15 Money Saving Tips
- Don't rely only on your budget
How many times have you wanted to lose weight?Did you look in the mirror and just say to yourself, "Just drop it.Just stop eating.Just stop drinking so much soda.Just lose the weight."Well, how many times has that approach really worked?In order to lose weight, you have to gradually reduce your eating and increase your exercise.Saving money works along similar principles.Coming up with a new budget is not necessarily the best way for you to start saving more.You need to gradually cut down on your spending, instead of coming up with a drastically revised budget that you won't be able to hold to.Look carefully at your spending habits.Look at ways where you can improve.Then start working on those aspects of your spending little by little.If you can't break the habits, then you won't be able to stick to your budget.
- Keep track of those dollars
Do you know where all of your money is going?Every last dollar?Often times, it's those little three dollar expenses every day that really suck our bank accounts dry.It's time to track your spending.Get out your checkbook, gather up all of your credit card statements, and print out your debit card usage.It's time to see exactly where all of your money went over the last month.If you can't find enough documentation to determine where all of your money ended up, then start keeping track this month.Write down every last dime, nickel, and penny that you spend, from a candy bar at the vending machines to that new DVD that you've been wanting.Once you can account for a month's worth of spending, it's time to look carefully to see where you can cut down on spending money and where you've been wasting your dollars.
- Get rid of credit, and go with debit
Do you tend to carry credit cards?Do you carry balances over on those credit cards from month to month?If so, then you are losing a ton of money on monthly interest rates.This money could be going into your savings account, instead.So it's time to cut up those debit cards.Get a MasterCard or a VISA debit card instead of your credit card.One of these debit cards will be accepted anywhere that accepts credit cards.However, instead of falling into the "free money" trap that comes along with credit cards, every purchase that you make will be taken directly out of your bank account.By using debit cards, you have the convenience of plastic without the temptation of it.You can keep track of your spending and no purchase payments will be put off...with interest.You can take the money that you've been using to pay off your interest and put it in savings instead.
- It's time for a new frame of mind
One of the problems that many people have with spending too much money and not saving enough money is the way that they think about shopping, buying, and consumption.Think about why you go shopping.Is it because you are bored?Do you shop to make yourself feel better?Shopping therapy is a very common reason to go shopping, either at the mall or online.Do you go shopping to escape your life?To relax?Do you go shopping for some reason that you can't understand, but it's a habit?All of these approaches to shopping make you view consumption as something that takes you away from your problems.You are making your decisions based on impulses, rather than common sense.You need to change your mindset to seeing shopping as acquiring something that you need, that you have a mission to achieve, and that will be a means to an end.
- Debt is the first thing to go
So you want to start saving money.You come up with a budget that socks 35% of your monthly income into your savings account...and you're still only paying the minimum on your different debts, like your credit card debt.Even if you invest your savings in a high interest money market account or a high yield stock, your interest returns are not going to cover the amount of money that you will have to pay in interest on your loans.Work on paying off your consumer debt.After you have paid off your consumer debt, except for major student loans that are generally held at a low interest rate, especially compared to credit cards, then it's time for you to start saving your money.Start by paying off the highest interest loan.Once that loan is paid off, move the same amount of money that you've been paying to the next highest interest.Move down the line in this way until you've paid off all of your loans.
- The grass is not greener on the other side
Far too often, we feel that we need to spend money and make purchases because we are envious of what other people have.We think that we need promotions constantly.We need a pay raise.We need a larger house, nicer furniture, nicer clothes.After all, that's what life means, right?The farther along you are, the more things you have, and the nicer those things are.Well, this mindset is not going to help you save money.Instead, it will only make you dissatisfied with your life.Rather than looking at what other people have and thinking about what material goods you want, start thinking about all of the other possessions in your life.Think about your friends and your family.Make time for what is really important in your life.This will help you put things in better perspective, and will help you realize that having a lot of things is not what is most important to you.
- Keep work and life in balance
Do you approach work as something that your life needs to be fitted around?Or is work just one component of a much larger and a much fuller life?It is important that you keep in mind what is really important in life.If you believe that you need to have a lot of possessions and a lot of money in order to be really successful and to be really happy, then your priorities will be twisted so that you spend most of your time working on achieving money and material possessions.Instead of always making your decisions based on what your employers want, make your decisions based on what you want.Then act accordingly. Choosing careers and employers based on the larger picture of your life will help you achieve personal goals and family goals by ensuring that you are not a slave to your job and your boss.
- Toss all of those credit card offers
How many pre-approved credit card offers do you get each day?Yes, it's really that many.How many of those credit card offers do you actually open up?And finally, how many of those credit card offers do you actually give in to?Well, it's time to stop.While it might seem like a great solution to transfer your debt to that 0% APR until...five months from now card, you need to read the fine print.Usually, pre-screened and pre-approved credit card offers have hidden fees and their interest rates jump exponentially as soon as your 0% introductory rate runs out.So instead of allowing yourself the temptation to rack up even more credit card debt, it's time to stop the credit card offers.Immediately shred any that you receive in the mail.Don't open them.You do need to shred them, however, so that nobody gets your information.Then go to www.optoutprescreen.com to opt out of all pre-approved credit card offers.
