Hey… It’s me again. The lady who likes to ask questions only you have the answer to. Tax season is here for some of us who work in the financial realm and postponed for all those waiting to splurge. Like you, I sometimes fall short, struggle and have the need to come up with cash quick. I know a lot of us hate saving and some don’t really even know how to do it. Here’s a few tips I been applying to my life. Perhaps they can work for you too.
1. Budget (Actually sitting down to write/type this out is annoying, but very beneficial) Be it utilities, entertainment, leisure, food, clothing, transportation, etc. It’s a good practice to know how you are allocating your funds monthly. Once this is organized for you, you can review your expenses and determine what you need to spend less on. Basic laws of saving is to
2. Lifestyle (Once you budget you may find that you are living above your means) I’ve done this before. Small changes can make a difference and create savings. For example, those Poland Spring 3 for $10 water cases add up, allow a Brita pitchers to be your friend. Precut fruit platters are nice to look at but they cost more, buy whole fruit and prepare your own platter. These small changes add up, believe me before you know it, you’ll have extra cash each month.
3. Credit Cards (Emergency Card, Gas Card) If you credit is ok, these are two minimums to have. Pay them off in full every time you use it, at least a few days before the due date. After a solid history of payments, consider asking for an increase if one isn’t offered, it shows other creditors a solid pay history and it decreases your risk level.
4. Credit Union Accounts (With big banks swallowing your balances up with fees, and constantly overcharging you, credit unions offer a kind alternative) I have found the small credit unions to be really family oriented with great member incentives and great rates. I am not suggesting you abandon your big bank, but at least keep a savings with a credit union. Weekly – Monthly deposits yield great results. If you ever run into financial bind, they would approve a personal loan quicker and with less hassle than your average BOA, Wells, etc. The staff is never in a call center in India when you call, they have great hours and if there is EVER an issue they are more than willing to give you a “courtesy” this or that to resolve. They appreciate you and treat you like a person.
5. Customer Rewards/Loyalty Programs (Easiest way to save a % or $ off amount) I know carrying around a key chain full of these is annoying but if you like to spend often, the companies are looking to reward you. Be it by email or physical form, these memberships can get you coupons and discounts that reduce your cost, remember the goals is to reduce how much you spend so you can save.
Lastly, I am no expert, but I have learned in my 27 years how to not spend wastefully. It wouldn’t be a post from me, if I didn’t hit you with some questions:
Are you going to file that tax return and ball out or will you save some of that money for a rainy day? Are you going to allow that dude to claim your kids or will you put your foot down this year and tell him no? Are you going to give all your tax return money to your dude to flip or will you just give him less to use this go round and keep something for yourself? Are you going to catch up on all those bills or will you keep making the minimum payments? Are you going to finally get the work done on your car so the check engine light can go off or are you going to get the car detailed and some new speakers? Are you going to setup a vacation or holiday savings account with monthly withdrawal limits or are you going to just spend the refund completely? Are you going to keep sleeping on that futon or will you use that money to go buy a bedroom set? Are you going to buy one of those Best Buy crazy deal flat screens or will you finally put up some nice curtain rods and curtains in your apartment? No judgments here, just asking some questions maybe you want to think about. I live by each one teach one, and wanting for my brethren, what I want for myself. Go read @Yung_Flippa‘s tax season blog, he hit on additional ways to save and wise ways to spend too.
Peace and prosperity to you all