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15 Fun Ways To Save Money (Instead Of Using Piggy Banks)

15 Fun Ways To Save Money (Instead Of Using Piggy Banks)

Saving money is just one of those necessary evils, but it doesn’t have to be a mundane task. Put the change counter and the piggy bank in the back of the closet, and use these 15 fun ways to help save money:

1. Take Out Cash

Rather than relying on your debit card for transactions, take out cash at the beginning of the week. Decide on a specific amount you are willing to spend per week, take it out in cash and leave your account alone. This will keep you from spending too much, which is easy to do with a debit card. It will also help you make sound decisions on what to spend your money on. With limited weekly funds, eating out four times won’t seem so appealing anymore.

2. Save Your 5’s

Once you’ve taken out cash, decide on a denomination to save. Let’s work with 5’s. Here’s an example: You go to the movies and pay with a twenty. The cashier hands you back a 5 and 5 ones. Take the 5-dollar-bill and stash it away. If you do this every time you spend money, you’ll have a nice little stash in no time.

3. Nix the Cable

With services like Hulu, Netflix, and Apple TV, cable isn’t a necessity anymore. With Apple TV, you pay for the device and have access to most major networks. Hulu and Netflix require a monthly fee, but even if you paid for both, the cost won’t add up to a monthly charge for cable.

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4. Grow Some Veggies

Even city-dwellers can start a vegetable garden. Make a list of the staple vegetables you keep around the kitchen, and then do some research on growing your own. This will save a little change at the grocery store, and it might even become a therapeutic activity for you.

5. Swap Clothes

Do you have a friend or family member that wears the same size as you? Consider doing a clothing swap rather than buying a new outfit for a party or event. Chances are, you’ll only wear that outfit once or twice, so borrowing will save you money and room in your closet. Need a fancy outfit for a dinner or convention? Consider renting it.

6. Make Your Own Household Cleaning Supplies

Not only is making cleaning supplies cost-effective, but it’s also eco-friendly. With some vinegar and a little borax you’ve got yourself an all-purpose cleaner in no time. Use this recipe for a homemade laundry detergent, and each load will only cost about $0.04.

7. Set Up Auto-Draft

Some companies and financial institutions are willing to offer a discount if you set up auto draft payments. Before sign up for service or take out a new loan, ask the company if they offer a discount for auto draft.

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8. Use Layaway Instead of Credit Cards

Layaway is an interest-free way to pay for a large purchase. Many box stores as well as some smaller retail locations offer a layaway option. If it isn’t something you need right now, consider using layaway rather than a credit card.

9. Look for Free Activities

Skip the movies at the theater and head to movies in the park. Many cities offer a host of free activities, especially in the summer months. Use social media tools and the web to find listings for community activities and make your date night a little cheaper. This will also push you to do something new or different, which will broaden your horizons and help you meet new people.

10. Pay for Your Bad Habits

Choose a bad habit of yours that you’d like to get rid of. Take a jar and label it with that bad habit. Select a denomination to put in the jar every time you find yourself partaking in said bad habit. Let’s take slouching for instance. If you want to correct this habit and sit up with a straight spine, label your jar “Slouch Habit”, and place $1 in the jar every time you catch yourself slumping down in your seat. You’ll save a little money and hopefully get rid of that little habit.

11. Cook More

It depends on who you ask, but generally you can save money if you cook more rather than eat out. It’s also healthier (most of the time).

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12. Use Your Rewards

If you plan to use your credit cards, make sure to take advantage of the rewards. Most cards have a points or percentage system that you can use for goods, gift cards and even cash back. Use your credit cards for what you’d normally spend cash on- groceries, gas, etc. Put the money aside to pay off the credit cards immediately, and you save yourself from interest charges while still getting the points.

13. Shop Garage Sales

Need a new dining room table or bookshelf? Instead of buying new, look around at local garage sales to see if you can find something that works. You might find something that just needs a little refinishing. This can turn into a fun project and save you money as well.

14. Start Couponing

Extreme couponing has become quite the trend, but it can really save you quite a bit of money if you know how to do it. Since the coupon craze is in full swing, finding info online or even a class in your area shouldn’t be hard.

