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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Dr. Kerry Petsinger

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

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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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