October 26th 2016 - by Amanda Perkins
Obviously being a financially focused blog, we love talking about money! We also love to save money, especially when we have a goal of what we are savings towards. Maybe it’s a big vacation, a new home or something smaller like a specialty tool or piece of furniture you’ve had your eye on.
Sometimes the hardest part of saving is getting started. You need the motivation, or a new idea or something you can’t see or touch. We have come up with 10 helpful tips to kick start your savings plan.
1) Consolidate or pay off high interest debt!
Whether you do this by consolidating your multiple 19% credit card balances into one easy line of credit or loan payment, or you focus only on putting big chunks of money directly towards that debt, get rid of it! Those high balances paired with a high interest rate is collecting money you could be otherwise putting into savings. Look at your opinions. If you can get a line of credit for 7% for example, why not use your line of credit to pay off your credit cards at 19%?
2) Shop when things are on sale
By exercising a bit of patience, and being attentive, you can save yourself a ton of money by purchasing items on sale. Whether you are looking for home appliances, food or clothing items, most things eventually come down in price. Sign up for online email alerts to get notified when items you are watching or wishing for become discounted. New items are constantly coming in and old items need to be marked down to make room. That’s the best time to snatch them up.
3) Take advantage of the dollar store
You would be surprised at the quality, brands and variety of items you can find at your local dollar store. Anything from, hand soaps, shampoo, kitchen utensils, cleaning products, gardening tools or back-to-school items all with name brand quality but at dollar store prices. Going to the dollar store to buy some of your regular household products or items can save you tons of money each month compared to super store prices. Keep an eye out for generic brand items, often just as good as the name brand items at half the price.
4) Track your spending
Do you ever find yourself saying “I don’t know where all my money goes?” Well, start tracking it and you will be surprised at all the little things you could probably cut out. A few coffees, lunches and dinners out, shopping, suddenly you’ve racked up a big credit card bill that needs to be paid off. By tracking what you spend, you can set yourself reasonable limits and stay within them.
5) Free or Low Fee Banking
Find out from your local credit union how you can qualify for a free banking package. Sometimes just based on your age, the type of banking you do or the amount of business you have, can qualify you for free service packages. Why not take advantage of this and save yourself around $20 per month?
6) Pack your own lunches & coffee
By stopping yourself from eating out or buying coffee all the time, not only are you saving yourself money each day but it’s also a lot better for you. Generally, bought lunches don’t provide the same nutritional value as those you make for yourself at home. On top of that, it will cost you much more each day to buy premade.
7) Set up automatic transfers
How many times have we all heard people talking about “out of sight, out of mind”? That should be the same with your savings. Find a way through your credit union to automatically put money into a savings account every time you get paid. This way, when you look at your account, the amount you have left is what you can spend. Helpful tip: Your credit union can set up accounts that are not connected to your debit card, making it more difficult to access your savings. This safeguard discourages temptation and spontaneous spending.
8) Start a book swap
If you are a book lover, try out your community library instead of buying every book you read. Books can be expensive and the prices add up. On top of that, once you have read a book, we generally don’t read it twice. Not interested in a library? Consider a book sharing club so when books are purchased the whole group can get a read at a fraction of the cover price. Even better, buy your books second hand and then swap them!
9) Take advantage of rewards
Love going to specific shops or stores? Find out if they have a discount or reward card. Many retailers will give you a free product or service in appreciation of your dollars and loyalty. If these are the stores you find yourself shopping in, why not take advantage of the free one? For example, both Starbucks and McDonalds have coffee rewards. Be sure to earn points or stickers towards that free coffee you are already paying for.
10) Don’t chase trends
Just because it is popular and expensive doesn’t mean you must have it. You don’t have to spend money on expensive items that will be gone next season just because your friends on Facebook or twitter have them. If it is something you really like or want, wait for it to go on sale!
Do you have another saving tip you’d love to share? Let us know!