Fewer than 25% of Americans have an adequate savings fund for emergencies and retirement. Don’t get caught in a bad situation and start getting into the habit of saving now!
- Track your monthly spending. Do you know how much you spent on morning coffee last month? How about lunches? You will be surprised how quickly these expenses add up. Realizing you spent $50 at Starbucks last month might make you think twice about your morning latte. Could you make a cup of joe before you leave in the morning? Probably. You plan to walk into Target for two things, and you walk out with seven. Does this common problem happen to you, too? Target loves impulse buys; your wallet does not. Make a list of every NEEDED item and then create a mental checklist of every other thing you want to buy while at the store. In 24 hours if you are still thinking about that impulse buy, go buy it. Chances are you don’t need that new shirt or serving plate, and creating this 24-hour hold on impulse spending will discourage these purchases.
- Shop around for insurance, cable, and phone companies. Before renewing your contracts, look around to try to find a better deal. If you find one, call your current company and ask them to match your new quote. Many times companies will cater to you as they won’t want to lose you as a customer. For the time cost of some phone calls, you could be seeing some additional savings each month without changing a thing. Win-win!
- This also works for your mortgage. Refinancing is a great way to save money each month at the cost of a few phone calls. Check out the current mortgage rates then contact your original loan provider. Could they refinance you at a lower rate? Worth looking into.
- Give up those premium TV channels, or cable altogether. Spending more time on Netflix than HBO? Let go of that additional monthly cost and hit up Redbox or Hulu for other movie needs.
- Try something new! Do you go out to eat with your friends? Try a pot-luck dinner at your home for one month. It is more personal and cheaper for everyone. Like to see movies on the weekends? Look for free movie events around town. Summer movies in the park are very popular; pack a picnic and a blanket and enjoy the evening outside.
There are lots of simple ways to decrease your monthly spending, but the first step is realizing how much you spend. Keep records of your monthly expenditures to look for areas of improvement, but also to see how much your budget-friendly changes are paying off. Realizing your new lifestyle saved your $300 last month will keep you engaged and excited about saving money. Good luck!