Finance Resources

Tips on How to Save Money

On this page, you'll find great resources for finances. Making the decision to save money is wise but a difficult choice. It can be hard to know where to trim back and how to put money aside for the things that matter most to you. To help you save money, consider these tips. Whether you have a big bank account and budget or a very small one (or even none at all), these tips can help you start the process of saving money.

Start With a Budget

This is the hardest step of all for most people because it requires that you spend some time comparing where you are spending money. It seems impossible, but it doesn’t have to be. Start with calculating how much money you bring in each month. Then, write down everything you spent money on in the last month. From bills to coffee to dinners out, document everything you spend money on. Then, assign each to a component of your budget, like "electricity" or "entertainment." Work to balance your budget so that you are not spending more than you are bringing in.

Build an Emergency Savings Account First

Before you can think about paying off your debt, you have to have an emergency savings account in place that can help you with true financial emergencies, like your car breaking down. For most people, this should be at least $1,000. Put this money into an account that you do not use for anything. That way, when there’s a problem, you are able to use these funds instead of turning to credit to meet your financial needs.

Open a Savings Account

Opening a savings account with no fees or costs is the easiest way for you to start saving money. Make sure to deposit even a small amount of money into the savings account with each paycheck. That way, you are able to keep funding your account over time, and your money will grow. Even if you can only put $20 into your account each paycheck, that will grow over time, and it will become worthwhile.

Find Ways to Cut Down on Spending

The next step in reducing your costs is to find ways to lower what you are spending. This can be hard to do, but simple changes can have a big impact. Start with what you are spending (if you made your budget above, then you already have a good idea of what you are spending money on). Look for simple things you can do to cut back. That could include reducing your subscription costs, eating out less, or making lunches at home instead of grabbing something to go. What simple changes can you make to reduce your costs?

Shop and Plan Meals Around Deals

A big cost for many people is food. You need to buy food that’s nutritious and that your family will eat. However, if you can work to create a menu that’s based on the actual sales and deals for that week, you could trim back what you’re spending on a consistent basis. Try to plan meals out for the week before heading to the grocery store. You may also be able to clip coupons with your store and use free membership programs to save. What’s most important here is to have a plan. Heading into the grocery store and just buying what you see on the shelves can be the worst way to manage your budget.

Tackling Your Streaming and Cable Costs

Many people today struggle with saving money on their streaming and cable costs. How many subscriptions are you paying for that you may not need? Many of these services can become expensive over time. Take the time to compare your options. Determine if you really need to use all of the individual services or if you can remove one of them and focus on another. For example, you may not need Hulu and Netflix. If there is programming you really want on just one platform, consider looking for alternative ways to view it online, like YouTube.

Make Conscious Decisions

Saving money is about making conscious decisions. Before you head out to make a purchase or check out what’s for sale on your favorite site, ask yourself if you really need it. For anything that costs over $100, it may be a good idea to put a 24-hour hold on the buying process. If you still want it after 24 hours, then it is worth buying. You may also want to have a rule where you’ll talk with a friend or your spouse about certain purchases before making them. Though this type of control can seem a bit over the top, it could be critical in helping you control your spending over time.

Common Financial Mistakes to Avoid

Making wise financial decisions often offers many benefits and long-term financial rewards. Yet, most people have a few stumbling blocks along the way. Are you making any of these financial mistakes? If so, now may be the best time for you to make some changes. Consider these common financial mistakes that could be holding you back from living the financially healthy lifestyle you are hoping to experience.

Not Having a Budget

Without a budget, there’s no real way to know how much you’re spending or if you have opportunities to save money. Budgets can be done by paper or with a simple budgeting tool. You can find lots of free apps to use, too. The key is just to have one and to follow it as closely as possible. Even if you don’t always make your budgetary goals, the more effort you put into this process, the better your finances will be. You’ll have a better understanding of where you stand.

Not Starting a Savings Account

If you don’t have a savings account right now, it’s time to open one. Choose one without any fees or costs. Then, make small deposits into it. Even if you cannot invest a large amount of money, having a savings account can be an important financial decision for yourself. You may even want to set up a transaction from your checking into your savings account every month. By automating this with your bank, you increase the frequency of the savings deposits you make. You may not even miss the money in your checking account either.

Not Starting a Retirement Account Early

The sooner you open and start funding a retirement account, the sooner that money starts growing. Thanks to compound interest, the amount you earn on these accounts will build onto itself over and over again. The younger you are, the fewer funds you’ll need to put into your retirement account to achieve your financial goals. Even more so, most retirement accounts have great tax benefits that could help you substantially lower what you are paying over the long term. If you start now, you could have enough put away to retire early or to plan for a better financial future when you are ready to enter retirement.

Using Credit Cards Without Control

Credit is a powerful tool. If you are not monitoring your use of it, or you are spending excessively beyond your means, that could put you in a very dangerous financial position. If you spend $1,000 on credit in a year and do not pay that off, but you have a 25% interest rate on that card, you’re now facing a debt of $1,250. That continues to build up over time as well. Use credit, but aim to pay off everything you spend in the month following that purchase. This way, you eliminate the excessive cost of interest, and you can still benefit from building a strong credit score with routine purchases on your card.

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