Guest post by Kathy from Catalinastructuredfunding.com
It should go without saying that starting to save earlier is a critical component to financial security. While this concept is easy to say, it is equally hard to implement. With basic expenses and spending only small percentages of your salary on entertainment and luxury items, it may feel like it is an impossible task to sock away any money each month. That said, as hard as it may be, it is important that you start doing so as early as possible.
Here are some basic tips to find money just by slightly altering your day today:
1. Utilizing Store Club Cards
While we agree that clipping coupons seems like something your grandmother might do, we do think it is imperative that you sign up for the store club cards that are offered by the retail establishments you generally frequent. Not only are these cards free but you can save 5, 10 or even 20% simply by signing up and utilizing the cards for the items you would be buying otherwise. Signing up is generally quick and easy and there is no reason to be giving up money at the drug stores and supermarkets you are already shopping at.
2. Gas Purchases
Sure the gas station around the corner from your house or apartment is convenient, but is it charging more for gas than the one near your job or in a different part of town. It some areas of the country gas prices can range between 20-30% per gallon and in our mind “gas is gas”. Spend the extra time to find the most reasonably priced gas in your area and make the effort to fill up there. You may be able to save as much as $5.00 each time you fill up your tank.
3. Credit Cards
Fiscal responsibility means (1) not carrying credit card debt and (2) if you have credit card debt paying it off as quickly as possible. Even a relatively small debt at 20% interest can quickly become a large debt if you ignore it and allow it to grow based on fees and interest. If you do have credit card debt you should look to offers from other companies that allow you to transfer the debt to them at a lower interest rate and pay them off. This simply makes good sense and takes little effort. In the end, pay off the debt as aggressively as possible even if it means foregoing a dinner out or the new jeans you have been dying to have.
4. Automatic Transfers to a Savings Account
Many of us feel more comfortable spending if we see the balance in our account can accommodate it. We recommend opening an account separate from your checking account and have money transferred automatically from the checking to the savings account. Essentially by setting up this monthly payment plan to yourself, you will start saving money simply by “tricking” yourself what is in your checking account to spend. In our experience, you will quickly forget that these transfers are occurring and before you realize it you will have a healthy looking savings account.
5. “Turn Off the Lights”
Maybe you remember your mom saying this to you relentlessly as you grew up. We sure do. While as a child you may have rolled your eyes, as an adult paying your own bills it only makes sense to do this. We suggest the last thing you do before you leave your home is doing a quick sweep to make sure all lights, electronics are off and equally as important you might as well lower the heat or raise the air conditioner before you leave. Don’t worry, Fido won’t be too cold or hot and he isn’t scared of the dark.
Through these basic steps anyone can put aside $100 month or more and you can’t imagine how quickly that $1200 a year will grow over the course of your life. Be aggressive as possible in your youth to ensure a lifetime of financial security.
Kathy Manson is a Finance Coach and Blogger. Currently, she is working on cash for structured settlement at Catalinastructuredfunding.com. She is very proactive and aware about each and every update of financial changes in the industry.
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