A key to establishing good saving habits is to make saving even easier than spending. Here are some tips.
- Ask your bank about linking your savings and checking accounts via an ATM card. Set up three savings accounts with goals attached to them. One may be labeled "cushion" for emergency cash, a second for "expenses" for unexpected bills, and a third for "investments." Carry your card only when you really need it to make transactions, and withdraw only what you need for one week. Then you won't be tempted to take out cash for impulse purchases.
- Whenever you're paid, put only what you need to live on for one month (or two weeks, if you get paid every two weeks) into your checking account. (If you put more into checking, you'll probably spend it.)
- If you can, put money equalling one month's expenses into your expenses account for unexpected bills. The idea is to build at least a small stash so you're less likely to use your credit card if your car needs a new tire.
- Begin building your emergency cushion by depositing a portion of each paycheck into your "cushion" savings account. If your goal is to have three months' living expenses, you could reach your goal in 30 months by saving 10% of each month's pay or in 15 months by saving 20%.
- Put whatever is left into your "investments" account, including found money such as birthday and holiday checks, bonuses, or money made from a garage sale. If you get a raise, put the difference into this account on a regular basis.
- If your bank can't link your checking and savings accounts, or if you find it hard to control your spending when access to your savings is easy, ask your employer about direct deposit. You can have money taken from your paycheck and placed in a savings account automatically.
Paying off debt is easier once you stop using your cards.
- Pay off your highest interest credit card debt first, making sure you avoid the "minimum balance trap." Because credit card companies make their money from interest payments, they purposely set those payments low so it will take you years to pay off the balance. Paying just a little more than the minimum can make a big difference.
For example, assume you have a balance of $5,000 at an interest rate of 15% and you make the minimum monthly payments of 2.5% of the balance or $25, whichever is greater. It would take you 183 months to pay off the debt and cost you $4,395 in interest. However, if you were to pay an extra $150 each month, you would pay only $845 in interest over 27 months. This is a hypothetical example for illustrative purposes only.
- Consolidate your debt by transferring outstanding balances to lower-rate cards. These days, the competition between credit card issuers is so intense that you can often negotiate your interest rate. If you don't want to transfer your balances, chances are that your current credit card company will match the interest rate of a competitor. Just be aware that some of the low rates available these days are "teaser rates," which only apply during the first 6 to 12 months you have the card.
- Cancel your old cards so you won't be tempted to use them again. The most you need is two. And leave them at home unless you really need them.
- Set up a realistic payment timetable and stick with it. If you need to readjust your timetable, do so. If you have trouble, talk to a professional. The counselors at the nonprofit National Foundation for Credit Counseling can develop a more structured plan for you, if needed. To find their nearest location, call 1-800-388-2227, or log on to http://www.nfcc.org.
Second thing is, credit cards can be useful, but you should have only one, and you should take care to spend only as much as you can pay in that month. In other words, NEVER use credit cards for the purpose of CREDIT.† † It is this indiscipline that the banks bank on (oh boy, more unintentional pun) to make profits out of selling credit cards.
Barter with your friends.. trade garden produce, babysitting, meals, cleaning, even coupons, (whatever) for something you need! You both win.
This one may sound crazy because you hear it so much you don't hear it. Use less. I stopped buying tissues years ago. In our house if you have to go get a bit of TP you do that . WE used to go through many boxes of tissue a year.. now we don't simply because they aren't there.†
Cleaners.. many things can be cleaned just fine with water.. no need to use anything else. If you must make something simple like others have suggested above.† If you absolutely must BUY a cleaner pick one multi-purpose one and use it sparingly. A little elbow grease can go a long way.
Use libraries.. they're FREE!
I have a lot of trouble with the phrase "good consumer".† I know I have to eat but as far as other things go I would rather not be a "consumer", maybe a resource management specialist. Look at every resource you have before considering a purchase. When I do this I find that many simply are not necessary. Maybe goe to a resale shop first... remember... reuse and recycle! Join a local recycling group!
Also, I only go in a store when I need to! Maybe once evry two weeks or so. If you go in you'll probably buy something....and if you go in every day you'll buy many things you don't really need. THINK! Is that bargain really a bargain if you don't even†NEED it !
Anyway thats my 2 cents !
