saved by sticking to the basics.
Banks make a fortune by lending. One should always make it a priority to pay credit cards off on time and in full every month. The interest charges that add up when you carry a balance can really eat away at the budget. When you are not paying interest, on the other hand, you can begin investing your money and start earning interest instead. One of the best ways to save is to avoid going into debt.
Another option to save money is to look into buying used instead of brand new. This may not work for every item, however, for many things much money can be saved.
Craigslist, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace make it easy to look for used items. Yard sales and consignment shops are also good options.
As Americans, we are spenders, but much of what we think we need are actually wants. That tends to get us in a lot of trouble.
It’s widely known, there will be a premium to buy something when it first comes out. If you can wait, often the price will drop on the item over time. This strategy works well in electronics and it can also apply to seasonal clothing. Cars are another items. Sure there may be a factory rebate involved, however consider the markup and overall interest costs before you spend.
A great idea, especially now with social distancing is to have someone else shop for you. If you find yourself a sucker for spending, give someone else your list and let them shop on your behalf. You would be surprised on how much we spend on impulse purchases.This is most effective for your grocery shopping. There are several stores that will shop for you for free or for a small fee and all you have to do is pick up the groceries. There are also services that will deliver the groceries to your home which makes it even easier.
Since many of us are still not eating out, now is the time to continue that trend. Most of us eat out way too much, because we are busy and it’s convenient. However, it is not cheap. When a family of four at Wendy’s in forty bucks, that should be a clue. Not saying you shouldn’t ever eat out, just be resourceful. You can still choose quicker-prep meals at home for the family on the go. It can make it easier if you have a weekly menu. Get the family involved in the choices, but also allow everyone to contribute.
It may seem simple, but coupons are one of the best ways to save money one a consistent basis. You can go the extreme couponing route and clip coupons, look online for coupons, and shop the coupons with the sales to really increase your savings. Just consider the time invested in doing that. It may be more beneficial to save coupons saved to your shoppers card. I don’t necessarily like stores tracking my purchases, however that’s the world we live in and a decision you’ll have to make. The rewards programs do save money, however don’t be suckered into their store credit cards, as that is usually a losing strategy.
One of the ways to save at the grocery store or even on household items is by trying out the store brands. Practice a little trial and error, though, and don't purchase a surplus of a store-brand cereal before you've actually tried it! Some store brands are better than others, and the quality may vary from item to item. For example, you may find the canned goods are great, but that the ketchup is gross. Trial and error helps, but you can also save by choosing whichever brand is on sale or who has a coupon offer that week.
We touched on this previously, however usually cable is overrated. It can be great to entertain kids at times, however Tv is generally a waste, and if you follow any of our materials you know we are about self growth. If you need to be entertained there are options outside of cable. Most of us are familiar with Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming options. Even this however can be close to a cable bill if you’re not careful. If your budget is tight, consider switching to a cheaper streaming service. You won't have as many options, but you can still enjoy some entertainment without spending as much.
You can often save money on your car and home insurance policies by shopping for a new carrier every few years. Insurance companies offer their best rates to new customers. If you recently turned 25 or had tickets drop off of your history in the last year or two, you may be able to save even more. Also consider combining both home and auto with the same carrier. Before switching, do ask your current company to check if you qualify for lower rates. It’s likely the answer will be no, so be prepared and make it a point to shop around for the best deal. You can also consider increasing your deductibles. This will certainly help in the way of the cost of insurance. Just be sure you have enough for that deductible if something were to happen.
It’s a great goal to not pay full price on big-ticket products.This is applicable to most things including your groceries,but it comes to a point of where the cost of your time comes into play. For big items like furniture, electronics, and especially vehicles, do your research first and come in prepared. These day’s people don’t necessarily like to haggle, it’s up to you, however if you do come in with data to back up your offer then more likely then not you’ll come out the big winner.
We recommend for most that one set aside a little bit of fun money to spend each month. This can include entertainment options, save up for that vacation, whatever it is you enjoy. The amount depends on your budget, but it can make a big difference in being able to reach your goals and stay focused long term. Budgeting for fun will help you save money because it allows for some splurges and prevents you from overspending.
Set a goal for how much you want to save each pay period and then set up an automatic transfer to your accounts to make that happen. This way, you do not miss the money that is moved automatically to your account, and you do not have to think about saving each month. It will just happen, and over time you’ll be surprised on how much you can save without thinking about it.
The purpose of these transfers is to build your nest egg and long term financial success. It is generally advisable to transfer enough to an emergency fund first, then slowly dedicate funds to other more lucrative interest baring accounts according to your saving and financial goals.
We hope you enjoyed these ways to save. Don’t think as savings as a chore however. Have short and long-term goals planned out. Be excited for growth and see your money prosper over time.
If you need guidance in any of these ways please reach out to us. We are happy to help you reach your potential.
Read more and prosper!