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55 Practical Ways To Save Money Efficiently

55 Practical Ways To Save Money Efficiently

There are many ways to save money and as you start discovering more ways to save money, you will find that it becomes easier as the days pass. If you are efficient and wise with your money, you can probably save thousands each year.

Saving money does not have to be hard. I was able to save my money and pay off around $40,000 in student loan debt. You can save money to lower your budget, pay off debt, and increase your savings too.  Here are a few practical ways to save money efficiently.

Ways to Save Money on Food

1. Buy groceries in bulk. You may be able to save per item this way.

2. Bulk cook your meals. This can save you money because you are less likely to waste ingredients.

3. Make your food at home.

4. Know which grocery stores have the cheaper items.

5. If you eat out, bring a coupon.

6. Create a menu plan before you go grocery shopping.

Ways to Save Money on Insurance

7. Ask if you can qualify for any further discounts.

8. Shop around for the best insurance rates.

9. If you are confident that you can save money, raise your deductibles. You can raise it from $500 to $1,000 and save some money. I’ve seen some people have $0 deductibles who are wasting a lot of money.

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Ways to Save Money on Transportation

10. Know when to buy airfare. Certain days are cheaper, and flying on certain days are cheaper.

11. Do you really need all of that car insurance coverage? When you have car insurance, there are usually a lot of extras in there, such as towing, rentals and so on.

12. Determine how many cars you really need. Cutting out one car can lower your transportation expenses significantly.

13. Know where to buy gas. Near my house there is a gas station that is almost always 20 cents cheaper than everywhere else. It’s not a large savings, but I don’t even have to go out of my way to go to this gas station, so I might as well go there.

14. Get your tires rotated. Tire rotations are cheap and can really extend the life of your tires.

15. Get an oil change. You might not need one every 3,000 miles though.

16. Clean out your car. Extra weight can mean worse gas mileage.

17. Buy a better air filter. Some air filters have a lifetime warranty and can also improve your gas mileage.

18. Know when to buy a car. There are good and bad times to buy.

19. Use public transportation to save even more money.

20. Ride your bike. If you already have the bike, then everything else after this is nearly free (except for bike maintenance of course).

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Ways to Save Money on Personal Items

21. Ask for generic drugs.

22. Buy store brand. When it comes to medications, store brand is almost always identical to name brand.

23. Buy clothing when it is on sale. Clothes almost always go on sale.

24. Buy second hand. There are many second hand stores that carry the latest styles.

25. Take care of the clothing that you buy. Washing something incorrectly can cost you money because you may have to buy the same item again.

Ways to Save Money on Your Home

26. Keep your furnace in good condition. Have someone check it if you do not know how.

27. Buy efficient windows if yours are no longer efficient. If you have old windows, then you may just be throwing money away because cold air is just flowing right inside.

28. Buy the house that you need. Do you really need 8 bedrooms when there are only the two of you?

29. Shop around for the best interest rate.  1% difference in an interest rate can be a big difference for your monthly mortgage payment.

30. Before you buy, know what the property taxes will be like. There were many homes that we were thinking about buying until we saw how much there property taxes were. A similar house at the same price would only have taxes of around $3,000 per year, but some houses that we found at the same exact price had taxes of nearly $7,000 or $8,000 each year.

Miscellaneous Ways to Save Money

31. Keep track of what you spend. If you are not good with your budget and always spend more than you make, then you need to closely keep track of what you are spending.

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32. Start a budget. Make it realistic and know exactly what you are spending in each category. You will probably be surprised.

33. Little amounts add up. If saving an amount such as $200 per month seems too high for you, aim for something such as $50 per week. A different mindset can help a lot.

34. Don’t spend money on interest. Remember to pay your bills.

35. Avoid ATM fees. Look online to see where you can use an ATM for free.

36. Check to see if you are allowed any discounts. If you belong to any organizations, then you may be able to get a discount on certain items. We receive a 20% discount on our AT&T bill, which is nice and it only took 5 minutes to do, and that was over 5 years ago.

37. Save your coins. Throw all of your coins into a jar and empty it out after it is full.

38. Before you buy something, think about how long you have to work in order to actually buy it. Is that $100 dress worth hours of your time?

39. If you are a bad credit card spender, then leave your credit card at home and only carry cash.

40. Round up. Each time you spend an amount such as $1.33, round up to $2.00 and save the rest.

41. Before you buy something, put it down and think about it while you are shopping for other things on your list. If you still want to go back to it, then maybe you should buy it.

Ways to Save Money when Having Fun

42. Find a coupon before you go out. There are entertainment books available in most cities with many coupons.

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43. Look for free festivals in your area. In many cities and towns, there are plenty of them.

44. Go for a bike ride.

45. Camp out instead of staying at a hotel.

46. Use Netflix instead of cable.

47. Visit the library. You can borrow books and even the latest movies at some libraries.

48. Look for free tickets. For many events, you can find free tickets being handed out.

49. Do a secret Santa this year instead of exchanging gifts with everyone. Buying just one present instead of 10 can easily save you money.

50. Have dinner at a friends instead of going out to eat.

51. If you go out, drink during happy hour.

52. Watch amateur sporting events instead of professional ones.

53. Watch a movie early in the day instead of at night.

54. Have a babysitting group if you had children.

55. Buy season passes. Yes, the upfront cost may be high, but you may be able to save a lot of money as well.

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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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