September 19, 2017
 
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Money Matters: Canít Afford to Save? You Canít Afford Not To

You may have your bills under control, but are you building your savings? Financial freedom includes securing your future and having money saved for any unexpected emergencies. Many people live paycheck to paycheck and never get ahead because they’re simply spending too much money, regardless of income. Making some basic lifestyle changes will enable you to save.

 

First, get a clear picture of how and where you spend your money. Make a budget to track your income and spending habits. After paying all your monthly bills, evaluate what is left. If you’re carrying a balance on your credit cards, like most people do, try to stop using them and focus on paying them off by making larger payments.

 

Next, scrutinize the way you spend money on a daily or weekly basis to see what can be cut out. There are so many ways you can save money; the list is endless. Do an online search and you’ll find everything from opening your first savings account to some really extreme saving ideas. You’ve probably already heard of how the money people spend on their daily coffee really adds up over a year. Even if you don’t drink coffee, figure out what your vice is—a soda, bottled water, eating out, cigarettes, magazines, or other snacks. Trimming a dollar here or a couple of dollars there can translate into big savings over time. A $5.00 a day habit can be $150 a month or $1800 a year. The key is to take a hard look at your wants versus needs. Here are some reasonable ways to cut back beginning now:

 

  • Plan meals and grocery shopping to eat at home more often.
  • Fill a water bottle instead of buying bottled water.
  • Use your local library for books, magazines, and videos instead of buying them.
  • Stop buying snacks at work! Lots of health benefits too.
  • Shop around for the best gas prices and don’t use premium.
  • Never spend your money for an upgraded license plate on your car. Stick to the basics.
  • Pay your bills online; you could save about $70 a year in postage for mailing an average of fifteen bills per month.
  • Carry cash to avoid ATM fees.
  • Evaluate your cell phone plan—are you paying for something you don’t even use, like too many minutes.
  • Keep your checkbook balances to avoid bouncing. This can be costly.
  • Completely save your next bonus or tax refund. It should go straight in the bank. Don’t get into the habit of relying on it to pay bills.

 

If your place of employment has a 401K plan, you should be contributing, without a doubt. Money is automatically taken out of your paycheck before taxes and many employers “match” your contributions. This should be maximized.

 

Remember, saving is a learned behavior and you can start immediately to secure your future.

 

 

 

 

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