There is no shortage of advice in the world about how to manage your money. You can find ideas online, by talking to your financial adviser or just while talking with your friends. But some of these suggestions require a great deal of sacrifice or a drastic change in the way you manage your finances. There has to be a happy medium, right? Here are 9 simple tips you can try that won’t cramp your lifestyle or make you feel guilty about your buying decisions.
Start With a Plan
To set yourself up for financial success, you need a plan. This doesn’t require a spreadsheet and dedicated envelopes if that’s not your style. You can just use a notebook or online money-tracking software to help you see where your money is going and what bills are outstanding. Following a budget is basically impossible if you don’t have a tracking system.
You already know you shouldn’t rely on your credit cards for basic spending. Try to reduce or eliminate your usage of credit cards over time. For those you do use, make sure they have the lowest interest rate possible and pay them off each month.
These are the bane of any budgeter’s existence. Understand what your buying triggers are and avoid those situations. Don’t take your credit cards or checkbook with you when you are headed someplace where you know you will be tempted.
Many people don’t know that you have up to three years to amend your tax filings. That means if you just realized there was a break or deduction you could have taken but didn’t, you still can go back to claim it.
There are many discounts and coupons available online and in the real world for people who are willing to look for them. By buying entertainment tickets online in advance, for example, you can get lower entry fees. Or, you can often find retail items at discounted costs online.
Take a look at your grocery store. If there is another store nearby that has lower prices, make the switch. Grocery outlet stores offer a wide range of brands and items at discounted prices. Also, remember that purchasing in bulk is not always a better buy.
If you must purchase an airline ticket, use discount travel sites online to find the best rate. Make sure to time your purchase to get the optimal price, and try to avoid having a checked bag. If possible, consider driving instead. The cost overall, with gas, wear on the car and other expenses still will be less than airline travel.
If you are generally a safe driver, one easy way to save money is to increase your insurance deductibles. Check with your local insurance agency to see whether you could save a significant amount on your monthly payments by choosing higher deductibles where possible.
Thanks to technology, it is easier than ever to quickly compare prices using your phone. That way, if you are out and about and want to know where the best price can be found for something, you can just tap your screen to make a better buying decision.