Advertising
Advertising

20 Mini Money Hacks To Save You A Lot

20 Mini Money Hacks To Save You A Lot

If you’re like most people, you’d be happy to have more money, either to pay off debt, invest, or spend on items and experiences you love. I’m not a penny pincher but I do like easy, practical tips to save money and increase my net worth. Here are some money hacks to save you a lot and help you slowly achieve your financial dreams.

1. Hide your money…from yourself.

Begin delegating a portion of your paycheck, even if it’s a very small amount, toward savings. Have this amount automatically transferred from your paycheck to an account you can’t conveniently access, so the money never enters your checking account and you are less likely to spend it. Tricking yourself into thinking you have less per paycheck to spend will help you save.

2. Forget about late fees.

Automate your bills whenever possible. This will help you avoid those dreaded late fees.

3. Tell your raise where to go.

When you get an increase in pay at your job, automatically have that extra amount per pay period go into savings. You won’t miss it if you never see it in your checking account in the first place.

Advertising

4. Learn the language of money.

401K? Roth IRA? ROI? Cash flow? Net worth? If you want to understand savings, learn the language of money. Having an understanding of basic financial terms will help increase your sense…and cents.

5. Save for an emergency fund.

Plan for the unexpected. Year after year, there will be unplanned events that cost money, ranging from urgent home repairs to unforeseen medical expenses. Having money set aside can help greatly when those surprises occur.

6. Build multiple streams of income.

Gradually building multiple streams of income will give you access to more money to save.

7. Track your spending.

Record every dollar you spend for one month. Analyze your findings and determine if you can cut back some unnecessary spending in order to boost your savings.

Advertising

8. Have an accountability partner.

Find a friend on a similar mission to save money, and hold each other accountable. Having someone to encourage you along the way can make a big difference in attaining your savings goals.

9. Forget about the Joneses.

Quit comparing yourself to others. First of all, you don’t know other people’s financial situations; just because your coworker bought a new vehicle doesn’t necessarily mean he had the money to buy it. Secondly, trying to uphold an image of wealth may cause you to spend way more than you should, and therefore actually decrease your long-term savings. Focus on yourself and your situation, and try to do better than you did last year.

10. Don’t buy what you can’t afford.

Just because a store is offering an item for “% money down for 3 years” doesn’t mean you should buy it. And spending money on items for sale is still spending money.

11. Use cash when shopping.

Although some people use credit cards, diligently pay off the balance each month, and rack up airline miles, many of us are not as disciplined. For many of us, carrying cash when shopping is a smarter choice. It’s harder to part with cash; seeing money physically leave your hands is more difficult than swiping a card. Research shows people spend more when they buy using credit cards.

Advertising

12. Be mindful of the company you keep.

Jim Rohn, a businessman, is quoted as saying, “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” Do you feel pressured by your friends to spend recklessly? If your goal is truly to save money, hang out with like-minded people.

13. Ask questions.

You thought an item was on sale, but it didn’t ring up on clearance in the checkout aisle? Ask. Can’t remember the balance you need to keep in your checking account to receive free checks? Ask. Not sure you understand your retirement plan at work? Ask. Many people are scared to ask financial questions, but taking an active interest in your finances is essential for you to take control of your money.

14. Embrace second-hand items.

If an item isn’t going to make you money, it might be worth purchasing it second-hand. If you’re crafty, many items can be refurbished for minimal cost. And embracing hand-me-downs for kids’ clothing can save you thousands of dollars.

15. Study yourself.

Do you overspend when you shop online? Book extravagant vacations when stressed? Are you a sucker for a latte every morning? It’s impossible to change your habits if you don’t know what they are. Studying your habits and what triggers you to spend money in the first place is a fundamental step to saving money.

Advertising

16. Take advantage of the retirement match at work.

If your employer offers free money, take it. All of it.

17. Befriend your tax accountant.

Tax accountants are a great source of information for saving money. Be sure you understand the tax benefits that accompany charitable donations and running a home-based business, if you have one.

18. Cut transportation costs.

Transportation is one of the biggest monthly costs for many people. Riding bike or walking to work, if you live close enough, can save you a lot of money plus helps the environment. If you drive your car to work, commuting with a friend can significantly decrease your costs, and make the ride more enjoyable.

19. Involve your whole family.

Talk to your spouse and children about your financial goals. Kids can help search for best prices on upcoming purchases. Also, you can encourage each other to cut costs around the house by developing eco-friendly habits including turning off lights when leaving a room. Involving your family members empowers them and they will likely want to help save, especially if they know a reward is coming for them.

