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10 Ways To Stay Accountable With Your Money and Finances

10 Ways To Stay Accountable With Your Money and Finances

Budgeting is more than simply allocating money for monthly expenses. People who know how to budget have a systematic way of handling money. Aside from regulating their spending, frugal people often have their finances planned in advance.

However, sticking to a financial plan isn’t as easy as it may seem. Many of us quit our budget plans the moment we mess up our finances. We give up after a month or two of recording and track expenditures. Is there an easy way to track your budget and finances? Here are ten simple points to remember:

1. Think Strategically

What is the whole point of making a budget? When making your budget, always remember that it’s there to help keep you out of debt. The goal of your budget is to create a better  future that will give you more financial freedom.

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2. Set Financial Goals

Is there a project you want to save for this year? What financial goals can you set to make this project happen? When creating goals, make sure you’ve both set up short and long term plans. There are a lot of money management apps out there that can help you allocate your money easily.

3. Prepare for Emergencies

Always have an emergency fund. When things aren’t going well, an emergency fund can save you from debt and stress. Prepare in case of medical emergencies, layoffs, or divorce. Proper preparation assures that you have money for what’s important to you.

4. Limit Budget

When you are too comfortable with your budget, you find it easier to slip into overspending. Try to limit everything to a fair calculation. Don’t give yourself a lot of money to spend for things you don’t even need.

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5. Set Boundaries

Lending money to friends and family members are sometimes the cause of money shortage. So before you decide to lend money, make sure you have your own finances in order first. There is always a possibility that your money won’t be given back by a friend or family member.

6. Take Away Options That Make You Cheat Your Budget

Stop carrying credit cards if you are prone to buy impulsively. Instead, carry cash all the time. Quit browsing on your favorite online shops if you are out of money. You can block the site if you find yourself compulsively checking it out. On this same note, you can also create visual reminders that will help you remember your goals. For example, you can display a note to remind yourself to stay on budget.

7. Find Like–Minded Groups

Find a friend, support group, or online friends who are determined to keep their finances planned just like you. Having a finance buddy could help you to stick with your goals and stay accountable. You and your penny-wise buddy can even exchange spreadsheets (within reason) and evaluate spending.

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8. Build A Reward System

Don’t forget to give yourself rewards for a job well done! Staying faithful to your financial plan for a month is a big deal, that’s why you should give yourself a pat on the back. Find an inexpensive activity or item that will fit as a pleasurable reward for you.

9. Track Your Spending

Track where your money goes. This technique will help you stay accountable and on budget. There are many apps that can help you manage your expenses like Money Manager, Mint, and Good Budget.

10. Schedule A Periodic Budget Evaluation

Don’t forget to evaluate. Monitor how you are doing with your finances. What are the factors that prevent you from staying on budget? What categories can you tweak to create a better and more accountable financial plan? Set aside a specific time or the day or week to make sure you’re not overspending.

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Conclusion

Knowing a lot about finances and money management can help you create a debt free future. So invest in yourself but avoid instant gratification. Spend your time getting tips and advice from financially-savvy people. You can even hire an accountability expert or a financial advisor if you find it hard to do on your own. Ultimately in finance, the more you know about money, the better you’ll be at managing it.

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Armela Escalona

Freelance Writer

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Published on November 11, 2020

10 Best Ways to Save Money Faster and Smarter

10 Best Ways to Save Money Faster and Smarter

People love to talk about budgeting, reducing spending. and investing. But unfortunately, talk is cheap, and poor money management is expensive. It’s easy to talk about the best way to save money, but putting it into practice is a different thing.

What people need to talk about is the practical and efficient ways you can quickly save money to accomplish your goals. After all, they don’t teach this stuff in school.

Here are the 10 best ways to save money faster and smarter.

1. Cancel All Your Subscriptions

Yes, all of them.

Okay, you can keep your wifi and trash. But other than that, cancel all your monthly subscriptions for one month. You will survive, I promise. Better yet, you will realize you won’t miss all of them.

Now that you have had 30 days to examine what you really missed and what you never thought twice about, you can add some of them back in. The others? you never have to think about them again.

This is something you can and should do with every part of your life. If it’s clutter, cancel it. Being able to step back and see what is cluttering your life and what is excelling your forward helps improve your quality of life and financial standing.

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2. Automate Savings From Your Paycheck

Many of us are so excited about getting a new job that we rush through the paperwork during the hiring process. Good news for you, I have had lots of jobs so I have seen it a million times.

There is an option for a portion of your paycheck to go directly into a secondary savings account. This is by far the most effective way to save money every month. We tend to spend most of what we have. So, if we take it off the top first, then it’s less likely to be spent. Just head over to HR and ask. It will only take two minutes.

3. Cancel the Happy Hours for the Rest of the Pandemic

We are in the middle of a global pandemic, which means that there is no better time to buy some drinks from the local store and stop shelling out $5 a drink at the local cocktail bar. When we look back at our bank statements, we are always shocked that fast food and alcohol can add up so quickly. You can easily save a couple of hundred dollars just by taking this step.

