5 Must-Know Saving Hacks You Should Be Doing
If you want to reach your financial goals, and ensure that you're optimizing your income, it's crucial that you learn how to make your money stretch further. The more money you can avoid spending, the more quickly you'll reach your planned goals. Whether you want to pay down your debts, build your investment portfolio, or buy your first home, you can meet your financial goals much easier when you follow these five simple tips.
Use a Cash-Only Budget
Using your debit card to pay for everyday expenses can be a dangerous game. Often people swipe their card with zero thought to what they're buying and whether it's in their budget.
By opting for a cash-only budget, you're more likely to think about the money you spend, as it's in your hand and tangible — plus, with each purchase you make, you'll see your cash dwindle.
In addition to making you more aware of how much you're spending, using cash only can also help you stick to your budget more strictly, as you can't spend what you don't have! Although effective, this strategy only works if you commit to not using your debit or credit cards when you’re running low on funds.
Download Money-Saving Apps
We spend the majority of the time on our phones, whether it's checking emails, conversing with friends, or browsing social media, so why not use it to help you save you money too? There are many apps available that offer special incentives and rebates for shopping through them.
From Target's circle app that offers coupons and special offers to Rakuten Rewards, which lets you earn cashback on your purchases. These apps are an ingenious way to save money — especially on items you were planning to buy anyway.
Stop Paying Interest
Living on credit can be a very slippery slope, and is one of the quickest ways to financial insecurity and stress. If you want to save money, it's crucial that you avoid purchasing anything on credit that you can't afford to pay off immediately.
If you already have credit card debt, and you're currently paying off the interest on your debt, you should aim to pay that down as soon as possible. Creating a debt payment plan that calculates how much you need to pay and how long you'll have to pay it for can be very helpful.
Furthermore, even if you're in financial difficulty and your debts seem unmanageable, opening up a line of communication with your lender can make a huge difference. Consider calling your credit card company and trying to negotiate a lower rate of interest that’s more affordable. You could also consider transferring your credit card balances to an interest- free credit card so that you can save money while working towards paying them off.
It's important to remember that if you only pay the minimum balance of your credit cards each money, the majority of your payment will only go toward paying off the interest that you owe.
Lower Your Utility Bills
Most people believe that there's very little they can do to lower their utility bills; however, this is one of the best money-saving strategies you can use when working toward your financial goals.
Even small measures make a difference, such as lowering your thermostat slightly in the colder winter months and raising it in the summer. According to Energy.gov, you can save up to 10% a year on your heating and cooling bills by simply turning your thermostat back 7°F for 8 hours a day. Another option is to install a low-flow showerhead and faucet that help reduce water costs.
It's also important to shop around for your utility providers and find out if there are cheaper alternatives. Speaking directly to your provider and asking for a discount can sometimes work if you're a loyal customer.
Reassess Your Needs VS Your Wants
Do you need those new shoes you just purchased, or did you just want them? Taking time to think over your purchases before you buy them can help you to decide whether you actually need them.
Being mindful of your finances and your spending habits is one of the most effective ways to quickly reach your financial goals. If you need to shop, make sure that you're a savvy consumer, by waiting for seasonal sales, taking advantage of cashback offers, and sourcing coupons.
If you'd like to learn more about creating financial goals for your future, check out our podcast.
All information and materials in this article are for educational purposes only. Opinions expressed in this article are based on information considered reliable, but The Daily Money Show cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information nor should it be relied upon. The information discussed in this article should not be used as a recommendation to buy or sell securities nor should it be taken as investment advice. The Daily Money Show is not a Registered Investment Advisor or Broker Dealer. The Daily Money Show is not an accounting firm and does not give tax advice regarding any security or real estate transaction. You may want to consult with an accountant, attorney, real estate agent or financial advisor before proceeding with any transaction regarding securities or real estate.