When it comes to generating a concrete savings plan, many people think it involves boring spreadsheets, hours of planning, and putting away most of what they earn. In reality, though, the best ways to save money involve devising a simple plan for your financial future, which only takes a bit of preparation. Once you have a plan in place, all you have to do is stick to it. Check out these tips that will help you make the most of your earnings and ensure that your money is going in the right place.
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Identify your goals.
The first part of any good savings plan is identifying where you want your money to go. Think about what you want to save for, and then divide the items into short-term goals (e.g., repairs, a vacation, etc.) and long-term goals (e.g., retirement, college fund, a house), suggests Linda Descano, president and CEO of Citi’s Women & Co. Doing this will help you better decide how to allocate your money and make you aware of how much to put away.
Use tools to track spending.
When it comes to saving money, there are countless tools and apps available to help you make it easier. Try the Citibank or your bank’s mobile app to stay on top of your specific expenditures, and Manilla.com or the free mobile apps to manage all of your bills and other personal accounts in one place. Utilizing tools like these can actually help you save money because you get reminders when your bills are due, so you never pay late fees.
The main reason that tools will come in handy when it comes to saving money is that they allow you to easily and conveniently track your spending. Doing this is essential in determining how much money you should be (and could be) saving.
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Reallocate your funds.
After you track you funds for a month, evaluate where your money is going, Descano said, and recalibrate what you’ve come to view as a “must-have” versus a “nice-to-have.” If you’re finding that you’re overspending on pricy visits to the salon or one-too-many nights out at expensive restaurants, but you’re barely putting anything into your emergency fund, it’s time to make a change.
To start the reallocation process, automatically put a set amount of every paycheck in your savings account, Descano said, adding that no amount is too small. How much should you have in your emergency fund? Aim for three to six months’ worth of living expenses at a minimum, Descano suggests.
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Take advantage of deals
You can plan for putting even more money away by ensuring that you’re getting the best deals possible on your utilities and other bills. AT&T, for example, offers bundles on their U-Verse TV, Internet and Home phone services so you can select the one that offers the best value for your needs and budget. Plus, right now they are offering a free Wi-Fi device to customers who sign-up for one of the qualifying bundles.
To make sure you’re getting the best rates and services offered, call your service providers and find out what types of promotions they’re running. Most customer support teams will do whatever they can to help you lower your monthly bill. The Comcast Customer Guarantee, for example, is a Comcast service that provides a 30-day, money-back guarantee on its video, voice or high-speed services. This give you time to make sure you’re happy with the plan and services you’ve selected. If you’re not, you can return the equipment and get a refund for the first 30 days of service.
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