1. Evaluate your largest expense
For most people, that’s probably your rent or mortgage payment. Consider your current living arrangements and determine whether your abode is still the best option for you. Depending on your outcome, it may be time to refinance your mortgage, renegotiate your lease or look for new premises.
2. Plan ahead
Consider any big events or expenses you have coming up, such as Christmas or an annual holiday, and plan for them. How much will they cost and how will you pay for them? Using savings instead of debt to finance these events will help you save a significant amount.
3. Pay on time to avoid late fees
By not paying utility bills on time, you are actually incurring an extra $10–$15 for each late payment. To ensure you pay on time, set up direct-deposit automated payments for all your bills.
4. Reduce your credit card debt
The key to getting on top of credit card debt is to understand exactly how much you owe, the interest you are being charged on the amount, and the final amount you will end up paying if you only pay the minimum repayment each month. The results can be quite confronting. It makes sense to pay off the debts with the highest interest rates first. By cutting back on unnecessary spending, the saved money can be used to help pay off this debt.
5. Sometimes loyalty doesn’t pay – shop around
Whilst you might believe that loyalty does pay, the sad reality is that sometimes it doesn’t. Compare quotes every year when it comes to renewing your car or home insurance and engage another insurance provider if you can get the same cover at a cheaper price.
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6. Set a savings goal
Saving is a crucial part of financial planning. If you don’t have any savings, there’s no way of sugar-coating it: You’re going to have to set up a budget and give some things up. Once you hit the particular goal you have set out to achieve, reward yourself with the new iPad or laptop you have been wanting. Mini splurges keep your budget from being boring and make you more motivated to cut costs elsewhere.
7. Set up an emergency fund
Establishing an emergency fund is crucial in today’s economic environment. Most experts recommend that you have three-to-six months’ living expenses saved in case of unforseen financial needs. Don’t be alarmed if you don’t have an emergency fund – there is no time to start growing one like the present. Even if you can only afford $10 per week, it’s a good start. Figure out what you would need to save to feel confident that you would be financially stable if the unexpected happened.
8. Track your spending
Writing down every cent you spend over the course of a week will give you a clear indication of exactly where your money is going. Scrutinise your spending habits and look for ways that you are needlessly throwing money away. The reality is, you may not realise how much money you are wasting until you see it right in front of you. This is also a great opportunity to make sure you are still getting a good interest rate on your savings account and cancel any direct debits no longer needed.
9. Be a bargain shopper
Do you need a new television, washing machine or new clothes? These days, certain retailers offer sales all year long, and often at unexpected times. This means shoppers should always be on the lookout for the best deals, regardless of the calendar date. The internet makes shopping for the best deal of a particular item easy. Undertake research before going to the shop and purchasing to ensure you are getting bang for your buck.
10. Get a second opinion
If you find yourself struggling with no light at the end of the tunnel, it’s a good idea to seek the advice of a professional to discuss everything from saving for now to planning for retirement. An adviser can listen to your concerns, inform you of all your options and work with you to build your finances.
What money-saving tips do you swear by?