“Find a penny, pick it up, and all day long you’ll have good luck.” And you’ll be a penny richer! (Sorry my Aussie friends I know you don’t have pennies, bad luck!) Saving money is hard, and not spending it can be even harder! Here are some ways that you can spend money in effective and thoughtful ways:
1. BECOME AN EXTREME COUPONER, or at least coupon more often. Though you can hold back on buying clothes and entertainment, buying food is a necessity that can make or break your budget. Avoiding eating at restaurants and fast food places by cooking at home. This can save you an ample amount of money each month. Heading to the grocery store with a plan, with knowledge of the weekly sales, and with plenty of coupons will make a drastic difference in your food budget. These days there are some amazing Apps that provide coupons everywhere you go! Even just for when you go to the supermarket! If you can shave 30-50% off your weekly food bill, why not?
A. Make a list of necessary items;
B. Look through the grocery store’s sale items for that week, and see if you can adjust your list of necessary items to match the sale items;
C. Go through the Sunday paper to clip coupons for any items you currently need or know you will need before the expiration date. Have a folder to store coupons, and have fun watching your bill decrease with each barcode scan! Or of course even better if you have the right phone – get a good app (like I said before!)
2. FIND AND WAIT FOR THE BEST DEALS. For big ticket items like appliances, vehicles, and shoes, wait for big sales. There are lots of sales on holiday weekends and toward the end of the year. This is because businesses want to clear out that year’s stock and close the books for their taxes. Take advantage of holiday weekends and the month of December. Unless it’s a big-ticket item that you need immediately, you will get a real bargain by being patient and waiting for the price to decrease.
3. GET YOUR MONEY TO MAKE MONEY. Always keep an eye out for savings accounts that offer the highest interest rates and for banks that offer money for opening an account. Don’t be afraid to have multiple accounts too. Diversifying your money is always good for security, and it lessens the temptation to spend it if it’s spread around. I highly recommend ING to put the majority of your savings because they offer the highest interest on savings accounts AND they even offer interest on checking accounts too. This way, if you don’t have enough money for a savings account, at least you can start accruing interest on your checking account.
4. INVEST IN THE RIGHT PLACES AND IN SEVERAL PLACES. It’s never too early to have a retirement fund, especially if your company has a program that will match your contribution. You should also consider some mutual funds, stocks, or coins. Savings accounts will help inch your way toward wealth, but mutual funds and stocks will help you leap there if you choose wisely and have a good financial planner. Ask your friends and family to recommend a trustworthy financial planner that will help you decide the best places to invest your money.
5. STAY ORGANIZED TO KEEP TRACK OF YOUR EXPENSES EACH MONTH. Keep a list of your monthly bills and due dates so you can avoid any late charges. If you enroll in “Auto-Pay,” you still need to check your accounts because companies will increase fees without warning, and it is up to you to ask them to refund the new charges. It doesn’t hurt to call your bill companies once every month or two, especially things like TV bills. When you call, they usually offer new deals that you may be interested in as well or offer you a lower rate if you say you’re thinking of switching providers because it’s too expensive. You should also call your credit card companies regularly about lowering your interest rates.
As I have shown you, to save money and find wealth, you do not have to get a better job or win the lottery; all you have to do is be more wise about where your money goes. In sum, use coupons on small items, look for sales on big items, put your extra money in a high-interest savings account, start a retirement account as soon as possible, choose a few stocks or coins to invest in, and keep track of your spending so you can avoid losing money unnecessarily. Celebrate your increasing wealth in some way too! Maybe keep all your receipts with big savings in a folder to inspire you. I keep a jar of all my coins and cash them in anytime I’m going on holiday or travelling somewhere. Be proud of whatever you do and always look for new ways to save a dollar!