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5 Ways You Can Save Big Money Starting Now

5 Ways You Can Save Big Money Starting Now

If you need to save big money starting now, you can’t waste time on questionable tactics that give small results. Nor can you waste time on strategies that depend on other people (for example, looking for coupons and sales). Here are 5 rock-solid methods that are within your control and actually work.

Here are 5 rock-solid methods that are within your control and actually work.

1. Stop money leaks

Eliminate the money leaking out of your bank account by tracking every penny you earn, and every penny you spend. Most people who do this are shocked by how much money they burn on things that don’t fit in with their goals for their money. Additionally, tracking how much you earn allows you to compare your spending to earnings, and ensure that you’re living within your means.  Seeing the numbers in black and white will prevent you from lying to yourself about how much you’re spending on frivolous items, and allow you to see a crystal clear picture of where you can improve.

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Additionally, tracking how much you earn allows you to compare your spending to earnings, and ensure that you’re living within your means. Seeing the numbers in black and white will prevent you from lying to yourself about how much you’re spending on frivolous items, and allow you to see a crystal clear picture of where you can improve.

2. Spread the word

Boost your willpower to stick with your money-saving plans by sharing them with everyone you know. For example, if you’re going to save money by skipping your daily Starbucks coffee, tell people. You can share the news in person, or via social media. Use whatever method of sharing is most convenient for you. Social scientists have proven that we want to be seen as consistent and truthful – so the very fact that you’ve told people what you’re going to do will increase the odds that you’ll follow through and do what you said you would.  And who knows, you might just inspire your friends and family to do as you’re doing, and improve their own financial positions too!

Social scientists have proven that we want to be seen as consistent and truthful – so the very fact that you’ve told people what you’re going to do will increase the odds that you’ll follow through and do what you said you would.  And who knows, you might just inspire your friends and family to do as you’re doing, and improve their own financial positions too!

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3. Use the right tools

If you’re great with computers, you can set up a spreadsheet to track your spending and expenses. Or, use a budgeting app that’s ready-made for you. If you like a simple solution to budgeting, get back to basics with a foolproof notebook, pen, and calculator to track everything and add it all up. Any of these methods will work to help you save big money. If you love technology, embrace it and use it. If not, there’s nothing wrong with sticking to the old-fashioned (but effective) basics.

If you like a simple solution to budgeting, get back to basics with a foolproof notebook, pen, and calculator to track everything and add it all up. Any of these methods will work to help you save big money. If you love technology, embrace it and use it. If not, there’s nothing wrong with sticking to the old-fashioned (but effective) basics.

4. Avoid impulse buying

Impulse buying is a huge cause of unnecessary spending, and you can stop this habit dead in its tracks with a tried and true tool, the shopping list. It’s not novel or sexy, but it works.

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Make a list of exactly what you need to buy when heading to the grocery store or mall. This will help you to stay focused on buying only the items you actually need, and avoid being caught up in the excitement of purchasing things you can do without.

5. Make a plan

You need to plan where you want your money to go. Having a crystal clear picture of where you want your money to go will help you to stay on course, as opposed to getting sidetracked by the latest thing vying for your money.

You’ll spend less cash on things that aren’t important to you, have more money available for the things you need, save tons of money over the long haul, and reach your financial goals faster.

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Make a plan, save big money, and change your finances forever

If you incorporate these simple tips into your day to day life, you’re sure to see a difference in the health and wealth of your bank account.  There’s no better time than now to take action.

So what are you waiting for?  Stop your money leaks, spread the word about what you’re trying to accomplish, use the right tools, avoid impulse buying, and make a plan for your money.  You’ll be glad you did.

Featured photo credit: www.traviscu.org via traviscu.org

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

Debt can feel crushing, like a weight that is always weighing you down. Looking at those numbers, it can feel as if you’ll never get out from under it. However, if you really want to learn how to get out of debt, it is possible with a great deal of focus and self-control.

