1.Eliminate Your Debt
The most common way of doing debt consolidation is by getting a personal loan or a balance transfer credit card, then using it to repay all of your debts. Avoid the temptation of using a personal loan or balance transfer credit card to consolidate your credit card debts, unless you are being extra diligent to avoid using your cards after paying the balance, or you are only charging things that you know you can afford to repay each month.
You will pay interest, but the interest rates on personal loans are typically lower than those on credit cards, which may still help you save a little extra money. Depending on your credit, you might even be able to qualify for a lower interest rate on a loan compared with your debt. Also, if you have a good credit score–or a family member or friend with a good credit score who is willing to cosign for you–you might be able to qualify for a debt consolidation loan at a lower interest rate than what you are paying on your prior debt.
Find a card with a longer 0% intro period — 15 to 18 months is best — and roll over your debt payments onto that single account. We recommend using the debt snowball approach because this is the best way to pay down several credit cards when you want to lower how much interest you are paying. The benefits to debt reduction are the person will lower the amount of the principal amount owed, save money not having to pay the monthly compound interest of the debt for as many years as would take them to pay it off with the minimum monthly credit card payments or closer to it, and will have their debt eliminated within 2 to 4 years.
2.Set Savings Goals
To give your savings efforts a little more muscle, consider setting financial goals so that your savings plan gives you plenty of cash to spend on whatever you need. Getting specific about how to save each month can significantly boost your contributions toward a savings goal. Short-term savings goals are usually accomplished by finding ways to cut back on overall spending.
To begin working towards a savings goal, you might first need to tick off the other boxes on your financial to-do list, such as creating a budget, paying down any high-interest debt, working on your credit score, and making sure that you have adequate insurance coverage and other financial protections. Your goals might be short-term, such as buying a new TV or taking a trip to Europe; long-term, such as buying a new house or saving for retirement; or somewhere in between, such as paying down your student loans. For other goals, such as saving for retirement or building an emergency fund, you might want to establish milestones and dates when you would like to hit those milestones.
Financial goals should reflect what is important to you, but for most people, they are a combination of short-term desires (such as having an emergency fund and keeping credit card debt at bay) and longer-term plans, such as saving for retirement. This will help to guard the money that you are saving toward these separate goals, so that you are not tempted to dip into a single savings area, such as an emergency fund, so frequently. Zangardi Haines suggests opening a savings account and setting up automatic transfers of an amount that you determine that you can afford to save every month (using a budget) until you reach the goal of an emergency fund.
3.Pay Yourself First
Paying yourself first is a form of budgeting centered on setting up your lifestyle and bills around long-term savings. Using the pay yourself first savings strategy is no substitute for maintaining an updated budget or savings plan, but it makes the process much easier. Pay yourself first is a reverse budgeting strategy in which you structure your spending plans around savings goals, like retirement, rather than focus on fixed and variable expenses.
The Pay yourself first approach is a reverse budgeting strategy where you propose to save some of the money first, and then spend the rest on bills and other items. Pay yourself first is a budgeting strategy that suggests individuals should put money into a retirement account, an emergency fund, savings account, or another savings mechanism before spending any other part of their paycheck. At its heart, the Pay Yourself First approach simply means having a set amount of your paycheck each month that you save before spending it on anything else.
If you are using a pay-yourself-first plan, you have the option to allocate the money into any number of savings tools, depending on your financial goals. Paying yourself first does not mean that you ignore all your other financial obligations while pursuing your savings goals, so you have yet to take those into account. Essentially, what this means is your top priority should be to get some amount of money in a savings or investment account (or both, if you can afford it) before paying for your monthly expenses, like rent or mortgage payments, car payments, and student loan payments.
4.Stop Smoking To Save Money
Cigarettes are expensive, and quitting could save you money now, while saving you future medical costs.
When you stop using tobacco products, you are free to spend the money you were spending on cigarettes somewhere else.
5.Take A "Staycation"
It might not be the vacation of the holidays, but taking time off from work still helps stave off the effects of burnout, take back control of your routine, and lower your stress levels. Even if you cannot afford to go on a major vacation, a staycation or a brief vacation can be a valuable way to feel restored and refreshed. Many travelers are now turning to staycations, a type of vacation in which you stay in your home or close by, for some R&R. Staycations are becoming increasingly popular, particularly since people feel an increased need for rest, but few means of making a foreign journey happen.
Plus, taking a staycation can be a safer option than a regular vacation, since air travel is still under scrutiny, and cities are in various stages of getting their economies back up and running. Among people planning time off, staying home is the second-most popular choice, after heading to the beach. In part one, rising food and fuel costs are causing many families to consider taking a staycation, replacing costly travel with a local destination. When you go on a week-long vacation outside the country, you are (hopefully) not taking work with you, and enjoy time spent relaxing and making memories with your family.