- Save money and entertain your kids
One of the biggest financial drains on families is entertainment.Let's face it: you have three months where you have to keep your kids happy and occupied.The easiest way to entertain your kids is through expensive toys, video games, and trips to amusement parks.Well, there is an easier, and a less expensive way to entertain your kids this summer, that can also help save you money.Don't forget: every little bit helps.Try craft projects.You can make homemade bubbles with soap.You can also make your own pinwheels.You can also help your kids make homemade popsicles.You can make popsicles out of juice, or even out of jello.Let your kids make some pudding-don't worry about the mess.Teach your kids how to make paper maché and then they can create their own fun.Buy a set of blocks-it will entertain younger children for months.
- Cut down on sinus infections-and prescription costs
One of the most aggravating and unavoidable blows to any family's budget is unexpected prescriptions.Medical costs take up the majority of most families' incomes.And prescription drugs are becoming more and more expensive, especially as more and more health care plans are scaling back their coverage.So start using home remedies.Home remedies are inexpensive, and are often just as effective as chemical remedies that you purchase from the pharmacy.For example, you can clear up sinus congestion and even a sinus infection without paying for a trip to the doctor or antibiotics.Simply perform an easy sinus irrigation with water to clear out your sinuses.You can purchase inexpensive kits at your drugstore that come with over 50 applications.Or you can create your own saline solution by following a recipe, and then applying the solution to your nostrils and washing out the sinuses with the saline solution.It will feel strange, but you will also feel better.
- Stop wasting your money on stamps
Let's say that you receive about 15 bills per month.You then send your payments by mail-and you pay all 15 bills through snail mail.If you send all of your bills by snail mail, then you are going to be spending over 80 dollars a year on postage alone.And if, by chance, the postal service is not working as efficiently as one wants it to, then you could be paying even more because of late fees that you weren't planning on.Fortunately, more and more companies are offering automatic bill payment either through your credit card or your bank account.Using your bank account is a better way to go if you want to keep track of your money, so that you can avoid carrying an expensive credit card balance, and its interest.Free online bill payment, offered by most banks, will let you schedule your payments so that you know exactly when the money will be withdrawn from your account.You'll never be late again.
- Stop giving the airlines all of your money!
Last time you flew, did you notice that it ended up costing you a little bit more than you planned on?Airlines have started charging more and more for small services that used to be free.Not planning on having to pay for these services, yet expecting to receive them, is costing consumers a pretty penny.You can save money by not paying for these extra services.For example, you can pay several dollars for curbside check-in.You will now have to pay for most meals on any domestic flight.Some airlines even charge you for a full can of soda.And if you are flying Air Canada, you are going to have to pay for that pillow and blanket.And don't overpack your bags-you're going to have to pay $25 each for every bag over the 50 pound limit.So weigh your luggage at home to make sure that it doesn't go over.Don't use curbside check-in.And pack your own snacks.They'll taste better, anyway.
- Consolidate, consolidate, consolidate.
Who is your Internet access provider?Who is your cable TV provider?And who is your phone company?If you answered with two or three different companies, then you could be saving money right here.Add up how much you pay per month on these three different services.And then research having all three services-Internet, phone service, and cable TV-provided by just one company.Chances are that you will end up saving 10 dollars to 20 dollars per month.Comcast offers all three services for a low monthly rate that varies by region in the U.S.You can find different deals and prices at www.buytelco.net.Start calling up local companies to see what deals they offer.Make sure that you also check for installation waivers and search your newspapers and mailings for coupons and special deals.Chances are that you'll have lower bills, faster Internet, better phone connections, and many more channels to watch your favorite shows on.
- Do you have a leak?
Do you have high water bills?Do you even know if your water bills are too high?This week, look carefully at your faucets.When you brush your teeth, do you let the water run the entire time?What about when you are shaving?How long are your showers?Do you run your dishwasher when it's just halfway full?What about your washing machine?For every minute that you leave your sink running, you'll be wasting 2.5 gallons of water.When are you watering your plants?If you water your plants in the early morning, then the water won't evaporate like it will if you water in the afternoon.If you begin conserving your water by following simple tips-turning off your faucet when you don't need the water, only running full dishwashers and full washing machines, watering in the morning, and using a bucket rather than a hose to wash your car-then you can save up to even $190 a year on your water bills.
- Those checks don't just bounce-they hurt
How many times have you bounced a check in the last five years?Have you ever accidentally overdrawn your account by using your debit card?Too often consumers fall into the trap of believing that if they don't have enough money in their bank account, then their debit card will be refused.Well, think again.The majority of banks allow charges to go through even if there isn't enough money in your account.You get to make your purchase, but you also get slammed with an extra fee on top of it.Studies have shown that the average fee for overdrafts is $39.The average purchase that causes an overdraft is around $17.So instead of getting a great deal on that shirt, you just paid way too much.Keep track of your bank account.Even when you use a debit card, note the amount spent in your check book right away.And sign up for overdraft protection.It will cost you a couple more bucks a month, but it will save you a lot more in case you bounce a check.