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9 Surprisingly Easy Ways To Save Money Starting Today

9 Surprisingly Easy Ways To Save Money Starting Today

There’s a common misconception that in order to save money you have to make a ton of money. Well, that’s simply not true. You can save for the future today without a massive income. You just need to develop some responsible fiscal habits and cut excess spending. For every dollar you save, put the same amount in an interest-bearing savings account. You’ll be elated to learn how quickly the dollars can add up. Here are nine surprisingly easy ways you can get started with saving today:

 Budgeting and Investments

 

Money

    1. Choose the Right Bank

    For starters, you need to make sure you’re working with the right bank. Smaller banks tend to have better interest rates and may even give you some additional perks. It’s not uncommon for banks to offer $50 or $100 bonuses for establishing a new checking account. Seek out these opportunities and you can give your savings account a nice little foundation.

    2. Set a Budget and Stick With It

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    You can’t save if you don’t have a plan. You need to know exactly how much money you’re bringing in each month and how much your set expenses are. Based on this, you can allocate money towards different things and identify places where you can cut back and save. A budgeting tool like EveryDollar or Mint can simplify the budgeting process and keep you honest (they even directly sync with your bank account).

    3. Automate Savings Transfers

    If your bank allows for automated savings transfers, take full advantage of this. What would happen if you decided you were going to have $100 diverted to this account each month. Would you miss it? Odds are you would find a way to do without. Treat this $100 (or increase the amount if you think you can) like a fixed monthly expense – not an optional payment. You may be surprised to find that you’re still able to maintain the same quality of life. After a year, you’ll have more than $1200 stashed away.

    Around the House

    Light Bulb

      4. Cut the Cord 

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      Now that you’ve got your bank account and budget established, it’s time to start saving money and increasing the size of your account. One of the easiest ways to do this is by cutting the cord on cable. Using this handy tool, you can calculate just how much you would save. You can even select which streaming service you would subscribe to in order to replace your cable. Even with a service like Sling TV or Netflix, the average household can expect to save between $40 and $60 a month. That’s between $480 and $720 per year.

      5. Replace Your Light Bulbs

      Did you know that by simply replacing five lightbulbs in your home with energy efficient alternatives you can save $75 per year? Considering that most homes have at least triple that many lightbulbs, you could realistically save $225 each year.

      6. Shop Around for Better Rates 

      When’s the last time you shopped around for a better car insurance rate? Asking for quotes may earn you a better deal. One expert says you can save an estimated $600-$800 annually by merely comparing carriers every two or three years. That’s certainly worth the time and hassle of changing policies.

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      Social and Entertainment

      Cooking

        7. Stop Eating Out

        Every time you eat out, you’re essentially throwing money down the drain. Sure, it’s tasty and fun, but it’s not cost effective. According to a study conducted by a clinical psychologist at Kansas State University, those in the top one percent income bracket spend 30 percent less of their money on eating out at restaurants. That should tell you something right there. For a family of four, cutting back on a single meal per week can save as much as $1500 per year.

        8. Watch Movies at Home

        One of the biggest money wasters is going out to the theater to watch a movie. These days, the average ticket costs anywhere between $10 and $15. For a family of four, that means your night out could cost $60 just to get in the door (not to mention drinks and popcorn). Waiting a few weeks for the movie to come out on DVD is much cheaper. In fact, with providers like Redbox it may only cost $1.99 for the whole family.

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        9. Exercise at Home

        Quick: how much do you spend on your gym membership? Is it $15, $30, $50-plus per month? Most people spend anywhere from $240-$600 annually on gym memberships and fees. While you should definitely stay physically active, there’s no need to spend that kind of money. Take what you would spend in a single year and buy some home equipment. After the first 12 months, you’ll end up saving hundreds of dollars each year.

        You can save money without drastically compromising your lifestyle. In fact, the handful of tips mentioned here could save you thousands of dollars per year. Redirecting that money into your savings account will leave you with a healthy financial security blanket at the end of the year. Don’t wait until tomorrow – it’s time to start saving today!

        Featured photo credit: Paper Money via albumarium.com

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        Schuyler Richardson

        Content Writer

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        Last Updated on March 4, 2019

        How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

        How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

        Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

        I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

        Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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        Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

        Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

        Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

        I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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        I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

        If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

        Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

        The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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        Using Credit Cards with Rewards

        Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

        You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

        I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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        So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

        What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

        Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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