15. Stop Paying for Delivery

Having your food delivered means tipping the driver. Instead of ordering delivery, pick up your food to avoid the extra cost of a tip. Some businesses actually charge a delivery fee as well, so you can avoid this by making the trip to the restaurant.

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Do you have any other ideas for fun ways to save? 

Do you overspend? Check out 15 Ways to Eat Free That You Probably Didn’t Know.

Featured photo credit: Vintage Grow Your Money/www.stockmonkeys.com via flickr.com

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Published on May 7, 2019

How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

When it comes to stocks, I bet you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing.

Everyone who’s not a financial expert has been there. I’ve been there. But, time is passing and you need to be crystal clear with how you’re investing for your retirement.

Otherwise, it’s back to work until you can afford not to. So, how can you invest for retirement when you’re not a financial expert?

You take the time to learn the fundamentals well. If you do, you can grow your wealth and retire happy. The best part is that you don’t need to be a financial expert to make smart investment decisions.

Here’s how to invest for retirement the smart and stress-free way:

1. Know Clearly Why You Invest

Odds are you already know why should invest for retirement.

But, maybe you know the wrong reasons. It’s time you get clear on why you’d like to retire. Here are some questions to help you get started:

  • Will you spend more time with your family?
  • What does retirement mean to you?
  • Are you looking to launch that business you’ve been holding off for years?

Everyone wants to retire but not for the same reasons. Once you’re clear for why retirement is important for you, you’ll focus on making it happen.

Investing in the stock market allows you to take advantage of compound interest.[1] All this means is that your money earns money on top of its interest. A reason why investment in the stock market is one of the best ways to plan for retirement.

2. Figure out When to Invest

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”– Chinese Proverb

It’s true if you’d had started investing when you were 10 years old, you’d have a lot more money than you do today.

The reality is that most people don’t start investing until it’s too late. So, if you’re currently waiting for the perfect time to start an investment, it would be today. Open your calendar and block out 2 to 3 hours to choose how you’ll invest for retirement.

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A quick way to get a snapshot of where you stand is to use Personal Capital. Input all your personal information and spend some time setting your retirement goals. Once completed, you’ll know where you stand with your retirement.

Having a savings account for retirement isn’t planning for retirement. Why? Your money loses value when you factor in US inflation.[2]

3. Evaluate Your Risk Tolerance to Create the Perfect Portfolio

Investing your money well depends on your emotions.

Why?

Because when the market drops most people panic and withdraw their money. On average, the US stock market yields an annual 6% to 7% ROI (return on your investment.) But, this won’t happen if you’re worried about short-term loses.

Before you invest your next dollar, know your risk tolerance.[3] Your risk tolerance determines the number of risky and safe investments you’d have.

Regardless of your investing style, you need to view investing for retirement as a long term game. Know that some years you’ll lose money but recoup this in the long-term.

Avoid watching market-related new. Also, create a double authentication to log in your investment account. This way you’re less likely to withdraw your money.

4. Open a Reliable Retirement Account

Depending on your circumstance, you may need to open a new brokerage account. This is the account is where you’ll invest your money.

If you’re currently working for a company, odds are that they offer a 410K investing account. If so, here’s where you’ll invest most of your money. The only problem with this is that you’re limited to the stock options that are available.

You do have the option to open a separate IRA (individual retirement account.) Here are some of the best brokers:

  1. Vanguard
  2. TD Ameritrade
  3. Charles Schwab

5. Challenge Yourself to Invest Consistently

Committing to invest for retirement is hard, but continuing to do so is harder.

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Once you’ve started investment for your retirement, you run at risk from stopping. Often you’ll want to contribute less, so you’d have more money in your pocket.

That’s why it’s important that you create a budget that allows you to invest each month. If you’re working for a company, you can set a percentage for the amount you’d like to contribute each month. Most people by default contribute 1% but aim to contribute 10% to 15%.

Be the judge for how much you can afford to contribute after covering important expenses. To stay motivated, use Personal Capital to view your net worth.

A benefit to contributing money to your retirement account is not taxed. For example, if you earn $100 and invest 10%, you’d contribute $10, then get taxed on the remaining $90. As of 2019, the most you’re able to contribute towards your 401K is 19K but this can change.

