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You’re Burning Your Hard Earned Money If You Do These 8 Things Often

You’re Burning Your Hard Earned Money If You Do These 8 Things Often

Saving money in today’s economy can sometimes feel impossible. Do you often find you earn an okay amount but don’t seem to have enough at the end of the month? Taking a good look at our spending habits and recognising how we use our money can go towards re-evaluating and cultivating a life where we only spend what’s necessary.

8 Daily Habits That Drain Your Money Unknowingly

What can you do to help stay mindful of what you spend your money on? It’s all about adopting habits to help you be aware of how you spend your money but these are common habits we have that drain our money more easily.

You Justify Buying the Cheap Stuff

We think we’re saving money if we opt for the cheaper options but in truth, quality lasts longer. Looking at more expensive options as an investment rather than an unnecessary expense is a better mindset to have but we seldom think like this because in the moment more expensive equals more money.

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Spending money on items that last rather than cheap ones that need replacing more often will save you money in the long run.

You Justify Buying Sale Items

We’re led to believe that buying stuff on sale is saving money. If you’re in a supermarket and what you intend to buy is on sale, then great. But we can get caught up thinking we’re getting a bargain when really we’d never have bought that item in the first place were it not on sale! So curb unnecessary purchases – don’t get sucked in to the sale items and justify buying them because you believe you’re saving money – you’re not.

Your Savings Account is Too Easy to Access

It’s so easy these days to with internet banking, to have easy access to our savings. While your good intentions are slowly piling up in your savings account, if it’s easy to get to, you can sometimes delve into it if you feel you’re down on your money.

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So find savings accounts that aren’t so accessible and can’t be linked to your current account. This will help you think twice about transferring that money if it’s not so easy to do.

You Don’t Wait 30 Days Before Big Purchases

This is a good trick if you’re more of an impulse buyer. Impulse buying can drain our money extremely quickly and we can be very good at justifying why we need an item. If it’s a big purchase then do this 30 day rule before going ahead with it. You’ll be surprised at how much your mind can change in this period and often you’ll realise you probably don’t need to buy it or, even better, find a cheaper alternative in the meantime.

You Don’t Set Realistic Goals

When we set the intention of saving money, we can get lots of big ideas on how to do this but most of the time, although it feels good and productive to set these big goals, you can’t realistically stick to them in the long term. This then begins demotivation. So for example, instead of setting the goal of not eating out in the next month, set a more manageable goal of letting yourself eat out once a week instead of your normal 2 or 3 times.

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You Don’t Write Lists of What You Need Before Shopping (and Stick to It)

This is similar to the impulse buying but more so when we’re food shopping. When you’re hungry, you will buy around 20% more food than if you went on a full stomach. Being purposefully mindful before you leave the house by making strict lists of what you need, will cut down more spending than you realise. Research recipes in advance and stick to only what you’ve written down. If it’s not on the list, it doesn’t make the cut!

You Waste Time Finding Cheap Deals

The emphasis here is on time. We spend so much of our time researching in order to find the best deals and often in these moments the best deals actually pass us by or sell out. Think of time as money too – overthinking and overanalysing can waste you money despite thinking that you’re ultimately saving it.

You Don’t Carve Out Time to Declutter Your House

Decluttering your living space is one of the best things you can do to save money. Not only because you can sell many of your old items and actually make money, but also it transforms the space in your mind as well. Once you realise that you don’t need so many possessions to make you happy, it will shift your mindset and make you more aware of unnecessary spending in the future.

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Cultivating this mindset is what will save you the most money in the long-term and help you to re-evaluate what’s important to you. So adopt the mindfulness of spending your money to create a better way of saving it.

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Jenny Marchal

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on January 2, 2019

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

Do you know what mental health experts point to as the biggest cause of stress in the United States today? If you said “money,” then ding, ding, we have a winner!

Three out of four adults today report feeling stressed out about money at least part of the time. People are either worried about not having enough money or whether they’re putting the money they do have to use in the best possible way.

Your money is either in charge of you or you’re in charge of it, there’s no middle ground. Using some type of personal finance software can help alleviate some of that money stress and better allow you to manage your money effectively. Without it, you may just be setting yourself up for constant financial worry. Life is already tough enough and there’s no need to make it more difficult by simply hoping your money issues will all work out in your favor. Hint: they won’t.

This guide will help you to understand how personal finance software can better assist with both accomplishing long term financial goals and managing day-to-day aspects of life.

Whether it’s tracking the savings plan for your child’s college fund or making sure you won’t be in the red with the month’s grocery budget, personal finance software keeps all this information in one convenient place.

What Exactly is Personal Finance Software?

