Most of us have good intentions when it comes to saving, but life gets in the way. Here are 5 tips to save money and get you on the fast track toward your goals…
WRITE DOWN YOUR GOALS
Simple as that. There is something about the act of writing it down that makes it ‘real’. Writing it down is also helpful if you’re in a relationship, to be sure your significant other are on the same page. Writing down your goals, long and short term, can also give you accountability. Make your goals SMART.
Specific: What are you saving for?
Measurable: How much do you want to save?
Attainable: Is it possible for you to achieve the goal, based on the measures and time-frame you have established?
Relevant: Does your goal make sense for the stage and circumstances you are in?
Time-based: When will you achieve this goal?
If Joe just writes down that he wants to start saving for his daughter’s college fund, it will be hard for him to know when he has achieved that goal. Stating that Joe wants to open a 529 College Savings Account by the end of the month with a $50 automatic monthly contribution is clearly defined and easy to know when that has been achieved. Long-term, Joe might state that he wants to have $15,000 saved by the time she is a Senior.
MAKE SAVINGS AUTOMATIC
Between work, family, and many other commitments we get busy. Make saving automatic. Get paid every Friday? Set up an automatic transfer in Digital Banking to move money to savings every week. Use your Debit Card frequently? Round up your purchases with our Spend and Save service. When you buy groceries for $43.26, we will automatically round up your purchase to $44.00 and deposit $0.74 into your savings. Watch your savings grow without any work on your part. Technology makes automating your savings easy. Take advantage of direct deposit options and electronic transfers.
MAKE A BUDGET
Yep, you’ve heard this one before. Still works. Making a budget for every dollar in and every dollar out is one of the most popular tips to save money. Use a piece of paper, a spreadsheet, or a mobile app…whatever works for you. Pull up your account on Digital Banking and set up categories for your income that came in and your expenses that went out. You can make a budget for the month or maybe it’s easier to make it for your pay period. Do what makes sense for you. Going through the budget process will draw attention to areas where you spend a lot. Which leads us to our next tip…
Does your mortgage payment stretch you too thin? Perhaps you could refinance to lower your payment or maybe a move needs to happen. Our online calculator can help you run the numbers. Is your Credit Card an issue? Cut it up or freeze it (literally). Trade in your car for something less expensive and/or that gets better gas mileage. Start packing your lunch. A survey by Visa found the average American consumer spends $20 more per week to eat out at lunch. You could save over $1,000 a year by cutting that out of your budget.
Review your insurance coverage. Do you need full coverage? Could you afford to raise the deductible? Look for ways to reduce your utilities. Shut off the lights. Replace light bulbs with LEDs. Some electric companies offer ‘time of use’ savings incentives. Start asking questions and you might be surprised as the expenses you could reduce.
TRACK YOUR SUCCESS
Hang it right there on the fridge! Make sure the whole family is working towards the goal. Make a thermometer and color as you go. And by all means…CELEBRATE your success! A small splurge to celebrate a big win is perfectly okay. Order pizza. Take a mini vacation. Have your celebration…and then start tackling your next goal!
Start using these tips to save money today. Let us know how they work for you. We are more than a Bank, we want to be here to support your entire financial journey.
Ashley Bice is a recovering shopaholic. She hit rock bottom when her husband froze her credit card (literally) after a shopping trip. Shortly after, the couple committed to a Financial Peace class and have been on the road to financial freedom for many years. Bice has been trained by Dave Ramsey’s team as a Financial Coach and regularly leads classes in her community. She leads Alliance Bank’s marketing efforts, sharing stories of our community bank and financial literacy education to clients.