If despite having a good budget, you are still spending more than you should, then it’s high time you must follow these practical money saving tips.
There are three steps involved in saving money
First, know how much you have
- If you’re not a fan of a balance sheet, you can start doing this simple work today. Create a list of your assets and liabilities to know where you are financially. You might be earning a few thousand dollars, but your debt is over the edge. Or, you don’t have a decent income but you have zero debts. The exact amount of your asset versus your liability will help you identify serious problems with your finances and the areas that you can change.
- One of the most practical money saving tips is to get a free copy of your credit report from a major credit bureau. It is a summary of your current and past financial obligations. You can also check the additional fees and penalties, and the accounts which should not be there anymore. By looking at your credit report, you will understand which debts are pulling your credit score down and which ones must be paid off as soon as possible. You can dispute negative entries which are inaccurate directly with the reporting agencies or your credit provider.
- Collect all your bills and receipts. categorize them according to use—if they’re for home expenses, transportation, work-related, school,-related and so on, put a label on each file. That way, it will be easy for you to check which bills have been paid and those which were not.
Second, pay off your current liabilities
It’s not easy to pay your debts especially if you have too much of them. IN fact, debt repayment is a long journey and a lot of people have given up and settled for high interests and poor credit rating because they lost the motivation to reach their financial goals. Here are ways to pay off debts when you have limited resources:
- Organise your debt by balance, minimum payment, interest rate and due dates. Check the billing statements or ask your lender for details.
- Use the “debt avalanche” method to save money on interests. It is the method that pays the debts with the highest interests first and the lowest interest rate, last. By paying off the debt with higher interest, you stop the interest from accruing on your accounts.
You have a credit card debt of $10,000 with an interest rate of 20%. Each month, while you pay off your debt, a certain portion of that payment will go toward the interest. If you pay off that debt first, you will be able to save $2000 in a year. You can consolidate your loan to pay your credit card debts or you can make extra payments each month to rip through the interest faster by making more payments toward the principal.
- If you have limited income but you want to eliminate debts one by one, you can use the debt snowball method. Start paying the accounts with the lowest balance and work your way up to the ones with the highest balance. You may not save a lot of money in this process and it may not be the most practical approach, but it would motivate you to keep going, knowing that you are making progress. For example, you have an outstanding credit card debt of $10,000 at 20% APR, a $5000 short term loan and small consumer debts worth $500 from Store A, $300 from Store B and $150 from Store C, all at 5% interest. If you pay off your consumer debts amounting to $950, you will only save $47.50 in interest. But, it will be a good emotional experience that will motivate you to kick your hefty debts to the curb.
Third, find the money to save
Build your wealth on a daily basis. Here are simple acts of savings that could save you hundreds to thousands of dollars in a year:
- Keep your loose change
- Drink water instead of juice or soda
- Bring your own homemade or instant coffee at work
- Pack your own lunch and snacks at work
- Remodel your clothes. You don’t have to be an expert tailor or dressmaker to do this. Scissors and a little bit of creativity can do the trick.
- automate payments to avoid paying late fees on credit cards, utility bills and the like
- Declutter your home and office. You might be surprised to find recyclable items there.
- Choose thrift stores over high fashion boutiques. You can find designer clothes and good quality materials which were slightly used in there.
- Use your time to earn money. You don’t have to be a full-time worker to do this. Small and odd jobs may do, as long as it will give you extra money to save. You can make money out of your passion or hobbies.
- Avoid window shopping. It’s too tempting to resist.
Now you are aware of practical money saving tips, you will be able to take greater control of your finances. When you get started on saving, you will find it exciting and a little bit frustrating at the same time. There are times that you would be tempted to use your credit cards once again. So, if you’re finding it difficult to balance your debts and income—you can get a little help from a debt consolidation company to help you pay off all your debts and start all over again with only one debt to worry about. It will help you focus on saving and repayments, and hopefully on building your wealth as well.