The secret to saving money is knowing how to spend it wisely. If you want to have a few extra bucks saved in your account for rainy days, for that family vacation you deserve, or for anything else you might need, then you have to be practical about how you spend.
Here are 5 easy ways to save money throughout the year.
1) Pay your bills early and on time.
I get it. You hate to pay bills. It’s a part of being an adult we all loathe. But, if we want things, then we need to pay for them. If you want cable and high-speed internet, it’s going to cost you a good chunk of change. The phone bill for you and the family will require a blood sacrifice and your first born.
We’re not saying you should get rid of that stuff, but if you’re going to have it, then make sure the bill is paid on time every month. Most of these accounts require commitments and if you miss a payment, you’ll be racked with late charges, penalties, and your credit score can take a hit. The last thing you need to do is shell out even more money for services.
2) Have an emergency fund.
You might think this is a waste of time and money. A lot of people don’t bother to save, either because they don’t think they can afford it, or they don’t anticipate something happening. In realty, that’s not a smart choice to make. Things WILL go wrong at some point in your life.
A recent survey said that a majority of Americans don’t even have access to $400 if something were to happen. If you got into an accident tomorrow, and you couldn’t work for a while, how tough of a situation would you be? If you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck and have nothing saved in the bank, you’d really be hurting.
The best advice is to have about 6-9 months saved up in the bank, which is the average time it takes to find a new job or get back on your feet after an accident.
3) Learn how to say no to impulse desires.
One of the biggest financial blunders Americans make is taking on more debt when they can’t even afford the debt they have. They see something they want, really can’t afford it, but mindlessly swipe the credit card and magically believe it will take care of itself later.
Monthly payments will eventually catch up to you, you’ll get late, have fees and penalties added on, it will wreck your credit score, and before you know it, you’re drowning. It happens to millions of Americans every year.
As I stated in the previous point, things happen all the time. It’s better to not have that shiny new toy and put the money in the bank for a rainy day, then to barely eek out every month. Do yourself a favor and just say no.
4) Refinance your student loans and get help paying them off.
We’ve covered this topic a lot on this blog. Student loans are a burden on so many people. They are preventing former students from getting a house and even from being able to work their dream job…the whole reason why they went to college in the first place. A lot of states will revoke your license to work if you have unpaid student loans.
If this is you, there is help out there! Government programs, refinancing loans into one payment so you’re working with a smaller interest rate, and so much more is available to you. To learn more, feel free to give us a call!
5) Don’t borrow from your retirement.
One misstep plenty of people take is borrowing from their retirement whenever they need a few bucks, but that approach is like robbing your future self of the retirement you deserve. Not only is it a risky move, you can be charged extra for pulling money out early. The big question remains: what will you do in retirement if you can’t replenish the fund?
Getting involved in this vicious cycle of poor money habits won’t offer you an ounce of financial freedom. It might make you feel good for a few days being able to buy what you want, but after some time, that joy becomes stale as you (and millions of others) regret the decision. Be smart, learn to say no, and save as much as you can. You’ll be happier for it.