A great exercise is to print out your last bank statement and highlight all the areas of alcohol and fast food. The amount may surprise you and make you think twice about that old fashion.

4. Online Grocery Shopping

Some people think online shopping increases the amount they spend. For the most part, I would agree—except for this category.

Online grocery shopping is now a no-brainer, though. Whenever you walk through a grocery store, two things always happen: you always grab impulse items, and you never know the total of your cart until you checkout. This means that we always spend more than we originally planned.

With online shopping, you can see your total as you add items to your cart. You are way less inclined to make those impulse purchases and because of that, I would venture to say that you could even pay to have them delivered to your door and still save money each month by choosing online grocery shopping.

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5. Get a Famzoo Debit Card

This is something my wife and I swear by, and it’s great for the entire family! Famzoo strictly exists to help families and kids budget their money better. Each month, my wife and I have an allotted amount loaded onto our pre-paid Famzoo debit card. This amount has changed every year depending on promotions, kids, stage of life, etc.

The important part is that when you give yourself the freedom to spend a certain amount, you are more likely to only spend the allotted amount. Think of it as a diet. If you are counting calories, you are more likely to stick close to the amount you set. You can also look for some tips online to better stick to your family budget.

6. Purge

This is actually my favorite to do, and it is actually one of the best ways to save money. Raise your hand if you have ever moved. Okay, so everyone.

When we move, we are always amazed at how much junk we have acquired. I have found that about every 6 months, I can find a couple of boxes to sell online of things that we never use. This not only gives you so extra quick cash, but it also keeps your house more tidy and organized.

Now, go clean out that garage!

7. Amazon Subscribe and Save

32! That is how many items I have setup on amazon subscribe and save. Let me explain.

This sounds expensive, I know. But it actually saves us hundreds of dollars per year! We all need toothpaste, shampoo, razors, laundry detergent, toilet paper right? This feature is truly a triple threat. When you have more than 5 items on subscribe and save, you automatically unlock the max savings for every product on your list. This can be up to 20% per item!

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Now, even better is that it ships straight to your door on the exact day you want the item, maybe monthly or maybe you only need it every 4 months. This way, you never have too much or never run out. Either way, it’s totally customizable.

Lastly, there is no contract for any items, which means you can switch brands or items at any given time at no cost. My advice: every single staple item should be on your subscribe and save.

8. Rewards

This may ruffle some feathers, but if you are using your debit card for purchases, you are missing out on free money! We have this notion that credit cards are evil but in reality, they are the same piece of plastic as your debit card.

How you use it can be bad, don’t get me wrong. But if you want my opinion though, ditch the debit card and get a rewards credit card. Use it just like you would your debit card and make sure to pay it off as soon as the statement comes in!

Just to give you an idea of how powerful this can be in terms of money, here are some things that our miles have paid for:

  • 4 nights in Vail with Flight
  • Rental car in Vail (convertible might I add)
  • Flight to Ireland
  • Flight to Hawaii
  • Multiple staycations at very nice Hotels

That’s roughly about 7 thousand dollars in travel expenses so far! Remember that the credit card is just a tool and can be one that benefits you if you use it wisely. Ironically, this can be an effective way to save money.

Pro tip: If you don’t trust yourself carrying around a credit card, then set up all your monthly bills with your credit and leave it in a drawer at home. This way, you rack up miles but don’t get tempted to overspend.

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9. Vacation With Friends

Now, I know travel is hard right now but what a perfect time to go grab an Airbnb in the woods with a couple of friends and detox from the world right now!

Vacationing alone can be pricey and get rather boring quickly, but if you split lodging and set out for a road trip, it can become affordable quickly! For a couple of hundred bucks apiece, you can have one of the most relaxing vacations ever. Don’t forget to pick up your food at the local grocery store to avoid eating out every meal!

10. Make a Budget

When is the last time you updated your budget or made one for that matter? Making a budget is like writing down your goals. If you don’t make a budget, then you will struggle to save.

How can you know if you are spending wisely if you are not tracking everything?

Our advice would be to get a finance app like Mint, Every dollar, or personal capital. All these apps are free and do a tremendous job of tracking spending and budgeting. I still am old-school and have an excel spreadsheet which I do highly recommend.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

The entire goal is to boost your bank account while reducing the effort required. Efficiency is the name of the game, and automation is the key player. Luckily, we live in a world that has more perks than we can ever take advantage of. But if I were to choose a few, it would be the ones above.

Taking on all 10 of these steps may seem a little daunting. You can first try to pick three of your favorite and start there. Saving money doesn’t have to be a chore as long. As we use the tools correctly, it can be quite effortless. And now, you have a great blueprint to get started!

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Featured photo credit: Sharon McCutcheon via unsplash.com

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