Think of it like the dashboard in your car. You have a speedometer to tell you how fast you’re going, an odometer to tell you how far you’ve traveled, and then other gauges to tell you things like how much gas is in the tank and your engine temperature. Personal finance software is essentially the same thing for your money.

When you install this software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, it helps to track your money — how much is going in, how much is going out, and its growth. Most personal finance software programs will display your budget, spending, investments, bills, savings accounts, and even retirement plans, levels of debt, and credit score.

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How It Leads to Financial Improvement

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.

Some types of personal finance software can help make things a little less complicated, setting you up to meet financial goals and taking away some of the stress associated with money.

Even if you already have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) some type of personal finance software can be of great benefit. Whereas CFPs focus on the big picture of your money, they don’t handle the day-to-day aspects that determine your overall financial health.

It’s also not nearly as complicated as you might think and can take out a lot of the tedium that comes with doing everything on an Excel spreadsheet or with a pad and pencil.

Types of Personal Finance Software

When it comes to personal finance software, it generally fits into two categories: tax preparation and money management.

Tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s software can help with everything from filing income taxes to IRS rules and regulations and even estate plans. Plus, there’s the benefit of filing online and getting your refund check a lot faster than if you were to mail off your forms after waiting in line at the post office.

For the purpose of this article, however, will be focusing more on the personal finance software that aids with money management.

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Money management personal finance software will help you to see the health of your cash flow, pay down debt, forecast for expenses and savings, track investments, pay bills, and do a host of other things that 30 years ago would have practically required a team of accountants.

When to Use Personal Finance Software

So far we’ve gone over what exactly personal finance software is and how it can be a benefit to your money. The next logical step in this whole equation is determining when it should be used and how is the best way to go about getting started using it.

Below are four of the most common and practical ways to use personal finance software. If all or any of these apply to you and your money, then downloading some type of personal finance software is going to be a smart move.

1. You Have Multiple Accounts

There’s a good chance that when it comes to your money, it’s in more than one place. Sure, you probably have a checking account, but you may also have a savings account, money market account, and retirement accounts such as an IRA or 401k.

If you’re like the average American, you probably have two to three credit cards as well. Fifty percent of Americans also don’t have loyalty to just one bank and spread their money across multiple banks.

Rather than spending hours typing in every detail of every account you have into a spreadsheet, many programs allow you to easily import your account information. This will help to eliminate any mistakes and give you a bird’s eye view of everything at once.

2. You Want to Automate Some or All of Your Payments

Please don’t say that you’re still writing out paper checks and dropping each bill in the mailbox. While it’s noble that you’re doing your part to keep postal workers employed, we’re 18 years into the 21st century and you can literally pay every bill online now.

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There’s no need to log into every account you have and type in your routing number either.

With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.

3. You Need to Streamline Your Budget

Perhaps the best feature of personal finance software is that it allows you track everything going in and out of your virtual wallet.

Nearly every brand of personal finance software out there has easy-to-read graphs and charts that allow you track every cent you spend or earn, should you choose. You might be pretty amazed when you see just how much you spent on eating out last month or if you splurged a little more than you should have on Christmas gifts last year.

Every successful business on the planet has a budget and using personal finance software can help you trim the fat on your spending in ways that affect your everyday life.

4. You Have Specific Goals to Meet

Maybe it’s paying off debt or saving for up something like a European vacation. Whatever your financial goal is, whether it’s long-term or short-term, personal finance software programs are one of the savviest ways to go about reaching those goals.

You can do everything from set spending alerts to notify you when you’re over budget to automating what percentage of your paycheck goes to things like retirement investments. The personal finance software that you choose should show you exactly how close you are to hitting those goals at any given time.

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How to Get Started

From AceMoney to Mint and Quicken, there ’s no shortage of personal finance software apps out there. Many of these programs are free to download and will allow you to pay bills, invest, monitor your net worth and credit profile, and even get a loan with the swipe of a finger.

Other programs may only offer you limited services and will require a one-time fee or subscription to unlock all that they offer. These fees can often vary from as little as two dollars to 50 bucks a month.

It’s best to start off with the free version and then gauge whether you’re able to accomplish everything you’d like or if it’s worth exploring one of the paid options. Often times the subscription programs come with assistance from financial planning and investment experts — so that can be a real benefit.

When deciding which personal finance software program to use, it’s also important to look at how many accounts you wish to monitor. Certain programs limit the number of accounts you can add. Be sure that if you have checking, credit card, and investment accounts to monitor, that you choose a service that can monitor them all.

Finally, when looking around for the right personal finance software that meets your needs, make sure that you’re comfortable with the program’s interface. It shouldn’t be expected that you recognize every single feature instantly, but if the features don’t seem readable and manageable to you, then you’re not as likely to use it and get the full benefits.

Final Thoughts

Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.

In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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