Budgeting, Money Management

Money Saving – Top Ten Tips

Setting a Spending Plan

At the beginning of each year, many Americans include “get out of debt” on their list of New Year’s resolutions and then seem to live under the illusion that they will be able to wish this into reality since a spending plan is never created or written down. The most important part of taking control of your finances is starting somewhere and starting now.

The only way you will get out of debt is if you stop unneeded spending and start allocating the money you are saving toward your debts.

Money Saving Tips

    1. Stop eating out –  Even if you only eat out once a week, if you spend $25 each time you eat out, you’d be saving $100 per month—so there you go, that’s already $100 you are saving.
    2. Stop spending at Starbucks –  Let’s low ball this and say you spend $3 each weekday on coffee, meaning you spend $60 per month. Now you’re at $160 saved.
    3. Use coupons wherever you go – Coupons.com has a plethora of coupons that you can print out. No one wants to be dubbed coupon-crazed, but one or two dollars here and there will definitely add up. Just make sure you aren’t buying something just because you have a coupon for it (and you don’t need it).
    4. Cut out luxuries – If you’re serious about getting out of debt, you can find alternatives to these luxuries.
      • Ladies— getting your hair done; either go natural or do it yourself. Color out of a box will save you at the very least $50. This also goes for getting your nails done.
      • This one is for guys and girls—cancel your gym membership and go hiking instead. You’ll save $20-$30 per month and you’ll get some fresh air in the meantime.
      • If you can think of some other luxuries you can live without, like massages or having a monthly cleaner for your house, you’ll notice that you’ll save at least $100 on those alone.
      • Now for something a little harder to cope with for some—cable. Cancel cable and watch shows for free online at hulu.com. Most shows are available online and you can watch them at anytime. This will save you at least $30 per month.
    5. Downsize your living space. You won’t have to stay in this situation forever, but this could be an easy way to save a few hundred dollars a month.
    6. Downsize your car. Sell your car and buy a less expensive car if you would be able to make a significant amount on the sale. If your family has two cars, try downsizing to one and sell the other. It may not be very convenient, but if you are serious about getting out of debt as soon as possible, these are some options that could help you right now
    7. Sell some of your items on Amazon or eBay.
    8. Work overtime or ask for a raise (only if you deserve it). This also means it’s important to make yourself an asset at your company–do your job.
    9. Take side-jobs if you can. Learn a new skill or use a skill you already have to make some extra cash outside of your current job.
    10. Rent out an extra room in your house if you have one. Advertise this availability amongst your friends and family and post it at church. You’ll need to choose a renter wisely since they will be living under your roof.

Have more tips to add? Share them in the comments below!

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    Gas

    Money Saving Tips at the Pump

    Average National Gas Prices

    The national average for a gallon of gasoline has hit $3.76 and is increasing daily. On top of that, gas has topped $4 per gallon in Alaska, California and Hawaii, with several other states close behind. Unless you are planning to switch to a bicycle anytime soon, the following 6 ways to save of gas will help you keep a little more cash in your pocket when you go to the pump.

    1.  Warehouse clubs & grocery stores. Membership-based stores such as Costco, Sam’s Club and BJ’s Wholesale Club have discounted gas available to their members. These places tend to consistently be the cheapest gas around. The only drawback is that you need to be a member to save–each membership ranges between $35 and $55 per year.

    If you don’t want to buy a membership, you can always purchase gas at a grocery store that offers a discount, like Vons. Vons Club cardholders automatically received 3 cents off gas and can earn 10 cents off depending on the amount of reward points they accumulate.

    2.  Use cash. Remembering to get cash out at the ATM may not be the most convenient option, but you will find many gas stations will offer a few extra cents off per gallon if you pay with cash. In addition, there are gas stations, such as ARCO, that charge $0.35 per transaction for using a debit card (they don’t even accept credit cards).

    3.  Shop smarter. Using apps like Gas Buddy will help you save time and money. The user-updated app uses your phone’s GPS to give itemize a list of gas stations around you by distance and price. You then have the option to get directions to the gas station you choose. So whether you want to find the cheapest gas in your area or you’re running out of gas (we do not recommend this), this app will get you where you need to go.

    4.  Fill up mid-week. Fill up your tank on Wednesdays and fill up all the way. Gas prices increase on Thursday mornings to prepare for weekend traveling and it’s important to fill up all the way since a break in price increases doesn’t appear to be in the forecast anytime soon.

    5.  Avoiding idling. Aside from warming up or cooling down your car, avoid keeping your car on at a standstill. If you are going to be waiting for someone in your car for more than one minute, it is better to cut the engine than keep it on. It wastes more fuel to leave your car on than it does to start the engine again. This also goes for drive-through’s; it’s faster to park and go inside.

    6.  Use a rewards card. If you qualify for a credit card that offers gas rewards, now is the time to take advantage of the offer. You can receive an average of 2-3 percent cash back on these types of cards. The important thing to remember is to pay your balance in full EVERY month. This way, you won’t be charged any interest and it won’t be tempting to carry a balance each month, which would cause you to easily slip into debt. If you don’t think you will have the discipline to pay the full balance, don’t sign up for a rewards card. It isn’t worth the risk.

    Have more tips to share? Leave them in the comments below!

    Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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