Do You Want to Save More Money Each Month?
It’s probably safe to say we all would like to have more money. But how do we do that without increasing our income or drastically changing our spending habits? Is it even possible? Yes, it is if you follow some of these savvy tips.
Review your bank statements
If you’re like most people, you don’t check your monthly bank statement. I don’t blame you – it’s not the most exciting reading out there. However, you may find that your bank or credit union is charging a recurring fee or there was a fee charged in error. For example, the gym where you canceled your membership several months ago may still be charging you.
I’ve seen examples of people discovering fees months later, and in many cases, past the time the bank will honor a refund. If you are incurring a monthly fee, you need to do whatever it takes to eliminate it. There is no reason to pay $12 – $15 for a checking account when there are so many free options available today.
Debit and credit cards make spending money so easy that people don’t even think about the nonessential things they buy anymore. Estimate how much money you’ll need to get through the week and withdraw that amount at your bank branch or through the ATM. Then stick to your budget and only use the cash. Be sure to allocate money for shopping or eating out if necessary.
This tip is for everyone who has ever been hit with massive data overage charges on their cell phone bill. Make sure you’re always connecting to WiFi at home and whenever possible at work or in public. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for the WiFi password at places where you’ll be using your cell phone a lot. If you have a teenager as I do, you’ll notice how often they reach their data limit. One of the causes of the excessive use of data is that the younger generation stream so much content with their phones and music and video use much more data than text messages or email.
Use a budget tracking app
Several budget tracking apps accurately track your spending after you connect all your bank or credit union accounts to them. Check the Internet for reviews on which work well. The best ones are great at accurately categorizing your expenses so you can see just how you’re spending your money. Sometimes knowing where it’s all going helps to adjust accordingly. My favorite app for this is Mint. It’s owned by Intuit, makers of QuickBooks. It’s available for both iOS and Android and has some great features including category tracking and alerts.
Just say no to the coffee shop
This is a hard tip for me to share since I love coffee so much. However, I notice when I go to a coffee shop I usually buy something beyond a good cup of joe and can end up spending $7 per visit. That can quickly add up! Let’s say I visit a coffee shop every day and spend $7 per visit. That works out to be $140 per month and $1,680 per year! Brewing your coffee, including lattes and cappuccinos, at home will save a lot.
*For me, I enjoy going to the coffee shop as a means to get away from the office, and since I participate in rewards programs, I get rewarded with free coffee occasionally. I have chosen to maintain my (reduced) visits to the coffee shop as long as I follow my next tip often.
Bring your lunch to work
Most of my colleagues go out for lunch every day. I try to limit my spending to once a week. My average lunch bill, which includes drink and tip, can be around $15. If I did this every day instead of once a week, I would be spending about $300 per month and $3,600 per year! Imagine what you could do with an extra $300 per month.
Open multiple checking accounts
This is my favorite tip because it has helped me dramatically over the years. Having two checking accounts may help you limit what you spend on non-essentials. Keep the majority of your money in your primary account for paying your bills and making necessary purchases such as gas and groceries. After putting money in your savings account, deposit your spendable money in the second checking account. This money is for eating out, shopping, and entertainment. Don’t dip into your primary account to pay for non-essential items. This makes sure your bills are not impacted by overspending.
There are countless ways to save money by not spending it on non-essential things. The items above are just a few. Get a handle on how you’re spending your money and think of ways that you can cut the extras out. What tips have worked well for you?