Saving money can be stressful and, of course, it’s something that’s unavoidable. There are serious reasons why Americans cannot actually save money these days. One being that people keep upgrading their lifestyle despite growing income inequality. Impulse buying and love of luxury can also become real burdens if your goal is saving money.
On the other hand, there are so many fun ways you can take control of your personal finances and change the way you live. For example, you can start rethinking the way you shop for groceries and clothes. In most of the cases, it’s all about creating a money-saving mindset. As soon as you do that, you will be on our way to achieving financial stability. These 20 tips will help you save money and manage your personal finances more effectively.
1. Create a financial calendar
If you have problems remembering when to pay your bills then a financial calendar is for you. You can schedule your visits to a doctor, a dentist, or your car mechanic. There are a number of personal finance dates to make note of on your financial calendar. This way you will stay on top of deadlines and will never miss a payment, thus avoiding any late payment fees.
2. Set financial goals
It is a good idea to be as specific as possible when it comes to deciding what your financial goals are. If there are certain things that you want to accomplish, make a list and go for it. Be exact with how much you are going to spend on what, how much you’re going to save, and add deadlines for all of your goals.
3. Pay off your debt
If you’ve got a bunch of debt, then it’s time to make a plan to pay it off. Having a lot of revolving debt for long periods of time can be seriously damaging to your credit score. You don’t have to have a zero balance on all of your accounts, but be as aggressive as possible with payments to widen the gap between your balance and your limit to decrease your utilization percentage.
4. Find a money buddy
Finding a like-minded person to save money with can be fun and help you stay accountable. Pick someone responsible who has the time to help and encourage you and won’t be judgmental about past financial mistakes you might have made (or if you just can’t give up that $5 daily latte).
5. Start saving money ASAP
The decision to save money can be an easy one to make, however, following through on that can be difficult. Your goal should be saving money as soon as possible — not tomorrow, not next week, and not when you get a higher salary. It doesn’t have to be a lot. Start by setting aside a small amount from every paycheck and work towards growing that amount further down the line.
6. Negotiate everything
From your car purchase to your salary, don’t shy away from negotiating. Learning a few basic negotiating strategies and using them in your daily life could mean the difference of saving thousands of dollars on large purchases or making more money at your job.
7. Keep your savings and checking accounts separate
To avoid accidentally spending your savings, open a separate savings account. Keep your spending money completely separate from your savings (both physically and mentally) and watch your savings grow.
8. Ask for a raise
Do you think you have been a great asset to your company? Then maybe it’s time to ask for a raise. Do your research. See how much people doing the same job as you are getting using websites like Glassdoor to gauge how much to ask for.
9. Get a side gig
Getting a second job could also be a good option for you. Having a second income could help you save more or pay off debts faster. If you have a steady 9-5 job during the week, look into options that would give you a more flexible schedule like mystery shopping or freelance work. But be wary of work from home scams and research any opportunity thoroughly before signing on the dotted line.
10. Maintain an emergency fund
It happens to everyone. Your car breaks down or you lose your job and you suddenly need some extra cash. A good emergency fund can usually cover three to six months worth of basic living expenses like food. If you have already got an emergency fund, cool. Consider making it more powerful by continuously adding more money.
11. Give up expensive habits
Giving up, or at least cutting back on, expensive habits is another important way of saving money. You’ll be shocked at how much extra money you’ll manage to set aside by only getting three take-out coffees instead of six every week. On average, people spend $164.71 per year on coffee. Cut back your expenses by brewing your morning coffee at home and drinking it on your way to work.
12. Take advantage of discounts
Check if your employer participates in any corporate discount programs that could hook you up with things like free (or discounted) gym memberships. Employees at Google enjoy free food on the Google campus in addition to oil changes, massages, and daycare.
13. Free is key
It’s time to dust off that library card. You’ll be able to borrow the latest books, magazines, newspapers, and even movies. There’s usually free Wi-Fi, too. Speaking of free, be sure to keep an eye out for opportunities for free samples or significant discounts on products you usually use to help save money, too.
14. Automate your savings
Put your savings on autopilot by setting up automatic transfers or deposits into your savings account. Keep track of everything with a budget-tracking app to help you. Mint or Learnvest are cool budget-tracking apps that can help you visualize your money saving goals.
15. Use ATMs reasonably
Is there anything worse than having to buy your own money? With ATM fees, it’s not effective to rush to an ATM every time you need to buy something. Try withdrawing a set amount of money each week and plan how you are going to spend your money in advance to avoid surprise purchases.
16. Use comparison sites
Using comparison websites is a smart way to get the best prices for the best products you are planning to purchase. These websites usually let you not only compare prices, but also features of the given products. Try using more than one comparison website if you really want to get the best advice.
17. Implement ‘no spend’ days
One spending (or savings) hack is to implement no spend days throughout the month. The purpose is to plan ahead so you can go a full day without any unnecessary or unplanned spending. For example, you can make your own coffee and lunch at home and take it to the office with you. Try taking your bike or walking to the office if you live near your workplace and it would be practical for you. Or you can saying no to paid TV for a month and see whether or not you can live without it long-term.
18. Evaluate your bank
Is there another bank that’s offering way more benefits? Are your current bank’s ATMs located in such inconvenient places that it is always a headache for you to find them. If either of these two statements sound true then maybe it’s time to change your bank. Do your research and see which bank will be more beneficial for you.
19. Get financially literate
Educating yourself to become financially savvy is pretty easy these days with all of the information on the internet. Knowing how to use money-saving apps, how to effectively utilize online banking, and how to adopt different money-saving attitudes can help you build wealth over time. Allocate some time every day to read about the stock market, investment strategies, and retirement plans so you at least have a basic knowledge base. You can even get online tutorials to help you educate yourself.
20. Protect yourself online
It’s almost inevitable that you’re making some of your financial transactions online. Your password and other account details are vulnerable so it’s important to know how to protect yourself online.