With the economy being the way it is, in this post-recession climate, it certainly looks like an entirely new niche has opened up: that of financial advice, correlated with resources for saving money. It’s not that the savings segment of the banking industry is thriving, or that using life insurance as a means to save money for the long term is more popular than ever. Still, Americans from all walks of life, demographics, and of various financial means, are looking into tested and true ways to turn their financial woes upside down. That’s why we’ve rallied up all the best advice we could find online on how to improve your financial situation, plan ahead a bit, for a better future money-wise, and even save up. Check out the tips and start acting on those that apply – before you know it, you’ll be thanking yourself.
Turn off the TV
Believe it or not, watching too much TV is costing you money. Trent from The Simple Dollar is one of the main advocates of turning off the TV in order to save some cash and has written at length about it. His theory is that watching television makes you more prone to impulse buying and is a time waste. To boot, less time spent in front of the boob tube also means less money wasted on the power bill.
Try the 30 day rule
How does this rule work? It’s quite simple, actually. Whenever you find yourself considering a big ticket purchase, hold out for thirty days. In the meantime, you can actually save up for that buy, but, perhaps more importantly, you can figure out if you actually need said item that much. You can mark the date you reconsider the purchase in your calendar or daily planner – and you will, more often than not, find out that it would have been an impulse buy after all. In most cases, the impulse vanishes after a month of afterthought. In best case scenarios, you can even find that the item you wanted so badly has since gone on sale and is now available to you at a lower price.
Switch to a better bank
Know the popular saying ‘Ain’t nobody got time for that!’? Well, it describes the exact attitude you, too, should profess before a bank that shows no respect for your hard earned dollar. In this day and age, there simply is no reason to put your money into a bank which squanders it away on maintenance fees and the like. Instead, you should go looking for a bank that provides you with a good interest rate on your savings account. Of course, switching banks isn’t a walk in the park, but it’s far better than wasting your money instead of earning more.
Trim your spending/saving ratio to 90/10
Perhaps one of the best theories for financial planning, especially if you’re just starting out and one of your main goals is to secure a better future for yourself, is to save 10 percent of everything you earn. This is actually a good plan for saving up for old age and making sure you’re doing everything you can for your retirement needs – one recommended by life insurance experts: start planning early. In brief, the 90/10 spending ratio is a good starting point for young households, which also helps sidestep saving to the point where it strains family relationships.
Ask for a credit card rate reduction
Who said you can’t play off the lenders’ drive to hold onto you as a client in these trying times? If you own a credit card with some balance to it, then it’s high time you called your credit provider and asked them for a rate reduction. If you tell them you want to take your business to another bank or financial institution, chances are you’re going to manage talking them into lower rates. And while the deduction won’t necessarily be spectacular, even 3 percent less than what you’re paying right now might save you a few dozen (up to a couple of hundred) dollars each year.
Buy in bulk
This won’t work with all purchases, since some items (mostly food) will spoil if kept around for too long. But what about toilet paper, detergent, cleaning supplies, or anything else that’s not perishable? You can definitely buy large quantities of them in order to save up, since bulk packs usually come with lower price tags per individual unit. Make sure you set up some form of storage space in your home, such as a basement, attic, or storage closet. And even though most foodstuff can’t be bought in bulk, you can try purchasing larger packs at club stores, as per HowStuffWorks’ recommendation – you stand to save some 5 to 10 percent off the purchase price!
Brew your own coffee
Seriously, can coffee brewed and enjoyed at home save you that much money? Consider the fact that coffee is one of those products with a massive gap between store prices and prices per unit at home. For instance, a Starbucks cup will cost you about $2 per 16fl oz – and that’s for the most affordable item on the list. But if you bought your own coffee, you’d pay some $10 per 12 oz, which means spending no more than $.75 per 16fl oz. If you’re a major coffee drinker, the amount of money you stand to save is impressive to say the least.
Turn an expensive habit into a treat
Starting from the above point, consider what else you dabble in that could be trimmed down. Perhaps it’s a new clothing item each week, meals out on the town every other day, or cab rides. What if those habits made a more moderate appearance in your life? What if you ate out once every two weeks, rode a bike into town or took public transport instead of cabs, and thrifted your clothes instead of buying them new? You could save major money and also probably come to appreciate these small pleasures a whole lot more. The basic rule of thumb here is to do away with all expenses which are not mandatory.
By: Jimmy Simond