You’ve got 99 problems. Don’t let managing your money be one of them. There are a lot of different ways to manage and save money that don’t require a lot of hassle or time commitment. To help give you a little guidance for getting started saving and managing your finances we have put together these easy tips.
1) Don’t go it alone.
Get on the same team with your spouse. Sit down together to go over the bills and make a budget. Make goals together and check in with each other. If one of you is struggling to stay on budget, maybe you need to rethink your plan. There is more than way to meet your financial goals, so keep an open mind, and keep talking about it with each other. It’s better to be on the same team and be working from the same expectations. Budgeting together can even be a fun challenge and bring you closer together.
2) Start small and keep growing
If you’re not sure how much money you should to start saving, a good rule-of-thumb is to save at least 5% of your post-tax income. For example, if you make $1,000 a month, you should be trying to save at least $50/month. Then every year increase your savings rate by 1% at least. This way you are continuing to increase your savings in smaller, less noticeable increments, which can feel more manageable. You can put your funds into a regular savings account, a certificate of deposit, or a retirement savings. No matter what type of account your savings is going into, if you continue this pattern over several years you will have built up a decent sized savings.
3) Be less wasteful
Less food wasted means you save money in the long run. Use websites like SuperCook.com to find recipes to help you use up the food you already have in your kitchen. Using up more of the ingredients in your cupboards can also help save you from making unnecessary trips to the grocery store, where you are likely to spend more than intended. Trying to be less wasteful with your foods is not only good your wallet, it’s also good for the environment.
4) Plan your road trips
Whether you’re planning to drive across your city or the country, next time you go on a road trip check GasBuddy.com first. This site tells you how much your gas will cost and tells you where to get the cheapest gas along the way. Paying attention your gas consumption can be a huge money saver. At an average price of $2.15 per gallon for gasoline last year, the average American paid nearly $1,400 just to fill up their tank. Yikes!
5) Shop second hand
If you are in need of a new couch but have a small budget, check out the local Buy and Sell sites on Facebook, or try Craigslist. It’s like a giant online garage sale. You can strike a really good bargain for almost new items ranging from kids clothing and toys, to furniture and even vehicles! Next time you’re thinking of buying a new appliance, see what you can find second hand to save yourself several hundred dollars in some cases. Plus, we all know you’re on Facebook all day anyway…may as well make your endless scrolling save you some money, right?
6) Save the date
Did you know can request different due dates for many of your bills? If you struggle to pay bills on time because they never seem to line up with when you get your pay check, then call your billers. Ask them if you can change the dues dates to better align with your paydays. Having due dates coincide with your paydays can make it easier to pay bills on time and is less stressful to manage. This may not be an option with all of your payments, but it can’t hurt to ask.
7) Make your purchases more rewarding
Credit card rewards can be a great way to earn while you spend; it’s like putting a certain percentage of every purchase into a savings account to use for fun stuff. If you are someone who likes to charge your everyday expenses, like gas or groceries, and pay your balances in full each month, then getting a rewards credit card can be a great way to earn points towards travel, electronics, and even cash back.
8) Do the math
If you’re not sure whether you should make a purchase here’s a good trick to help you make the decision. You take the cost of the item you're thinking of buying and divide it by your hourly wage. For example, if you’re looking at a $50 pair of shoes and you make $10/hour, ask yourself if those shoes are worth 5 hours of work. Sometimes thinking about your purchasing decision this way help you to prioritize you’re spending and which will save you money.
9) Go to where it’s all free
Use the public library for your entertainment needs. They of course have books you can check out, but did you know they also have free movie and game rentals? Your local public library is also great place to find free community events and children’s programs! And don’t forget free internet too. Next time your board and broke, try your local library.
10) It’s too bright
Lowering the brightness of your TV screen from the default settings can reduce power consumption by up to 40%, thus lowering your electric bill. Many newer TVs offer an eco mode which you might want to consider using. Most default settings on TVs are meant to look good in the store setting, once in your home the brightness can be turned down and still look amazing. Other things you can do include choosing a smaller screen size, buying LED light TVs, and even just making sure to shut your TV off when you’re not using it can save you a lot of money over time.
There are countless options to help you start saving. If you’re not sure where to start with managing your money, try out one of these ten easy tips. Once you get a handle on one, try the next, and the next. Soon you will be in full control of your finances and be on the path to a better financial future.