20. Reward yourself.

As you reach savings milestones, reward yourself. For example, after you have a $1,000 emergency fund saved, treat your family to a special weekend. Kids’ college saved for? Celebrate with a family vacation. You feel you’ve stashed enough for retirement? Delight in that once-in-a-lifetime experience you’ve been longing to take part in. Diligently saving money can be tough, and it’s important to relax a little and treat yourself for excellent progress.

More by this author

Dr. Kerry Petsinger

Entrepreneur, Mindset & Performance Coach, & Doctor of Physical Therapy

Feeling Stuck in Life? How to Never Get Stuck Again 5 Signs You’re Ready for a Career Change How to Find the Purpose of Life and Start Living a Fulfilling Life Don’t like your job? Here are some solutions. How People Make Decisions That Are Bad For Them

Trending in Money

1 How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them 2 25 Killer Sites For Free Online Education 3 10 Recession-Proof Debt Consolidation Tips 4 The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever) 5 25 Easy Tips on How to Save Money Fast

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on September 2, 2020

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

Personal finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. That’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

In this article, we will explore ways to set financial goals and actually meet them with ease.

4 Steps to Setting Financial Goals

Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task, if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps to get you started.

1. Be Clear About the Objectives

Any goal without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream, and this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore, if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it’s for. It could be anything, including your child’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car, etc.

Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives that you foresee in the future and put a value to each.

2. Keep Goals Realistic

It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a Pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going beyond what you can realistically achieve will definitely hurt your chances of making meaningful progress.

It’s important that you keep your goals realistic, as it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

3. Account for Inflation

Ronald Reagan once said: “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman.” This quote sums up what inflation could do your financial goals.

Therefore, account for inflation[1] whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far into the future.

For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years from now, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is a mere 3%. Always account for this to avoid falling short of your goals.

Advertising

4. Short Term Vs Long Term

Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach to achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It’s important to bifurcate goals into short-term and long-term.

As a rule of thumb, any financial goal that is due in next 3 years should be termed as a short-term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long-term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short-term vs long-term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

By now, you should be ready with your list of financial goals. Now, it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

How to Achieve Your Financial Goals

Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a two-step process:

  • Ensuring healthy savings
  • Making smart investments

You will need to save enough and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals.

Ensuring Healthy Savings

Self-realization is the best form of realization, and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

1. Track Expenses

The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your spending. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you will be surprised by how small expenses add up to a sizable amount.

Also categorize those expenses into different buckets so that you know which bucket is eating most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pumping up your savings rate.

If you’re not sure where to start when tracking expenses, this article may be able to help.

2. Pay Yourself First

Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classic mistake when setting financial goals. We pay ourselves last!

Advertising

Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world, i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and manage all the expenses from the rest.

The best way to actually implement this is to put the savings on automatic mode, i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (mutual funds, retirement accounts, etc) every month.

Taking the automatic route will help release some control and compel us to manage what’s left, increasing the savings rate.

3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick With It

Learning to create a budget is the best way to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be organized

Nowadays, several money management apps can help you do this automatically.

At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely, but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options, and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

4. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that, in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

Make savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counterintuitive to many, there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

  • Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Weekends are more expensive.
  • If you are a travel buff, try to travel during off-season. You’ll spend significantly less.
  • If you go shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

The key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice, which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

Advertising

5. Talk About It

Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission.

Therefore, in order to stay the course, surround yourself with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

6. Maintain a Journal

For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

If you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energized to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot easier for you to track your progress.

Making Smart Investments

Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However, savings, when invested wisely, can do wonders.

1. Consult a Financial Advisor

Investment doesn’t come naturally to most of us, so it’s wise to consult a financial advisor.

Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings, and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

2. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about the common ones, like a savings account, Roth IRA, and others.

Just like “no one is born a criminal,” no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference[2].

As a general rule, for all your short-term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature, for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds, etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less compared to equity instruments.

Advertising

3. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

Einstein once remarked about compounding:

“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.”

Use compound interest when setting financial goals

    Make friends with this wonder kid. The sooner you become friends with it, the quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

    Start saving early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

    4. Measure, Measure, Measure

    All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments and taking stock of how our investments are doing.

    If we don’t measure progress at the right times, we are shooting in the dark. We won’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not, whether the financial advisor is doing a decent job, or whether we are moving closer to our target.

    Measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

    The Bottom Line

    Managing your extra money to achieve your short and long-term financial goals

    and live a debt-free life is doable for anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort. Use the tips above to get you started on your path to setting financial goals.

    More Tips on Financial Goals

    Featured photo credit: Micheile Henderson via unsplash.com

    Reference

    Read Next