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5 Really Obvious Ways To Save Money

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If you’re anything like most people; you know at least intellectually why you should save. Maybe just like everyone else, you’ve tried saving but, somehow talked yourself out of it. It’s OK, I have been there, I’ve done the same thing, but today I can say I’ve figured out a way of going about saving without it feeling like a chore and I want to share some of those insights with you.

 

First, why do you think you have to save? Don’t tell me, but instead, pause, take a moment and reflect on the reasons – you can even write them down. For me, saving was about stopping to spend the paycheck before I get it. To do that, I had to sit myself down, took a hard look at my spending habit and make some lifestyle changes that got me out of the terrible situation.

Now, let’s get this out of the way, this is not a guilt-trip post – never. It’s not about penny-pinching either. Saving doesn’t have to be hard; I honestly believe you don’t have to come against your willpower every day trying to save.

So, here are what I learned, implemented and got my financial life in line and I hope it does the same for you:
Set up Automatic Deposit: The idea behind this is quite a simple one, set up your account in such a way that it automatically distributes a certain percentage of your earning into different accounts. Now, doing this is so crucial if you are keen on saving because it makes it practically impossible to miss an opportunity to save.
Here’s what you need do; first, I’m assuming here you already have a clear understanding of your cash flow – that is, you have a handle on your spending and how much comes in per month.

So, once the paycheck lands on your checking account; the following should happen automatically:
A fixed percent goes into your ROTH IRA/ 401k: You want to make sure you’re saving for retirement and also maxing it out as much as you can. So it’s important to ensure the amount you’re contributing allows you take full advantage of your employer contributions.

Savings Account: if you haven’t got a savings account, go open one. While at it, look out for banks that offer higher interest rates on savings accounts, no ATM fees, and waivers on overdraft fees. My best bet is opening the account with smaller banks; they’re more likely to offer perks and better interest rates; however, if you already own a savings account, and you aren’t getting a better deal, it’s time to call and ask them.

With the savings account set up, you can begin saving for your long-term goals such as down payment for a house, for your vacation, your wedding, and whatever purpose you may want to achieve. Most banks offer goal setting sub-savings account that is dedicated to solely one goal, take advantage of that to save.

Pay off credit cards: Most people use their credit cards to pay for such recurring expense like a gym membership, internet connections, Netflix, etc. So set up your checking account in such a way that it automatically pays off the credit you’ve run up during the month.

For those expenses that can’t be paid off using credit cards, just direct your bank to make the payments.
Renegotiate your bills: Negotiating a cut in the amount you pay for certain services is an obvious strategy to reducing how much is due for those essential services, but how many people do them?

Of course, it’s not going to feel comfortable picking up the phone and calling say your network provider to talk about a reduction in the amount you pay for data. But, it’s worth a try. You never know what might come out of it – maybe they have a plan you don’t even know existed which is suitable for you and cost less to boot.
Plan out a week’s meal in advance: getting into the habit of doing this was a tad bit weird initially, but with time I appreciated the time and efforts put into doing this. Now, I don’t have to go off to the grocery store making random purchases – every purchase now has a purpose.

To take this even a notch higher, you can decide to shop completely shop online, that way you’re putting in enough thought into what you’re ordering while also confident that they’re really what you need.

Keep an eye on your energy use: utility bills especially energy is one recurring expense that drills a hole in the pocket if left unchecked. So, to keep down your energy bill, start by purchasing electronics and gadgets that are energy efficient, turn off the lights if you’re not in a room, and well, run the warm bath only when it is necessary.

Pay off a little more on loans: Paying more on your monthly repayment plan will save you tons of cash in the long term. So if you can repay your debts faster and without penalties, by all means, go ahead and do so.

Now what?

The truth is getting your finances sorted out is liberating, which gives you the freedom on building up real wealth. So, it’s time to focus on the big wins.

The preceding article is from one of our external contributors. It does not represent the opinion of Benzinga and has not been edited.

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