1. Create a Spreadsheet
Do you know how much you owe? If you have debt, do you now how much your interest rate is on each one? To easily organize your finances, a spreadsheet is a great way to see your income and your expenses. You can create one in Google Drive so you can stay on top of it. I have a list including interest charges so when there is extra money, I can pay down on the highest interest rate first.
2. Set Up Savings
I know this sounds crazy if you have debt BUT you need to start saving for an emergency. It can be as little as $10 a paycheck or $25 a month. Check with your bank too for some of those instant kind of saving programs. Bank of America takes the change from your ATM transactions, rounds up and the money is put in your savings account. Those pennies add up quickly. It all helps!
3. Organize Direct Debits
I used to advocate direct debits but when my income varies, it is better for me to have repeated reminders set up. I have reminders set up on each of my credit cards when payments are due – 14 days out and 1 week out. This ensures I avoid any late payment fees and any (further) damage to your credit score.
4. Refrain From Impulse Purchases
Yup, we are all guilty of it. Sometimes it is easier said than done. Be sure to have some room in your budget for treats – large or small so you can occasionally splurge!
5. Make A List – Stick To It How many times have you gone to the store and your list is home? The end result, you buy more than what you need and usually forget what you originally went to the store for. I have started putting my grocer list on my phone. When was the last time you left home without your phone? Whether shopping for Christmas, clothing or groceries – always stick to the list!
6. Set Budgets for Events
Everyone’s salary is different so why not set a budget for Birthdays so you don’t feel pressured to match what everyone else is spending.
7. Emergency Fund
This goes back to #2 when we set up a savings account. What happens why you have a surprise expense – car repair, etc? Tempted to pull out the credit card. DON’T!!! Use your savings account or emergency account. By saving a little each money, you are ready for those unexpected events.
8. Don’t Be Drawn In By Offers
Sales. How often are you drawn in by the offers non things you may not really need. If you need it, great. If you don’t, why buy it. I mean do you really need the half price Ben & Jerry’s ice cream?
9. Make a Packed Lunch
Taking lunch to work is so much cheaper than a daily visit to the local sandwich shop. Think of the money and time you will save. Have an hour for lunch? Imagine being able to enjoy a full hour of leisurely eating your lunch and catching up with friends instead of waiting to order food and then gulping it down. Bringing your lunch to work is better all around as well as far healthier for you.
10. Cut the Coffee
Yes, I went there. When I was commuting to work, I would do a WAWA stop on the way to and from work. That came to at least $5 or more a day or $25 per week or over $1,300 per year. I’m now hooked on Starbucks unsweet green tea and thankfully, I don’t commute or it would be about $1,000 a year on ice tea. What could you use a $1000 on?
11. Use Your Legs
If you live in the city or your commute is to an area where there is good public transportation, this is a great way to save money. Growing up in NJ, there really is not a very good public transportation system unless you are headed to NY to work. In addition to saving money, you can also burn some extra calories by walking to and from the stops.
12. Seek Out Deals
Yes, I have gotten lazy when it comes to looking for the best deals. Whether it is car insurance, phone service or our cable bill – I haven’t shopped around for the best deal in ages. When I did call Comcast to re-negotiate our bill, I was able to save about $50 per month which is $600 to apply to paying down credit card debt.
13. Sell And Buy Online
I used to do this all of the time – selling on eBay was a regular thing. It has gone by the wayside but it may be time to revive this old habit. When it comes to shopping online, I am always looking for the best deal using apps like Ebates and others.
What is YOUR best tips for getting your finances under control? Share them with us.
Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!