It's Never Too Late to Save and Decrease Your Spending
Already two months into the new year and still aren’t reaching your financial goals? Start by decreasing your day-to day expenses, which is easier said, than done.
No worries, we have the cheat sheet for you right here with 12 simple steps:
1. Use a budget plan.
You can start by using your bank statements or your mobile banking platform to view your transaction history. Categorize your spending habits. If you mostly use cash, use your best estimate for your expenses and consider using a mobile banking service, like MoCaFi, to help you keep track of your expenses in the future.
MoCaFi Tip: Try writing down your budget plan, particularly into a spreadsheet this way it is easy to add and subtract expenses. It helps to be able to visually see what your spending goals are and whether you are reaching those goals.
2. Limit your cash on hand.
When you carry cash around, it makes it difficult to monitor your expenses. Especially when you receive those pesky coins that seem to eventually roll under your couch and never get used for years. Make every penny count when you keep everything on your debit card.
3. Use your credit card responsibly.
Debt is a huge money drainer, especially when there are interest rates factored in. By making payments on time you can avoid paying interest. If you aren’t able to pay off the entire amount, keep a payment plan in mind. For more information about building your credit score and using your credit card responsibly, view our previous post here.
4. Set up direct deposit.
By setting up direct deposit, you can avoid fees to cash your check. For more information about common myths vs facts for direct deposit, view our previous post here.
5. Use a shopping list.
When going grocery shopping or running other errands, buy what you need instead of what you want. Having a list also helps prevent you from impulse buying.
MoCaFi Tip: Avoid shopping while hungry! Run errands after you have a meal or a snack from home this way you are less tempted to buy extra food and snacks while you shop. This is especially for when you pass by the delicatessen section of the store and you smell that hot food cooking.
6. Don’t shy away from coupons.
A secret the rich don’t tell you is that they use coupons too. Your wallet will thank you later. After observing your budget plan, you’ll notice that you’re spending less than you outlined in your plan. The extra funds you save can be added to your savings plan and put in your MoCaFi Rainy Day Fund.
MoCaFi Tip: Buying nonperishable items in bulk, combined with coupons, can be cost effective. Try finding a trustworthy, responsible person to split the cost of a membership card to a major wholesale store so that you can buy items in bulk. There are weekly coupons available for those stores. It may seem pricey at first, but if these are items you go through a lot on a day-to-day basis (like toothpaste, soap and salt), it’ll save you the extra expense of having to buy it as frequently which increases the risk of having to buy it when it’s not on sale.
7. Look out for discounts on expensive items.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday aren’t the only times of the year to score major discounts on electronics and other items. You can typically find discounts on items during the off-peak season or when new models are ready to come out. For example, according to CNBC, February is the best time to check out a new camera. This is the month where new models are coming out, so prices for older models tend to be slashed at this time.
Saving for a car? Well the model year for new cars start in September, which means older models could be more affordable for you. Prefer getting around on a bicycle? October is typically when new bike models are out. This makes it a great time for you to search for sales on older bikes.
You can start managing your money now to help you get these big-ticket items that you need.
8. Carry your lunch to work.
Going out for lunch everyday can really add up by the end of the week. When you bring your lunch, not only are you saving, but it is often a healthier option that buying lunch, especially in comparison to fast food restaurants.
9. Cook more often for dinner.
Again, takeout gets pretty pricey, but you can avoid that when you cook dinner throughout the week. You don’t even need to cook everyday. When you cook once, you can make enough to last you a few days or the whole week.
10. Reduce your phone expenses.
If you find that you don’t use as much data as allocated under your current plan, contact your cell phone company to try to see if you can reduce your data usage plan.
Still have a landline? If you’re using your cell phone significantly more than your landline, you might want to consider getting rid of the extra expense.
11. Avoid smoking and alcohol consumption.
Even if you partake in these activities socially, there is still an extra expense associated with these activities and no added health benefit to use them.
MoCaFi Tip: Smoking, in particular, increases your life insurance premiums. By eliminating your smoking activities you can reduce the cost of your life insurance. You would also decrease the additional medical expenses associated with the effects of smoking.
12. Reduce your entertainment expenses.
This one may be a little tougher because we all like to wind down at the end of a long day. But do we really need to have subscriptions to Netflix and Hulu, while simultaneously paying our cable bill? Yes, options are great, but it doesn’t need to be at the expense of our bank accounts. You are only home for a limited number of hours before you go back to work so try to reconsider your entertainment options. This also includes music platform subscriptions.
By following these simple steps, you can get closer to reaching your financial goals and living a healthy financial life. With your Akimbo MoCaFi Prepaid Mastercard you will be able to manage your financial activity to help you stay on track with your budget.