Learning how to save money more effectively can be a wonderful experience. Unfortunately, the process of building a successful budget is often exhausting for most of us. Whether you like to think of yourself as a savvy spender, or you know you have issues with being frugal, it’s tough to count every penny you spend each month.
Fortunately for people who hate dealing with cash restrictions, there are tons of great ways to improve your financial standing without stressing yourself out. Here are some of the simplest ways to make a real difference to your situation.
One of the most unappealing parts of budgeting, is sitting down and going through all your income and expenses each month. It’s easy to miss things that you should be accounted for, like small cash purchases, or forget where certain expenses are going. Turn to tech to help simplify things.
Apps on your phone or online systems on your laptop can help you to manage your budget more effectively. The right apps can link to your bank accounts to determine how much you’re spending at any given time. They can even offer assistance with things like building your savings strategy or finding cheap investment opportunities.
These days, it seems like cash is the least convenient thing to shop with. You need to fumble around with notes and coins, and if you run out of money during a shopping trip, you’re done. With credit and debit cards, all you do is swipe or tap and you’re ready to go. Unfortunately, convenience can be a problem when you’re trying to save cash.
When you know that you can go over your budget or dip into your overdraft at times when you’re out of money, it’s hard to stop yourself from taking advantage. Consider switching to cash for any shopping trip you can, and you’ll find you’re more likely to stick to your limits.
Aside from housing expenses like a mortgage or rent, the area where you’re most likely to splurge in your budget, is on food. We’ve all been on a shopping trip where we end up buying things we don’t want or need for a variety of reasons. A little prep work before you go can make a huge difference.
Start by making a list of all the products you’re going to need, based on your meals and requirements for the week. Next, plan how much you’re going to spend and take just enough cash to help you avoid temptation. It might also be a good idea to experiment with the brands you usually buy from. Can you consider going own brand to reduce costs?
In the past, looking for deals used to mean spending hours sorting through newspapers and magazines so you could find a discount. Now, you can scour through countless websites online to find a better price for just about anything. When you’re shopping on the web, be open to places where you might be able to find a better deal, like Facebook marketplaces, eBay, and even saving forums.
Create a new email address and use it to sign up for newsletters from your favourite brands. This should keep you informed of when sales and new opportunities are coming up. A separate email address will ensure that your regular inbox isn’t filled with spam. Don’t forget to get yourself an automated app for your browser that can search for discounts on your behalf while you shop too. These handy plugins can make finding discounts as easy as clicking a button.
Finally, think about how you can improve your credit rating. While you might not want a credit card or loan right now, you’re going to need at least some credit in the future. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to buy a new car, or get a mortgage on your home, companies are going to check your history. Even some employers conduct credit checks these days.
If your credit rating is poor, then now might be the time to start working on it. If you’ve never had a personal loan, getting one and paying it back on time can be great evidence that you can pay what you borrow. You can also take steps like signing up for the electoral roll, or checking with the credit agencies to ensure all of your current details are correct.