Getting out of debt isn’t impossible. Like any big goal, all that it takes is an action plan to identify where you are and creating a plan to zero out your debt.

Identifying All of Your Debts

The first part of paying off your debt is getting a complete picture of what you owe. When you have everything written out in front of you, it makes it much easier to create an action plan. Depending on how much you owe, it might also help you realize it’s not as bad you might have originally thought.

Here’s how you can get started identifying your debts:

1. Own Your Debt

Before you start identifying all of your debts, take a moment to process that you have debt but want to get out of it.

Forgive yourself for any past mistakes, missed payments, or overspending. It might be painful to accept how much debt you have at first, but you must own it.

2. Make a Debt Tracker

It’s astonishing how few people ever created a tracker to understand their total debts. Most likely, it comes from not wanting to accept the guilt of having debt, but, if avoided, it can make it nearly impossible to get out of debt.

Open up a new Google or Microsoft Excel sheet and list out all of your debts. Start with the name of the creditor, interest rates, total balance, loan term length (if any), and the minimum amount due each payment. This will include student loans, credit cards, and any other type of debt owed.

3. Get Your Debt Number

Once you’ve made your debt tracker and taken the other steps, identify your total payoff number. This is crucial, as you will have a starting point and a clear goal that you are trying to achieve.

Prioritizing Your Debts

All debt is not created equal. It’s imperative to understand that there are different types of debt.

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1. Understand Bad and Good Debts

Bad debts are usually paying for things you want instead of always need. While there might be some emergencies that max out your credit cards, often times it’s excessive spending[1].

There are three main types of bad debt:

  • Credit Card Debt: The average American household owes over $16,000 in credit card debt!
  • Auto Loan Debt: According to CNBC , the average auto loan in the US is $30,032!
  • Consumer Loan Debt: Consumer loan debt isn’t as common as credit card and auto loan debt, but it’s still considered bad as interest rates are usually between 10-28%.

Good debt is identified as investments in your future. Here are three common types of good debt:

  • Student Loan Debt
  • Mortgage Loan
  • Business Loans

2. Decide Which Debt to Pay off First

Once you know each type of debt and their interest rates, you can begin to pay off debt quickly.

Focus on paying off bad debt first, regardless of if it is a credit card or auto loan. Start by paying off the loan with the highest interest rate first.

If you have several credit cards with different interest rates, you want to focus on the one with a higher APR. You will actually save more money by eliminating the card with the highest interest rate.

3. Don’t Pay the Minimum Amount

Paying the minimum amount digs you into a hole as interest rates will offset your payment. Even a small amount more than the minimum can help you pay off debt much faster.

Removing Obstacles to Pay off Debt Quickly

Creating a debt tracker and prioritizing a plan is simple, but avoiding temptation can be difficult.

1. Set a Reminder to Track Your Debt

“If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it.” -Peter Drucker

It’s so important to track your debt to ensure that you get it paid off quickly. Similar to working out and measuring your results, you need to track your debt constantly. Start with a weekly reminder, where you sign on and log your updated number. Did you increase, decrease, or stay the same?

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Regularly tracking your student loan balance can be incredibly motivating, as well. You will get a huge confidence boost each time you see your total debt amount decreases.

Set weekly and monthly goals so you can have short term wins and keep the momentum going.

2. Hide Your Credit Cards

If your biggest debt is credit cards, you need to eliminate temptation and remove them from your wallet.

Some people have gone to extreme measures by freezing their credit cards. Why? This would create an ice block around your card, which would require you to chip away at it slowly. This will give you time to think if it’s the best idea to buy that thing you’re about to buy.

3. Automate Everything

Willpower can be a huge downfall to paying off your debt. By automating your bills each month, you will ensure that willpower isn’t involved.

4. Plan Ahead

Getting out of debt will require some sacrifices, but with enough planning, you can make it work.

For example, if you know that you have a friend’s birthday or family dinner coming up, plan ahead for the costs. Whether you need to cut back on spending the week before, pick up a side job, or meet them after dinner, do what is needed.