The reality is, vacation may just mean taking time away from your daily stressors of life, especially those that fall under the scope of work — which is something you can do from home with ease. While staying within familiar spaces may seem restrictive at first, Marty Nemko recommends that people tackle a little project, whether that is home repairs or learning how to cook new cuisines, within a two- to three-day period. Seide suggests taking this attitude into a staycation, incorporating things like bubble baths and an at-home spa day.
6. Separate Wants From Needs
Breaking down spending by priorities is a good way to keep wants from needs separated, while also keeping excessive spending at bay. The key is to keep wants and needs separated, so that you are more self-aware about how you are spending money. Make sure to review your spending regularly and properly allocate money for needs and wants in a healthy way that fits within the boundaries of the budget.
Working these wants into your budget is of course important, but you have to be sure you can afford them. If you are choosing to spend on wants, it is easy to pick up on those items and redirect money somewhere else.
In all of these cases, you definitely want the items in question–food, phones, transportation–but choose to spend more than you should. If instead, you decide to spend hundreds on a new smartphone, this additional spending is suddenly wanted.
Heck, maybe you do not even want the data plan–but because you know you want the phone, you might persuade yourself you need the best possible one, with the most expensive package for talk, data, and text that money can buy. Since you know you have to get to work, you can convince yourself to buy whatever you want based on the premise that your shiny new car is a necessity.
As long as you are managing your budget appropriately, you will be able to cover your needs while also enjoying your wants. The best part of a budgeting system like the one above is that you still get to spend money on things that you want, but you are prioritizing your needs and making sure that you set aside enough money to meet them. By making budgets around things you want and things you need, you are setting aside a specific amount of money for a specific purpose.
Once you have made your budgets and decided what you want to spend in each area, it can be helpful to figure out how much you are spending now.
7. Cancel Automatic Subscriptions And Memberships To Save Money
If you are looking to save a little bit of cash, and want to get a handle on spending, it may be a good idea to cancel some online subscriptions. While there are some really useful services that can help you cancel your unwanted subscription services, taking some steps before signing up to those services in the first place is the best way to save some money. Fortunately, there are services available that can help you locate and cancel unwanted subscriptions, as well as assist you with negotiating lower rates on your bills, and helping you better manage your finances. Even if you are not signed up with DoNotPay services, you may find the assistance you need to begin canceling subscriptions at their websites.
It may even be able to help cancel subscriptions for you, as well as negotiate on your behalf for some lower monthly costs. Trim (Free, with potential charges) was an early subscription canceling service, although Trim (Free) has added more money-management features over the years. Too often, people sign up for a monthly subscription to a gym, a subscription box, or a premium subscription service, then stop using it. It is easy to lose money when you sign up for a free trial of a subscription service, and then forget to cancel.
8. Buy Generic To Save Money
Experiment by trying out a variety of generic brands to find the most flavorful products, saving you money on the grocery bill. Because when it comes to saving money, generic, store-brand products are often the best options. There are times that your local grocery store will run nice sales in which you will be able to purchase name-brand products for less than generic.
Your local grocery store is not going to have fruits and vegetables all the time, whether they are name brands or generics. If you are looking for ways to cut down on your grocery bills, you may want to steer clear of name-brand items and try a few store-brand or generic varieties. Continue saving money by doing big shopping at discount grocers, and buying generic, brand-name products that are about as bland as your tastes can stand. Take a look at your local supermarket the next time around, see if you can find a brand name that is not your name brand, and take a look at the prices.
Check out the labels on the generic product and compare with the brand-name products sitting beside it on the shelves. If the generic is made by the same manufacturers that produce name-brand products, then it is probably comparable in quality. What that all adds up to is you may be saving money short-term, but when your generic electronics break down or cause problems before a name-brand, you are going to be left buying the same product all over again. I knew that was an area I could do better, and decided to go with a generic brand in order to save some cash.
9. Save Money Automatically
Another easy way is to set up an automatic deposit from your checking account into your savings account. Many banks and credit unions give their customers the option of setting up regular transfers, in which you select an amount and the day – usually a weekday or a month – that you would like money from your checking account into your savings account. For example, if you choose to cancel your gym membership, which you are not using, once that R600 per month charge is no longer being taken out of your checking account, you would then want to set up an R600 auto-deposit (on the same date every month) to your savings account.
This is why setting up an automatic savings plan where money is transferred straight into your savings accounts on a preset schedule can be a powerful tool for helping you save. Setting up an automatic savings transfer every month helps eliminate the worries and excuses that we all make for not saving. Fortunately, a handful of new apps and bank accounts are making it easier than ever for you to automatically transfer your savings.
10. Cut Down On Your Grocery Budget
While nobody wants to hear they are probably spending more than necessary at the grocery store, the good news is there are steps you can take to lower your grocery bills. This is stressful for a lot of people, but if your family is feeling the pinch, there are ways you can reduce your grocery bills without having to sacrifice any of your favorite foods. By minimizing the amount of non-sale, items that does not come on a discount but you need it on a weekly basis, like milk, for example, items that need to be purchased every week, you will find you can pre-plan meals and still reduce your grocery bill in half.