Saving money is not only about creative cost-cutting, but also about making smart spending decisions. It is never too late to take a look at your finances and start trimming away any excessive spending. Below are 7 helpful tips and tricks to not only help you keep track of your hard-earned money but also help save some of those precious pennies too! Give them a try.
- Erase Consumer Debt: This type of debt includes credit card and line of credit debt. To help minimize your debt considering the following:
- Stop using credit cards, move to debit cards, you will feel the pain of purchase
- Make a REASONABLE plan to stop using and start paying off these debts
- Always pay credit cards bills on time, even partial payments
- Shop around for or negotiate the best possible interest rates
- Make bi-weekly credit card payments, timed with your pay-periods
- Pay Yourself First: Set up a direct deposit that automatically transfers a percentage of your income into a high interest savings account, or RRSP every month or better yet, bi-weekly. This will not only help you be prepared for unexpected expenses but you’ll be taking advantage of the power of compound interest.
- Use a budget app: Entering EVERY purchase into a smartphone app as you buy them and then keeping track of how much you spend and where you spend it as it happens will help you be a more disciplined spender.
- Be a Conscious Spender: Review the last 3-6 months of credit card and bank statements; identify and total the spending by category or location to determine unnecessary/discretionary spending. Most importantly identify the spending that can be adjusted like mid-week restaurant meals driven out of busy-ness, boredom or fatigue ($100 per week per family could fund RESPs instead!). Thinking of the days and weeks that you started with $100 and then had $0 AND had nothing to show for it, is what this budgeting step is about.
- Delete your credit card information from online accounts: Doing this will add an additional hindrance to online shopping and allow you to rethink your purchase each time you’re tempted to purchase something.
- Introduce a 48-hour rule:If you feel like treating yourself to an unnecessary purchase, write the item down and wait 48 hours. If at the end of that time you decide you still want it, then go for it. Record each of the impulses to make an unnecessary purchase, to see if there is a trend or theme to these needs and desires.
- Discover cheap or free ways to have fun and recreation: Inexpensive pursuits typically don’t have the cache of pricey activities, however, they can be just as enjoyable. For example, is it more connecting and exciting to have a leisurely dinner at home with friends, good food and wine or going out for a pricey dinner. Each have their own benefits, and each provide ‘fun’ at the right time, but don’t always take the easy and expensive escape. Invest a little time to research what is possible to both enrich your life and spare your budget.
You’d be surprised at the big differences small changes will make on your savings.