My full time job is to help businesses find ways to save on expenses, so it’s only natural that I’m always looking at maximizing my personal budget as well.
HOW TO SAVE MONEY AND REACH YOUR FINANCIAL GOALS
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I’ve put together a list of ways for you to save on your expenses, so you can reach your financial goals much faster. I know, talking finance is so bla when you can be watching Netflix. But this stuff works! It’s how we were able to purchase 2 homes in 2 years, just give it a shot.
- Refinance student loans – If you have student loans, I feel your pain! I had private student loans and recently refinanced them through SOFI. I did a ton of research on different companies to refinance with, I wanted to be sure I was getting the best savings potential. I ended up going with SOFI because they have NO fees for closing costs, no penalty to pay off your loan early, and competitively low rates. I am now able to save ~$200 a month just by refinancing with SOFI! All the necessary details are listed on their website and they have great customer service. And if you go through this link, you’ll get $100 Welcome Bonus once you qualify! Overall, I think it took about 15 minutes to apply online. So. Easy. This simple step will save you tens of thousands of dollars. In fact, don’t even move on until you’ve done this step. It’s ok, I’ll wait………………
- Pay more than your minimum payment – I know it’s so hard to think that paying MORE each month is a method of saving. But here’s the thing, the more you pay towards any loan balance, the less you pay in interest, and the more you save! If you have credit cards without a 0% rate, pay off the last statement balance each month! You can use your credit card each month and avoid paying any interest. One tool I love is bankrate.com loan calculator. You can play around with your monthly payment amount and see how much faster you can pay off your loans, and how much you’ll save in interest long term. Oh, and it’s free!
- Transfer balance to 0% credit card – If you already have a balance built up on your credit card and you’re having a hard time paying the statement balance, switch credit cards! You may be able to convince your credit card company to drop your rate to 0%, if so, great! If not, there are plenty of credit cards willing to help you out for your business. Be sure to check that balance transfers are 0% interest, not just new purchases. If you have 12 months at 0%, set up a plan to pay off your balance (and any new purchases) within the next 12 months so your balance is paid off prior to accruing any interest.
- Find a credit card with rewards – I am currently saving up my points for a free computer! How can I do this? By having an awesome credit card that gives me points on all of my purchases! Check out LendingTree for free, easy comparison of great credit cards.
- Setup autopay – I love this method for 2 reasons: 1) You can set up your autopay to pay the statement balance (or more), so you won’t be tempted to pay less and 2) Sometimes you can actually get an autopay discount. For example, my student loans get .25% off my rate by having them on autopay. It makes things more simple for me, and it saves me money in the long run
- Take advantage of Employer Matching or Tax Free Contributions – Many employers will match contributions to a 401K, IRA, etc. If your employer does this, they are offering you free money, take it! There are also a lot of employers who offer Dependent Care Flex Spending Accounts, Health Savings Accounts, etc. If you are spending money on dependent care or healthcare already, you should definitely take advantage of these programs! This is money you’re already spending, but it comes out of your paycheck tax free, which means less money out of your pocket overall!
- Set up Savings Fund – There are many different ways to set up a savings account, so I recommend you meet with a financial planner to discuss the best option for you. If you have a young child, or even if you’re thinking of future children, the sooner you can start saving, the easier it will be down the road! My husband and I started saving for our daughter’s college when she was a newborn baby. We put a little away each month so we know we won’t have to stress about this in the future. This is also a GREAT gift opportunity for grandparent! Any money that our daughter gets for her birthday or holidays (even if it’s $5), we put that directly in her college savings account. Every little bit helps!
- Switch from Cable – This is a lot less scary than it sounds, I promise. I’m not saying get rid of TV all together. But there are more modern and less expensive methods out there! Check out my post on How I cut my cable bill in half for a step by step guide to instant savings!
- Gift cards – Gift cards are great because you can’t go over a set amount. If I receive gift cards as gifts, I save those things for years (double check that yours don’t expire, or charge any expiration fees). Even though I’m tempted to spend them right away, I try to wait until I really want/need something. I received 2 visa giftcards for Christmas the last 2 years from my employer and they don’t expire for several years. I am saving them to lessen the blow of our Hawaii trip this January! Having a little patience can really pay off (literally). You can also save money by purchasing gift cards from discount sites, which is good for purchases you already know you’re going to make (i.e. grocery stores).
- Groupon – Ok, I’m sure you know about Groupon. But are you using it? I check Groupon before I go to any restaurant, nail/hair salon, you name it! If you are planning a date night or girl’s night out, check Groupon first! Bonus: If you use my link, new customers get an additional 25% off their first purchase!
Just remember that no amount of savings is “too little”. I prioritized this list with the highest priority at the top (in my opinion) so if you can only do one at a time, just start at the top and work your way down the list.
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I would love to hear other tried and true methods that you have found to help save your family some money!