All these tips are really wonderful but I find a lot are easier for people who are settled.† It's a bit harder for someone like me who isn't able to 'shop around' or grow my own food.† I'd love to live from my garden but, that's just something that's not going to happen for a while.† I don't have time to knit or crochette or sew.† The best I do is patch up jobs for clothes are are torn.† I agree with learning how to say no to things you can't afford but I really don't like the idea taking a friend's offer to pay so they can spend time with you.† Once in a while is fine - like going out with a friend who always vie's for the check.† Sometimes you pay, sometimes they do.† It shouldn't always be onesided so that you can save money.† If you're going to say no because of money, mean it.† I turn things down all the time because of that and I very rarely take my friend's offers to pay.
I disagree with the getting rid of direct debits - in the UK it's actually cheaper to do a direct debit rather than pay by check or other means.† Plus, I see it as a means to make sure you pay your bills and not let it slide because you forgot to send in 'this month's check'. And the raise livestock idea sorta hit a nerve.† It's not easy or that much more cheap to raise your own animals, farmers would be doing a whole lot better if it was.† If you go ahead and try this idea, do your research first and learn how to properly care for the animal.† Please!†
I live off of student loans and I have done for the past 4 years.† It's not an inexpensive life with travel, tuition, food, rent - but, it's manageable with what little money I have.† I make a lot of sacrafices.† I don't go out unless it's the college bar where drinks are cheaper than anywhere else.† Most importantly, I don't spend money I don't have.† A lot of kids here live off of their overdraft at the bank.† This is the first year I've touched mine and it's only because the loan was late getting in.† I have one credit card that I haven't used in years and only keep it around for true emergencies.† Credit cards are not as evil as people make them AS LONG AS you control yourself with them.†
It's so true about saving that loose change too!† The girls who used to live in one of my old apartments left behind a huge tupperware container of loose change.† Some American, some British, and some Eruos.† I jumped on it and continued to save and cash in at the bank periodically.† It's great and really does add up.
For some extra cash, join some of those free survey sites.† They pay you for just taking their surveys and it's free for you!† I know someone who does this and she's loves it.† It's great for extra pocket cash so that you don't have to dip into your bank account for little stuff or impulse buys.
And I gotta say, coffee is an essential for me LOL.† But, going out to buy coffee from shops is not.† Making your own coffee isn't that expensive and if you buy a cafeteria, all you need is hot water.† That being said, I do limit myself to one cup a day and I don't drink it everyday.†
Great, great tips!
Also look at your paragraph...btw I am in school as well.
"I live off of student loans and I have done for the past 4 years.† It's not an inexpensive life with travel, tuition, food, rent - but, it's manageable with what little money I have.† I make a lot of sacrafices.† I don't go out unless it's the college bar where drinks are cheaper than anywhere else.† Most importantly, I don't spend money I don't have.† A lot of kids here live off of their overdraft at the bank.† This is the first year I've touched mine and it's only because the loan was late getting in.† I have one credit card that I haven't used in years and only keep it around for true emergencies.† Credit cards are not as evil as people make them AS LONG AS you control yourself with them. "
You live off of student loans and then berate others for living off their over draft...isn't that the same?
Then you go out for drinks...but only cheap ones.† Why I wish I could.
If you really want mobile advice.† Learn you flora and fauna...some of it is delicious.†
Use public places, in America libraries are great finds, so are local malls.† Hours of entertainment free.† People watching is great.† Plus exercising walking around.† No drinks to buy, hence not even money spent on cheap drinks.
Also digging me about the movies...it is true.† If you don't have the money to spend on the movies...say so.† As a college student, and mother of 5 NOT living on student loans.† Well...geeze that is how it is.† I would love to go to the movie, but I can't afford such a luxury.
That doesn't mean my friends take me out every month...I think I've had one friend take me out three times last year.†
Also if you really need to save...go to the second hand shop, yard sales, and what not.
You might not have the time to learn to sew, because it's not a priority.† If you really wanted to you could spend all that time at the pub learning.† It is practical ya know.
Furthermore...livestock...no raising cows aren't economical ..but rabbits and chickens are.† Living in the country and raising rabbits and chicken for almost 10 years I should know.† If you raise them organically and on a natural diet...free range for chickens ...well you can't have cheaper or healthier animals.† Housing for both is may be 100 bucks. (about 60 euros)
Saving money is about sacrafise, but it's all in how you view that sacrafise.† Is it a blessing because now you can spend more time with your family or a burden because you can't go out more?
