To effectively save, you do not want to skip on having a budget and plan to keep you organized. Knowing what you earn, what your monthly bills are, and having a budget and payment schedule will help you know how much you have to work with when you want to save money. Shoot to save 15% of your income, and make that an amount you pay yourself every paycheck. By planning on saving money, you are setting an active expectation to pay yourself as you would pay any monthly bill you have. Here are a few tips to help you save money by avoiding unnecessary purchases, being resourceful, and knowing what you have to spend.
Don’t grocery shop when hungry. It is easy to overspend and buy food you would not normally purchase when hungry. Shopping when you aren’t hungry will help you avoid impulse purchases and keep food that you otherwise do not need from going to waste later on. As most Americans grocery shop a few times a month, this tactic can add up in savings over time, leaving you with more cash to put away for a rainy day.
Don’t buy without planning. From eating out less and avoiding those spur-of-the-moment purchases at the gas station to using coupons and shopping during sales, there are many ways to make sure you are shopping and spending smarter. Keeping an eye out for sales and researching and comparison shopping online to find the best deal will keep you from overspending on those items you want and need.
Don’t keep the lights or A/C on. You do not want to spend more on your energy bill that you have to. Ways to keep those costs in check include turning off lights and electronics in rooms you are not in and setting your thermostat to deliver air and heat only when you are home.
Don’t pay with credit cards. Do not use your credit card as your “go to” form of payment. That is money you have to pay interest and fees on every time you “borrow” from it. Instead, make it a habit to pay with cash, a debit card, or check. That way you are only spending money that you have in the bank, and can avoid getting into credit card debt later. If you do use a credit card, make sure you pay it off each month to keep from paying more for your purchase with extra interest and fees.
Don’t pay bills late. Putting off paying bills can have consequences. Late fees and other charges add up when bills aren’t paid on time, making you spend more for products or services than you need to. Being conscientious about when bills are due, and making sure they are paid on time will keep those extra charges at bay.
Because the little things add up and can take away from your financial obligations, to include saving money, having a budget and plan and being aware of your spending habits will go a long way in helping you save.