If you’re trying to save money through budgeting but still carrying a large debt burden, start with the debt.
Eliminate Your Debt
Not convinced? Add up how much you spend servicing your debt each month, and you’ll quickly see. Once you’re free from paying interest on your debt, that money can easily be put into savings. A personal line of credit is just one option for consolidating debt so you can better pay it off.
Set Savings Goals
One of the best ways to save money is by visualizing what you are saving for. If you need motivation, set saving targets along with a timeline to make it easier to save. Want to buy a house in three years with a 20 percent down payment? Now you have a target and know what you will need to save each month to achieve your goal.
Pay Yourself First
Set up an auto debit from your checking account to your savings account each payday. Whether it’s $50 every two weeks or $500, don’t cheat yourself out of a healthy long-term savings plan.
No, it’s certainly not easy to quit, but if you smoke a pack and a half every day, that amounts to nearly $3,000 a year you can realize in savings if you quit. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the percentage of Americans who smoke cigarettes is now below 20 percent for the first time since at least the mid-1960s — join the club!
Take a “Staycation”
Though the term may be trendy, the thought behind it is solid: instead of dropping several thousand on airline tickets overseas, look in your own backyard for fun vacations close to home. If you can’t drive the distance, look for cheap flights in your region.
Spend to Save
Let’s face it, utility costs seldom go down over time, so take charge now and weatherize your home. Call your utility company and ask for an energy auditor find a certified contractor who can give you a whole-home energy efficiency review. This will range from easy improvements like sealing windows and doors all the way to installing new insulation, siding or ENERGY STAR high-efficiency appliances and products. You could save thousands in utility costs over time.
Lowering the thermostat on your water heater by 10°F can save you between 3-5 percent in energy costs. And installing an on-demand or tankless water heater can deliver up to 30 percent savings compared with a standard storage tank water heater.
Pack Your Lunch
An obvious money-saving tip is finding everyday savings. If buying lunch at work costs $7, but bringing lunch from home costs only $2, then over the course of a year, you can create a $1250 emergency fund or make a significant contribution to a college plan or retirement fund.
Create an Interest-Bearing Account
For most of us, keeping your savings separate from your checking account helps reduce the tendency to borrow from savings from time to time. If your goals are more long-term, consider products with higher yield rates like a Regions CD or Region Money Market account for even better savings.
Annualize Your Spending
Do you pay $20 a week for snacks at the vending machine at your office? That’s $1,000 you’re removing from your budget for soda and snacks each year. Suddenly, that habit adds up to a substantial sum.