Personal finance can be a touchy subject. Everyone has different beliefs about money. While some commonly held money beliefs are helpful—ahem, save 10% of your income and you’ll be prepared for a rainy day—there are other ideas that aren’t worth remembering because the behaviors they promote don’t provide the promised results.
To create healthier conversations and outcomes surrounding personal finance, it’s important to address habits and mindsets that might be interfering with your financial goals or causing conflict or unhappiness in your life.
Nearly everyone earns money, but few people manage it well enough to set some aside, let alone further invest from that surplus. So let’s look at five of the best-proven ways to save money and see which ones could have the most impact on your financial life:
1. Set up an automatic savings plan
Just 30% of Americans have a financial plan that includes savings, according to Debt.com. If you have steady income, set up an automatic savings account. This type of account allows you to automatically transfer funds, based on your preferred amount and frequency, from your checking account to a savings account. Most retail banks offer this service.
When savings is automatic, you won’t be tempted to spend that extra money. A little savings can go a long way.
2. Cutback on regular expenses
When we talk about regular expenses, it includes everything that’s a necessity in your life and that won’t vary too much from one month to another. However, certain expenses can offer you the wiggle room you need to set some money aside monthly.
Review your utilities and consider ways to spend less on energy and gas. Review your cell phone plan and see if your provider offers more affordable plans or renegotiate your contract. If you commute often, consider what you spend on gas and enroll in a gas station reward program to maximize rewards. As a business owner, use a fuel card comparison tool to decide which fuel card best suits your business needs, taking into account your location and the number of cars in your fleet.
3. Stick to the 30-Day rule
Many of our poor spending habits are as a result of reckless impulses – unless you are exceptionally disciplined. However, anyone can learn financial discipline. The 30-day rule is one practical way to curb impulse purchasing. Every time you feel the impulse to buy something that’s not an absolute necessity, give yourself 30 days. Put the money it would cost into a savings account for those 30 days. If you still want it in 30 days then feel free to go buy it.
4. Prioritize spending goals
Decluttering not only works in a physical, palpable way, but it also does wonders when you clear your mind and establish clear financial goals. When you have a clear idea of what is most important, you can create healthier spending habits. Take time to review your current spending habits and take an honestly look at where you want to set spending goals.
Next, decide which priorities require your immediate attention and financial efforts. Start saving toward those goals today. Leave lower priority goals at the bottom of the list. This will help you to organize your spending and redirect more money to your savings each month.
These are four simple ways to cutback on costs and start saving more. Saving money doesn’t always mean you need to become very restrictive with your spending and lifestyle. Instead, it’s about making smarter decisions and taking a more strategic approach to spending. In time, you’ll notice the difference and you will thank yourself later.
Craig Lebrau is the CMO of Media Insider, a Wyoming-based PR company that aims to disrupt the way companies communicate their brand in the digital era.
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