Do you have a job yet you feel like you are struggling to make ends meet? Do you wonder where all the money goes? Why is your checking account balance not growing every month? These questions are very common and very few people know how to combat these situations. The majority of people find it too hard to keep track of their money or people don’t have the time to analyze every transaction. Most of us rarely even review our bank statements. The truth is most people will only look deep enough to make sure their bills are covered and try to avoid overdraft fees (estimated overdraft fees in 2011 - $38.0 Billion). Another interesting factor is that most people “PERCEIVE” that their bills exceed their income. What does that mean? You believe you are broke because you have too many bills that are not within your control. Is there a solution out there that is easy and simple to follow? Yes! I have outlined three steps that can help anyone with increasing their savings.
1. Money In Versus Money Out
Regardless of how much money you earn, you probably have no idea how much money you save at the end of each month once all bills, eating out, shopping, gas, etc.. are paid. You cannot save if you do not know every month how much money is going into your account (deposits, credits, etc...) vs. how much money is going out (debits, withdrawals, checks, etc…). If you have access to your bank online, there is a feature you can use to look up each category (call your bank so they can walk you through this if you are not computer savvy). You can also see those figures on your bank statement. Figure out by month how much is going in and subtract how much is going out.
Goal! Make certain all debits are less than your deposits. Make certain you know exactly how much you saved each month. Do this every month and your balance will get bigger!!!
2. Credit Cards
It blows my mind to see people loading up their credit cards for shopping, eating out, movies, and a host of activities that people think they can afford because they have a credit card. If you are not paying your credit card off every month then you are incurring interest which is adding to your expenses. If you have credit card debt, then pay it off ASAP. Once paid off, put them away and use your debit card only. You will think twice about purchasing anything when you only use your debit card, trust me!
Goal! Pay off your credit cards and stop using them. Your spending habits will automatically improve when you only have a debit card and nothing else to make you believe you have more money than you actually do. Do this every month and your balance will get bigger!!!
3. Common Sense Buying
Everything you buy these days can in some way cost you extra. Upgrades, warranties, service agreements, perks, VIP club, or any other “special” name designed to make you shell out more money than what you intended. Know how much you can afford before you buy it. Don’t be an impulse shopper and let someone talk you into buying something. For example, let say you want to buy a car and you know that you can put a maximum of $1000 down and you are comfortable with a $250 monthly car payment. Be disciplined to yourself and don’t spend more than you can because it looks better, it’s a better deal, or the sales person gave some fascinating tale that you fell for.
Goal! Know how much you can afford to spend on something BEFORE you buy it. Stick to your guns and don’t compromise and you will make better purchasing decisions. Do this every month and your balance will get bigger!!!
These three steps are simple, straight forward, and require minimal effort on your part. Figuring out how to save money can dramatically change your life because getting good at saving equals growing your checking out balance, an accomplishment that 65% of the US population fails with, and less financial stress. Like anything in life, nothing is guaranteed and this process may or may not work for you. If it works for you then congrats because you applied what you read to saving success and hope you stick with it.