Money-Saving Tips for Your Long-Term Goals
Money can be one of the biggest hurdles when it comes to balancing the pursuit of your dreams and keeping your budget on track. Oftentimes, long term goals can get sidelined when money’s tight — but there are ways to overcome this road block. That’s why we’ve highlighted simple ways to save a little extra within your current budget, so you can move forward and keep your dreams on track.
Simple Ways to Save Money at Home
Get to work bulking up your wallet with these simple money saving tips that require a few changes in your lifestyle, but reap big rewards:
Love the kitchen. If you often hit up the local café for your daily latte, that amount adds up quicker than you think. Same goes for lunch! Instead of shelling out cash for a subpar burger and side salad, whip up your own recipe and munch on that all week. Mark your calendar and splurge once a month on dining out and get that cup of joe — you’ll save a lot of cash in a year’s time. Plus, it’s better for you!
Cut the cord. With the amount of online services out there, cable is quickly turning into a thing of the past. If you find yourself only watching a handful of channels or shows, why pay the full price for cable? Instead, choose a cheaper cable plan that allows you to pick the shows you like, or just get rid of it and stream those choice shows through a low-cost group.
Money-Saving as a Long-Term Goal
One of the best ways to save cash is to do your best to stop spending money in ways that often get overlooked. Hidden fees, interest fees and other charges hiding in the background are a great place to start. Savings can also be achieved by lowering your personal debt. Although it can be a more tedious process, the payoff can be huge.
Lose the high-interest credit cards. Change to a lower, or zero interest rate credit card. With all the great deals out there today, you’re rarely married to your credit card. Take advantage of offerings by other credit providers and bank those extra bucks.
Make it routine. Overdraft charges and late fees can get costly — but they can be avoided. Set up recurring bill payments and checking account protection, so you never have to incur those pesky fees. And while you’re at it — pay down that credit card debt and avoid hefty interest charges! Some companies, like American Family Insurance, even offer discounts for setting up automatic payments and/or going paperless.
Refuse fees. Let’s be real — ATM fees are a waste of your money. Go the extra mile to find an ATM that doesn’t have a fee, or find one that’s in your bank’s network. If you can’t find a nearby free ATM, opt for cash back at stores, when you have the option. Some banks charge $3.00 - $5.00 for getting cash out-of-network, so why not buy what you need at a local store with that money, and use that cash wisely — don’t hand it over to your bank!
Sell first. Before tossing that old dresser to the curb or giving away that bag of last season’s clothes, check to see if they might fetch a pretty penny to the right buyer. List old stuff, electronics and antiques on sites like eBay or Craigslist, and take old clothes to a resale store.
How to Save Money Online (and Make Some, Too)
The web is a great place to find cash-saving ideas that can pay off. A quick search can get you things you need not just for free, but many groups will pay you to buy their products.
Use coupons. While you don’t have to go to ‘Extreme Couponing’ levels — check to see if there are coupons or coupon codes out there before you buy. Bonus tip: Set up an email account that you use just for deals. That way, you can do a quick search for the store coupon you’d like when you’re about to buy something.
Input your coupons carefully. On sites that allow you to use more than one coupon for the same purchase, take care to use your coupons strategically. If you’ve got a 15% discount coupon and another one for $20.00 off, apply the 15% one first and then use the one for $20.00 off. You’ll receive a bigger discount.
Leverage shopping cart alerts. Place items from your wish list into your shopping cart and set up alerts to notify you when prices drop. Having holiday gifts in the cart a few weeks before Black Friday can save you big money.
Look for refurbished or “as is” used items. Quality may be nice, but it’s not everything. Older, used products can frequently do the same job as new ones, and refurbished products may come with a warranty. Save money by looking around a little.
Buy on the right day. Most retailers will roll out online deals and promotions on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. But airfare plays by different rules, according to the Airline Reporting Corporation. Buy airline tickets on Sundays. And if you’re looking for a laptop, Tuesday’s your day.
Find free money. Coupons can be a powerful tool to add a few bucks to your piggy bank. Another great way to make a little while you’re saving a little is to search online for “money-making coupons.” With the right coupon at the right store, you may get cash back or a mail in rebate form that pays out more than it costs you. Now that’s a bargain!
By making room for even a few of these tips into your savings plan, you can grow your funds and build a better path to accomplish your goals. Making a budget doesn’t need to be complex, you just need to know how to manage your money well. Don’t forget to reward yourself along the way — you deserve it!