By Ayesha Haider, BA, MBA, AFC© Candidate, FINRA Military Spouse Fellow For most of us, receiving a tax refund is a...
Most people plan to save money, but by the time the paycheck reaches their account, saving money seems so much harder. Instant gratification and frequent spending have become the new “normal.” Day by day, the wants of consumers are escalating and in some cases have almost become confused with actual needs. This mindset can impact monthly budgeting in negative ways.
A heavy-spending lifestyle could become a never-ending cycle, and many people struggle to get out of it. Unfortunately, there is no quick answer or short cut. However, a bit of planning, self-control, and willpower can help you to pursue your goals of saving.
You may have tried saving money before, but were unable to stick to your saving plans. It happens. Use these tips to help you devise a realistic saving plan.
1. Track Your Expenses
Before you get started on your saving plan, track your expenses. There are specific expenses that occur every month, as well as other costs that occur on a situational basis. Keep a record of all expenditures by entering them into your budget sheet. By recording your utility bills, groceries, fuel expenses, and other payments for an entire month, you will have a good understanding of how you spend your money. Then you can decide the areas to cut expenses.
2. Carry a List
Take a list along when you shop for groceries or other household items. With a list, you may be less tempted to pick up random stuff that you may not need at that moment.
3. Do Comparative Price Checks
Do comparative price checks when you go shopping. If you are unaware of the average prices charged for items, then you may get fooled into paying high prices. It will take up some of your time, but it may be worth it in the long run when you’re saving money. Also, keep an eye out for discount offers and seasonal sales–these may provide great money-saving opportunities.
4. Stop Relying on Your Credit Card
It’s way too easy to swipe a card when you don’t have the cash. There are many benefits to using credit cards, but the best way to avoid overspending is to avoid using your credit card if you don’t have the cash to pay for that purchase. Either carry cash with you to make that purchase or have the money available to immediately pay back what you spent on the credit card. Ensuring that you have the cash available before making a purchase will help drive you to stay on budget and ignore those impulses to make unnecessary purchases.
5. Use a Separate Bank Account for Savings
Keeping the amount you save every month separate from the checking account that you use for day-to-day purchases, so you’ll be less likely to accidentally spend it.
Set up a no-charge Financial Check-up at one of our branches. We’ll review ways you can save money, lower bills, or invest. Start here.