5. Live Cheaply

The only way to get out of debt is to make some sacrifices on your spending habits. Find ways to save money each month so you can apply that amount to your outstanding debts. Here are some ways to save money each month:

  • Live with roommates
  • Cook dinners and prepare lunches for work instead of eating out
  • Cut cable and choose Netflix or Amazon Prime
  • Take public transit or bike to work

Finding the Lowest Interest Rates

The higher your interest rates, the harder (and longer) it will take you to pay off any debt.

If possible, you want to find ways to lower your interest rates to help get out of debt quickly. Here’s how you can get started:

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1. Maintain a High Credit Score

Your credit score will have a large impact on your ability to refinance your loans and receive a lower interest rate. If you have a low credit score, it’s unlikely you will be able to refinance your loans. Use these credit tips to increase and maintain an excellent score:

  • Never miss a payment
  • Don’t exceed 30% of your credit limit
  • Don’t sign up for more than one card at once
  • Limit hard inquires, like auto-loans and new credit cards
  • Monitor frequently with free credit-tracking software

2. Find Balance Transfer Offers

Start by opening a free account on credit.com. Credit.com offers you the chance to open a free account and see what type of balance transfer offers you can receive. Some of your existing credit cards might already have 0% or lower APR balance transfer offers available.

Contact each of your credit card providers to ask about lowering your rate for a one-time balance transfer offer[2].

If you do take advantage of this option, make sure that you use a balance transfer and not a cash advance. Cash advances have a ton of high interest fees (15-25%, depending on your credit card) and will only compound your debt problem.

How to Get Rid of Debt Forever

Setting up a plan, removing temptations, and getting the lowest interest rates is the first step to get out of debt.

1. Keep Monitoring and Adjusting

Once you have a plan, don’t get comfortable. Track your debt payoff plan and make the necessary adjustments when needed.

Monitor your credit scores with a free site like CreditKarma. The higher your credit score climbs, the more likely you will be to secure a new, lower-interest loan.

2. Earn More Money

There are only so many ways to save money. Instead of clipping another coupon or making sacrifices for your morning coffee, find ways to earn more money!

Think about it…it is much easier to find ways to earn an extra $1,000 per month than find $1,000 to cut from your budget.

Here are some examples of ways to earn more money:

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Talk to Your Boss

Have a conversation with your boss about current salary and/or commission rates. If you’re not satisfied or want a change, don’t be afraid to look around at other positions. Some of them might even have a student loan debt reimbursement plan!

Start a Side Hustle

This could be coaching students on the weekends, driving for Uber, or taking paid online surveys. There are tons of ways to make money outside your 9-5. Now that you have a clear plan to pay off your debts, you’ll be more motivated than ever to figure out creative new ways to earn money.

Build an Online Business

There are so many websites and blogs that earn money from ads, affiliates, and other online products. Find your niche and get started.

3. Celebrate Your Wins

As you progress in your debt payoff journey, don’t forget to celebrate your wins. You need to always reward yourself for the hard work and discipline that is required to get out of debt.

While you shouldn’t celebrate so big that it increases debt, make sure to factor in little rewards to keep you motivated.

4. Set New Financial Goals

Eventually, with a plan and these steps, you can rid yourself of your debt. Once you do, make sure to celebrate your monumental achievement, but don’t stop there.

Now, you can focus on acquiring wealth and increasing your net worth. Set new financial goals so you have a new target to aim toward. Here’s how to set financial goals and actually meet them.

These could be anything now that you are debt free! Think about where you want to travel, buying your first home, or saving for your future retirement. Just like before, make sure that your goals are specific, measurable, and achievable.

Conclusion

Congrats, you can now set a plan in motion to finally pay off your debt quickly (and hopefully forever)!

Remember, if you want to get out of debt quickly, it’s not always easy. Just like any big goal, there will be sacrifices, challenges, and problems to overcome.

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Featured photo credit: Pepi Stojanovski via unsplash.com

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