Start saving today
Financial experts today recommend having at least six months of living expenses squirreled away in a savings account to help you cope with an unexpected change in your financial situation. However, if you’re already pinching pennies just to make ends meet, coming up with that much money may seem impossible. It will take time and financial discipline, but you can do it. Consider some of following tips to help get you started.
Coupons, coupons, coupons
For years, coupon-clipping moms were mocked in the media for their penny-pinching ways. Today, though, the media have come flocking back, asking for their money saving tips! You too can take a page from their books and start saving money with the coupons that you find online or in local publications. Just remember the golden rule of coupon clipping – only clip coupons for items that you’ll actually use. Saving $10 on a case of baby food isn’t a great deal if you don’t have any children!
Switch to home brew
You’ve probably heard this one before — trading the Starbucks habit for a home-brewed cup of Joe — but for some reason, it’s a budgetary step that few people are willing to take. Consider it this way, though. A cup of coffee from Starbucks can cost upwards of $4– over $1,000 a year if you drink 5 cups a week. Coffee brewed at home or at the office costs just a fraction of this, which means more money in your pocket.
Take advantage of free events
Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you have to cut all of the fun out of your life. Plenty of museums, colleges, and other organizations offer free events that are open to the public, including everything from art gallery openings to free cake-tastings to book readings. Check your local newspaper or community website to find out more about free events in your area.
Split an entrée
When you go out to eat, opt to share an entrée with your dining companion instead of ordering separate dishes. The portions served in most restaurants these days are ample enough to feed two people comfortably, saving you both money and calories.
Round down at the bank
Some banks offer a service that rounds deposits down to the nearest dollar and re-routes the remaining change into a separate checking account. For example, if you deposit a check for $85.12 into a qualified account, your bank would deposit $85 into your checking account and the remaining $.12 into your savings account. Even if your bank doesn’t offer this service, you can follow this practice yourself by dividing your checks into separate checking and saving amounts.
Right-size your service bills
When was the last time you looked at your monthly cell phone bill? Have you even looked at all since you set up the account? If you haven’t, it’s time to take a peek – you could be overpaying for a plan that includes more minutes than you need. Take a similar critical look at your cable and internet bills. If you’re paying for premium services that you don’t really need, cut them out and redirect the extra money to your savings account.