Most people don’t think of saving money as the most sexy thing in the world. In fact, for most people, saying the words “saving money” leads to thoughts about becoming stingy and having less fun in their lives. But there are ways that you can save money without the expense of having fun. And let’s face it, in this economy it is essential that folks start making changes to their financial choices. Don’t be fooled, financial freedom is something that is attainable with some simple life choices. Here are 5 ways you can immediately improve your finances.
It’s hard to know and assess your spending habits if you are not tracking them. This is why you should immediately get yourself a tracking tool, like mint.com, that keeps track of your monthly/daily spending. If you simply go back over the last month of your expenses you should be able to easily identify big money sucking issues that stem from simple daily purchases. Things like buying a cup of coffee on the way to work, or buying lunch instead of bringing a home made lunch can add up to be several hundred dollars a month lost. Once you understand where your money is going, it can be easily to put together a budget for yourself to follow.
Coupons are easily the most under utilized tool for single people and families to save money when shopping. Did you know that coupons don’t apply to just groceries either? You can simply go to Google and type in “your store + coupons” and find a plethora of deals you may not have known existed. In fact, you should make it your standard practice before buying anything online. It’s a great way to cash in on little known deals. Of course, you can still get physical coupons as well through print media and in your snail-mail mailbox.
Credit cards get a bad rap these days due to the average credit score of consumers in America. However, the truth is, if you use credit cards smartly then you can actually profit and/or save money from using them. The best thing you can do is the find a cash back or other type of rewards credit card, and then purchase as much of your normal spending as you can on that card. Pay the card of entirely at the end of the month so you do not accrue any interest. By treating this card like a debit card, you will not be racking up any debt but you will be racking up cash rewards. It’s a great way to start funding your future vacations or saving for your kids college fund.
Instead of spending money on impulse purchases like quad copters from bed bath and beyond or a cool salt lamp, why not purchase investments? If you haven’t already, you should have an IRA (Individual Retirement Accounts) which in most cases allows you to invest $5,500 each year into. An IRA is an investment account which comes with big tax breaks. Most people choose to go with a Roth IRA, which means they pay taxes on the money they put in now so when they cash out the earnings is all tax free. However, IRA’s are not the only type of investment out there. You should research up on mutual funds, bonds, etc. The point is to buy things that will grow your money, not grow clutter in your home.
This might sound a little off the wall at first. But when you take into consideration the fact that most Americans are overweight, it’s easy to see that most of us are probably spending too much money buying food we don’t need. By eating less, and eating healthier, you can kill two birds with one stone. Improve your health, and improve your wealth. You might have heard the rumors that eating healthy is “expensive” but if you actually sit down and break down the numbers you’ll find that fast food and junk snacks often cost more in the long run (and they cost your health too!).
These are just 5 quick ways to start making positive changes to your financial situation. There are countless other things that you can do but the most important thing is that you are constantly striving to improve and be better.
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