Let’s face it. December is a heavy spending month. Before you know it that little bit extra you spent here and there adds up to a whole lot, and your bank balance starts to look a bit slim. January is a tough financial month for most of us, so don’t worry. You’re not alone.
To help you save money in 2018 we’ve put together a few tips and tricks to follow. Small adjustments here and there can make a big difference and really take the pressure off financially. We can all do with a little debt stress right?
It doesn’t have to be a large goal or a very complicated one, but having a savings goal to work towards is going to make a big difference. Just saying you want to save money is not enough. According to financial experts, goal-based wealth management and savings really helps know when you can afford to spend money and when not.
You should be saving 10% of your gross income every year. This may mean you save 10% in a retirement fund or it means that you put 10% in an emergency fund. Stick to this 10% savings routine by putting automatic deposits in place. This way you won’t be tempted to spend your extra cash on things it’s not meant for.
Automating may not be for everyone. If you are living paycheque to paycheque and need to keep a closer eye on what is coming in and going out of your accounts to avoid things like overdraft fees, you might not be ready for a “set it and forget it” style of bill paying. But, if you can be a little more flexible, choose a date for automation and enter it into your calendar as a recurring event each month as a reminder.
When most people plan ahead for their finances they tend to plan for worst-case scenarios. To give your finances a positive spin try to think about how to realistically work toward milestones you’re excited for.
Maybe that’s buying your spouse a nice anniversary gift in a few months’ time, going on a vacation in six months, or buying your first property in a year. By writing down what you need to save for the next year, you’re more likely to take your savings seriously.
BUILD YOUR OWN NEST
A lot of people wait until they get married to start taking control of their finances. Recent studies show that there is a sizable gap between people’s expectations of when they would reach certain financial goals with or without a partner, and the findings were pretty sobering. People simply aren’t combining finances as much as they used to. Whether marriage is on your radar or not, you should establish your own investment and savings plans.
If you decide to merge your finances, only do so once you’re in a long-term, legally-binding relationship. Before then, focus on yourself! If you’re unattached and are open to moving around for work, consider what impact that might have on the bank accounts you choose, or the amount of savings you keep tied up. If you are making larger investments in a home or are paying down student loans, how much do you need to save or pay each month to get to the finish line. While you’re single, that work is on you.
PACK YOUR OWN LUNCH
Meal planning isn’t just good for the waistline, it’s good for your savings too. At the start of the year, try packing your own lunch at least three times a week to see how much you save. Keep that extra cash in a savings jar at home and directing it elsewhere.
TRACK YOUR EXPENSES
You won’t get a handle on how much you can save until you understand how much money you spend. Get in the habit of keeping track of all your expenses, especially small ones like coffee, snacks or drinks. These small expenses add up.
If you aren’t a fan of going through your statements each month, enlist the help of a free savings app that will do it for you.
THINK BIGGER THAN THE BASIC SAVINGS ACCOUNT
Short-term investment goals are those you generally want to reach within five years. Saving some money is better than saving nothing, but if you want to go bigger in that five-year timeline, you will need to look beyond a standard savings accounts.
Even the best money market accounts are only returning very small percentages in annual percentage yield.
TALK TO SOMEONE
One of the most proactive steps you can take to save money in 2018 is to speak with a financial professional who can help you develop a savings strategy appropriate to your unique situation. For example, the advice DebtCare debt counsellors offer to a single woman may differ from what they’d suggest to a married person. Professionals use different data points to develop the best debt repayment or savings plans for every individual.
SWITCH BANK ACCOUNTS
Many people stick with the same bank accounts they had after high school, even if it no longer suits their needs as an adult. Research the latest offers from banks to see what makes sense for you now.