We all know saving and budgeting can be hard, but at the same time very important to reaching key life goals and paying off major debts such as credit card bills, car financing, student loans, and mortgages.
Here are some useful tips and tricks to help you save more money toward your goals and achieve them faster:
Build Momentum with the Debt Snowball
This is one of the key strategies to paying off debt. To build a debt snowball, you simply make the largest payment you can each month on the smallest debt balance that you have until it is paid off in full. Then, you move on to the next smallest debt balance, and pay that one off, making the largest possible payment each month until is eliminated as well. Gradually, you move up the chain until the largest debt is paid off. By doing this, you free up the payments for the smaller debts quickly, and then you are able to apply those payments to the larger debt. With each balance that is paid, your monthly payments grow larger as they’re freed up due to the zero balance on the debts you’ve already paid off.
Use an Automatic Saving Service
If we have to save money manually, often times it just won’t happen, and then when we see that money sitting there in our account, we are very tempted to spend it. By automating the money saving process and allowing the computer to do it for you, you remove that temptation, safely moving the money out to a separate savings account every time you get paid. Over time, your savings will accumulate and you’ll be able to reach your financial goals.
Avoid Name-Brand Products
In certain cases, you get what you pay for and it is worth it to buy name brand products. However, there are an awful lot of name brands out there that only serve to increase the sticker price (and therefore the profit margin) on an item while not providing any additional value or functionality. This is especially true of commodities like toilet paper, tissues, water, and other household items such as shampoo, soap, detergent, and even vitamins and health supplements.
The next time you are about to buy a name brand product, ask yourself,” Is this product legitimately superior in any real, measurable way to the off-brand or store brand version? If so, is that difference actually worth the increase in price?” This simple question can save you a lot, both on every shopping trip, and in the long run, as you strive to reach your financial goals.
Borrow One-Time Use Items
We’ve all done this it before – buying an item we know we’ll only need to use once, and then it only adds to the clutter around the house and garage. It’s a bad habit in general and leads to both unnecessary stress and expense. A far better option is to simply borrow the item from a friend, family member or neighbor, or rent it for the time you’ll need it, and then give it back when you’re finished with it. This can save you a lot of money and also a lot of space that would’ve been occupied by items that had overstayed their usefulness.
Many of us have subscriptions we don’t even remember creating, or subscriptions that we’ve long since forgotten about, which have lost their usefulness long ago. We might also have subscriptions that we think we get a lot of value out of, but eventually stop using. However, we keep paying for it month after month for years on end.
This is especially true in today’s era of endless $9.99 a month subscriptions for seemingly every service on the internet, many of which we signed up for to get a free trial or a special deal, but now never even look at. This is good money going down the drain, instead of towards your savings.
Bring Your Lunch
Usually, eating out is more expensive than bringing food with you from home. This can add up quickly and have you spending hundreds of dollars each month on dining out. Think about this: if you spend $10 dollars a day on food, that’s $300 dollars a month! Saving this money can be as easy as simply thinking ahead before you leave, and bringing something to eat if you think you’ll get hungry while you’re out.
This one may seem obvious, but sometimes you’d be surprised how much you can save simply by asking for a better deal. This is especially true when dealing with smaller businesses or paying in cash. You’d be surprised how much flexibility is often tucked into the profit margins of some products.
Bartering Valuable Skills
For example, if you are a graphic designer or web developer, you might be able to trade those skills and get some plumbing or mechanical work done in exchange. The key here is to have a valuable skill or product that can be a useful bargaining chip when dealing with other contractors or vendors. Can you tutor students, clean houses, or fix the drain? Chances are, somebody needs those skills and they