That's where you need to make your adjustment first to save money.
Instead of a night at the pub try;
learning a new skill...always fun to make fun of yourself ...
playing a boardgame with your friends or kids.† The kids will love you...trust me.
playing cards, with buddies...but don't gamble...this could lose you money.
Having an "unsaid" contest to come up with the most messed up way to deal with a problem...see college jokes about "these nuts"...
If your in college...well you should have a wonderful oppurtunity to entertain yourself for hours inventing new ways to mess with your room mate...at least this seems to be what the boys in my class do when not stoned.† Great oppurtunity to think up ways to get out of the trouble you'll get into doing this too...whatever you do don't get so drunk in the process that the local fire department has to lower you down from the bell tower. (long story)†
use the internet to your full advantage...as described above.† Might I add the Gutenberg Project and audio books.
Check out DVD's from your local library...agian the blessed library.
If you are really really bored and have tons of extra time...GET A JOB.† (hey some people consider it fun)
You can live on a dollar a day here in the US.† Free coffee abound, free water in school or the library (water fountain), the dollar store and various grocery stores...dents make cents stores.†
A typical "dollar day" could go.† Breakfast coffee at work (FREE), Lunch Banana (20 cents), snack crackers (15 cents if bought in bulk package), dinner rice (27 cents a pound) and beans (35 cents a pound).† I usually do something similar every day.† If you did this just once or twice a week you could save plenty of money.
Learn your flora and fauna.† I actually require my children to learn natural foods.† You know the weird stuff that no one knows IS food.† Like the pear tree we found in a public park that people gasp when we ate the food.† (That's right said OMG that not real pears, when indeed the grounds keeper said they were and free to the public)† Honestly, we have persimmon trees no one uses but us.† We have poke salad.† We have fern shoots.† We have sidewalk peach jam every summer...from the tree growing out of the sidewalk next to subway in Batesville.† We have pecans, hecans, hickory, and walnuts...every fall.† My kids have even eaten acorn pancakes.† Not just to save money...but to teach them something.† Survival in the wilderness...not really.† The idea that they are not helpless.† You can find food...everywhere.† People snub their nose all the time...saying that's not healthy, realistic, proper etc... Well, it worked fine for those that came before...why not us?† Are we too good for it?
That's the real question...are you too good for it?
Food can be found in a variety of discount stores.† It can be found in parks...did you know squash blossums...the male ones...are edible?† Did you know rose hips are edible and make a great jelly?† All of these things can be used.†
Whoa, I'm really sorry I came off the way I did.† I didn't mean to berate you or others.† I was just giving my personal take on a few ideas I had read.† You're right in that sacrafice is in the eye of the beholder and I choose carefully where I make my sacrafices.† It's going to be different for everyone.
For me, I can't help but use students loans.† It's the course I'm in and I'm also abroad.† I don't have a lot of time because, believe me, I'd love to have a job.† The only year that I could have been able was my first year here and there were communication issues surrounding that one.† I'm not bored anyhow and, I guess, going to the college pub is my sacrafice.† But, it is once in a great while I'm sorry if I made it seem like I go out every night and drink till the sun comes up.† It's not that way.† You can get 3 or 4 drinks for under £5 and it's cheaper than a drive to the mall or travel anywhere else.† Or a movie rental from blockbuster while they've got†their present†deal - 3 movies for £7 and someone always has left over chocolate.† We have nights in where we don't spend money either and we do just enjoy each other's company.
Anyway, I didn't mean to come off as harsh or combative.† I applaud all that you do for you and your family but I'm still not going to advocate raising your own animals UNLESS you know what you are doing.† You obviously do.† It was just a warning to people who might look into that particular tip that it's a lot of forward planning.† I'm a vet-in-training.† Animals are my priority.† That's all I meant by that.
well the kids in my school..some I should say.† Usually end up so drunk they need help getting to bed.
I guess it's just those students.
I on the other hand rarely drink and find it obnoxious when other students come to class drunk/stoned..
Then again you couldn't get to vet school if you did that.