Some savings ideas—pay yourself first!
Pay yourself first! It doesn’t mean you get to table the car loan or utility bills for the month. What it DOES mean is that you pledge to take money out of each paycheck and tuck it aside in an account that you essentially don’t touch.
Remember: the money that doesn’t first have the chance to ride around in your wallet or account will be safe from random purchases and things you might not really need. Tower makes it easy through payroll deduction or allotments. Set them up! Perhaps you can tailor your finances to meet your desired contribution amount. If not? Reduce it. Payroll deduction is easy and flexible, plus it is a great way to make that budget stick. Set it and forget it.
Do some serious budget cuts. While you’re budgeting, take a look at some areas to cut out—like things you may buy but never or rarely use. For example:
- Clothes that don’t fit. A lot of times, we buy clothes without trying them on—and if they’re a little snug we tend to play those mind games: “One day…..” Instead of letting those items wait for you on the hanger, save your receipt and bring it back to the store for a refund or store credit.
- Gym Memberships. Are you using your gym each week? You’re probably paying upwards of $75 or more per month. It may be time to rethink how much you will actually use it. Check out local classes offered through churches, community centers, and others for a nominal or no fee. There are also drop-in pay-as-you-go classes. It might be $15 per class, but if you actually attend, it may be worth it. A monthly obligation that you don’t use is a waste of money.
- Impulse Buys. Before you buy something that seems absolutely awesome that you weren’t particularly shopping for, why not think about it overnight? It may be a great idea, but the point is that you considered it twice before you purchased it.
- Concert Tickets. How badly do you want to go see that band in person? Even the nosebleed section at many venues can set you back hundreds of dollars. And what if you can’t go for any number of reasons? You’re stuck either giving them away or trying to sell them to friends or on social media.
- Pet Toys. Fido and Kitty really DO need things to keep them occupied, but don’t go overboard on this one. Your dog won’t care. Your cat might give you a disapproving look, but don’t be swayed. They have their faves, so buy them one each so they won’t eat your furniture or scratch up your house.
- Trendy Tech Gadgets. Trendy means that in a few months it will go out of favor and you’ll get a look like “Oh mom/dad that was so yesterday.” If it’s $29.99, that’s probably not too big of an investment. $400 or more? That’s a biggie for most folks. Why not encourage your teens to save their babysitting dollars or snow shoveling fees for that expensive must-have and see what happens?
Finally, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Tower has teamed up with BALANCE to provide you financial counseling and education services to help you achieve financial stability. Simply call BALANCE toll-free at 888-456-2227 to speak with a certified counselor, who will answer your specific money management and credit-related questions. Or, visit the BALANCE website for more information.
Resources: balancepro.org, CNBC; cuinsight.com; MSN