6. Consider Where to Invest Your Money

The most common way to invest your money is in stocks, but it’s not the only way. Here are other ways to invest:

Robo Advisors

Robo-advisors[4] are fancy algorithms that’ll choose the best investments for you. Sites like Wealthfront make it easy for first-time investors to invest their money. You’d input information about yourself and set your risk tolerance.

Then, set your monthly contribution amount and your robo-advisor would do the rest. Robo-advisors charge a fee to manage your money, but less than regular advisors.

Bonds

Think of bonds as “IOUs” to whomever you buy them from.

Essentially, you’re lending money and charging interest. Like stocks, not all bonds are equal. Some will be riskier than others depending on their rating.

Here are the different types of bond categories:[5]

  1. Treasury bonds
  2. Government bonds
  3. Corporate bonds
  4. Foreign bonds
  5. Mortgage-backed bonds
  6. Municipal bonds

Mutual Funds

Picture a group of people dumping all their money in a jar that’s managed by a professional. This is how mutual funds work. The fund manager manages the money looking to earn capital gains (interest.)

One of the best types of mutual funds is index funds. Since these funds don’t try to beat the market and instead follow it, they need less research. Because of this they often charge the lowest fees and yield the best long-term results.

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Real Estate

Yes, buying a home is an investment when done correctly.

Imagine buying a home and using it as a rental property. After repairing it, you receive a monthly surplus check of $100 to $200.

This may not sound like a lot, but repeat this process enough times and you’d earn a large amount of passive income. That’s why real estate is one of the best investments to not only retire but become wealthy.

But, it requires a lot of money to start and you should expect losing money along the way as you learn the process.

Savings Accounts

Your money can still grow in a savings account. Nowadays most online banks offer a 2% annual return. Although the average inflation is higher your money will be available when you need it.

7. Master Disincline to Dodge Short Success

Investing for retirement is a long-term strategy. That’s why you need to master delayed gratification. All this means is delaying short-term pleasure for something bigger in the future. Research shows that those who have delayed gratification are more successful.[6]

So how can you master delayed gratification?

By building your discipline.

Think back to what retirement means to you. A clear purpose will help you avoid withdrawing your money during a market downturn. It’ll help you contribute more towards retirement when you’d want to waste it instead.

Your journey towards retirement will be long, so reward yourself along the way. Choose a reward that’s relevant and meaningful, so that you reinforce positive behavior. For example, after contributing more towards retirement, treat yourself to dinner.

8. Aggressively Invest on This One Investment

I’ve mentioned several types of investments but haven’t covered the most important one.

It sounds cliche but here’s why you’re your best investment towards retirement. The more you know, the more money you’ll be able to make. The more good habits you adopt, the more secure your retirement will be.

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More importantly, investing in yourself is an investment that no one can take away. There’s no market downturn nor tragic circumstance that’ll wipe your knowledge and experience.

But, how can you invest yourself?

Reading books, blogs, and anything that’ll help you learn new topics daily. Listen to podcasts and audiobooks on your commute to/from work.

Save money to buy courses and hire coaches. I used to believe hiring coaches was a waste of money when I could learn the subject alone.

But, coaches see your blind spots and hold you accountable. Hiring the right coach will help you achieve your goals faster than you would’ve alone.

Retire Happy with Excess Money

The key to a secure financial future doesn’t only belong to financial experts.

It’s possible for you and I. What if you were able to retire earlier than most people and weren’t a financial planner? What if you were able to focus on what you enjoy doing the most while your money was working hard for you?

I know this sounds impossible now, but the truth is you’re capable of taking charge of your retirement. I’m not a financial expert but I’ve learned how to invest my money by reading books and learning from others.

Investing your money is scary. So start small and invest a small amount of your money with a robo-advisor. Feel your money drop and rise for a month or two. Then, invest more and keep this up until you’re aggressively saving for retirement.

One day, you’ll wake up with a net worth you’re proud of – confident about your retirement. You now know a few strategies you can use to invest in your retirement. Will you take action to retire happy?

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Featured photo credit: Matthew Bennett via unsplash.com

Reference

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