Saving should be part of everyone's financial plan, whether you need to set aside funds for a new car, a tropical vacation or building an emergency fund. Making these small changes every day can help you reach your financial goals:
- Automate savings - If your company offers direct deposit, automating how much goes into savings can be a game changer. Determine how much you want to set aside from each paycheck, ask your employer to have that amount deposited directly in your savings account and then sit back, relax and watch your savings grow.
- Monitor your spending - The easiest way to set a realistic budget is to track how much you are spending on necessary expenses vs non-essentials. You may be shocked at how much you are spending on little items, like your daily latte or cappuccino, and how quickly those expenses add up.
- 48-hour rule - Impulse buying is easier than ever with online shopping. If you see something you want but aren't sure it's a necessity, wait 48 hours before purchasing. You'll find on most items the urge to buy will have passed, and you just saved yourself from buying something that may have gone unused.
- Plan your meals in advance - Sitting down once a week to plan your meals can help make trips to the grocery store more efficient, cut down on wasted food and reduce the number of times you are tempted to eat out at a restaurant, where you not only have to pay for the meal but also tax and tip.
- Bring lunch to work - When planning your meals for the week, be sure to include lunch. Whether you choose to bring last night's leftovers or make a PB&J each morning, brown bagging can lead to big savings.
- Cut the Cable Cord - Cable television costs some subscribers over $100 per month. Since most households are also paying for high speed internet and streaming services like Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime, it's an easy expense to cut from your monthly budget.
- Quality over quantity - It can be tempting to always buy the cheapest items on the shelf, but sometimes it's more cost effective to spend a little more for a higher quality product. For example, buying the cheapest kitchen appliances when yours break down might make sense while you're shopping, but the money you'll spend in energy costs may outweigh the initial savings.
If this list seems daunting, start with one or two of the easiest changes and slowly work each one into your daily routine.