Small steps add up to big savings
1. Save your loose change. Saving 50 cents a day over the course of a year will allow you to save nearly 40 percent of a $500 emergency fund. Remember, small changes equal big savings.
2. Need help establishing a spending plan? Beginning on the first day of a new month, track everything you purchase. Then, review your list at the end of the month. It is much easier to make a spending plan once you see where your money is going.
3. Did you know that by keeping your car engine tuned and its tires inflated to their proper pressure, you could save up to $100 a year in gas?
4. Do you know how much money is in your bank account? Avoid overdraft fees by keeping track of your spending. The $20 to 40 you save by not bouncing checks or overdrawing your account adds up fast.
5. Make a list before you grocery shop--and stick to it. People who food shop with a list, and buy little else, spend much less money than those who decide what to buy when they get to the supermarket. The annual savings could easily be hundreds of dollars. Pre-planning pays off.
6. Set aside money from each paycheck as soon as you earn it, rather than waiting to see what, if anything, is left at the end of the month. In other words, make savings a top priority in your budget like rent.
7. Need to "find" money to save? Plug your spending leaks. Add up what you're spending on "little things" such as snacks, soda, fast food, cigarettes, lottery tickets, magazines, and more. If you can "find" $5 per day from reduced spending, that adds up to $1,825 per year.
8. The best investment most borrowers can make is to pay off consumer debt. For example, if you have a $3,000 credit card balance at 19.8 percent, and you pay the required minimum balance of 2 percent of the balance or $15, whichever is greater, it will take 39 years to pay off the loan. With accumulating interest, you will pay more than $10,000 in interest charges.
9. The only sure-fire way to get ahead financially is to spend less than you earn. Counting on a big inheritance or settlement, a wealthy spouse, a game-changing invention, or winning the lottery is unwise.