If you’ve put off working on your savings for too long, it’s time to prioritize your financial well-being. In addition to having an emergency savings fund, it’s important to work on your retirement savings as well as savings for other major expenses, like vacations or buying a house. Whatever your financial goals may be, it’s always a good idea to make a habit out of saving money where you can. Use these clever tips and tricks to boost your savings this year.
Track Your Spending
Today, making a budget is only the first step towards health saving habits. In addition to setting monthly spending limits each month, you also need to closely track your spending in order to truly take control of your finances.
Fortunately, there are dozens of software, website and app options to help you accomplish this easily. Tools like Mint.com let you sync your bank accounts, student loans and other financial accounts to your budget so that you can see what kind of progress you’re making. The site even tracks your spending so you can make sure you’re meeting your budget goals.
When tracking your expenses, it’s important to account for every dollar rather than just estimating your spending. Once you see exactly how you spend, you can adjust your budget accordingly. The ultimate goal with this strategy is to look for places where you can reduce your spending and then allocate any extra funds to your savings.
Automate Your Savings
Today’s technology makes it easier than ever to make saving money a no-brainer. The first step is setting up automatic deposits into your savings accounts. Just as you probably have money taken out of your paychecks automatically for your healthcare and retirement funds, you can create the same kind of hassle-free deduction for your savings.
Simply decide what portion of each paycheck needs to go to savings. Then, set up an automatic transfer at your bank to have the money automatically deposited into the savings account with each paycheck arrival.
This strategy has two important benefits. First, it ensures that you’ll be increasing your savings steadily throughout the year. Second, it takes the effort out of deciding how much to save. Instead of haggling with yourself over how much you should put in savings, you’ll quickly acclimate to the new paycheck amount that arrives in your savings and adjust your spending accordingly.
Sell Your Stuff
Less is more, especially when it comes to your finances. In addition to buying fewer things, you’ll also want to make money by getting rid of the stuff you no longer need. Thanks to the Internet, you no longer have to wait for garage sale season to sell off your stuff. Instead, you can go on sites like Craigslist and eBay to sell it at your convenience. In addition, many cities and neighborhoods have their own online garage sales on sites like Facebook to allow for quick, easy sales within the community.
So what can you get rid of? Anything that’s still in good shape has potential to sell. Clothes, accessories, books and movies are great ways to make a little extra cash to put towards your savings. Bigger items, like furniture, TVs and kitchen equipment, may bring in more serious dough. Either way, there’s little effort involved in placing these items for sale online. Track each item you sell and place that extra money in your savings. In addition to clearing unnecessary items from your home, you’ll also add a nice boost to your savings account.
Lower Your Bills
Think of how many bills you pay each month, including many that may simply be automatically deducted from your checking account. From insurance to credit cards to membership fees, there are dozens of monthly expenses that could be potentially lowered or eliminated. These bills provide a wonderful opportunity to boost your savings month after month.
Start by making a complete list of every one of your monthly recurring expenses. Here are some common examples:
- Insurance: Health, auto, home, life, etc.
- Credit card fees: Note your interest rates for each one.
- Bank fees: Many banks charge for certain accounts or transfers.
- Utilities: Heat, electric, cable, Internet, etc.
- Other: Gym memberships, cell phone, public transit passes, etc.
Go through each monthly expense and look for potential ways to save. Shop for lower insurance rates. If your credit card interest rates are high, consider transferring your balance to a new card with a temporary 0% interest rate. Call up your cable company and ask for a deal. Track how much you are able to save per month through these changes and add the total to your savings each month. You’ll spend the same amount each month, but part of that will be like paying yourself instead of a service provider.
Use these tips to boost your savings. If you need help getting started, consider saving for a specific goal you’re looking forward to, like a new couch or a vacation.