Setting goals can be a key step in taking control of your finances. Putting a plan in place can help you stay on track and ultimately save more money. But financial goals can be hard to see through, and people often initially stick to their plan only to let those goals slide as time goes by.
To avoid giving up, here's a tip: Instead of making your money goals interminable and challenging, take them month by month -- and try to have some fun with each one. In a year, you may be surprised at what you've achieved financially.
Comparison Shop To Find Better Deals on Services and Products You Use
You don't have to tackle everything at once, but make it a goal each month to find a better deal on a product, service or interest rate. The first month, look at what you pay for internet service and see if you could pay less if you bundle it with cable and phone services. During month two, look at your credit cards and see if you could benefit from transferring a balance from a higher interest card to one with a lower interest rate. Or if you have stellar credit and payment history, call your creditor and ask for a lower rate.
You can also comparison shop for car insurance or consider refinancing your home or student loans. Another way to save is to try your grocery store's house brand products instead of always buying the more expensive name brand.
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Decrease One Luxury Expense Each Month
Completely and suddenly ditching a luxury you're used to is difficult. So why not just decrease -- not totally get rid of -- one luxury expense from your budget each month? For example, if you grab breakfast on the way to work every morning, try eating breakfast at home every other day. If you spend $5 each morning on breakfast, you'll save $10-$15 a week or $40-$60 a month.
The next month, stick with your habit of buying breakfast every other day and choose another luxury expense to decrease, such as going from Hulu's no-ads plan at $11.99 per month to an ad plan for $5.99 per month. You'll save $6 a month or $72 dollars in a year.
Find a new way to decrease your luxury expenses every month and see how much you can save in all over a year.
Do It Yourself When You Can
Whatever it is that you're paying someone else to do every month, do it yourself. While that may sound hard, it doesn't have to be. For example, if you pay someone to clean your house every week, spend 10 to 15 minutes a day cleaning and straightening the house yourself and you won't need that service anymore.
Or if you have someone mow your lawn and rake leaves but you have a perfectly good lawnmower sitting in your garage, put "lawn care" on your schedule and save the service fee.
Think about it: If a service provider charges you $50 per service performed, you could save $600 to $2,400 or more in a year, depending on how often you have someone clean or do yard work.
Choose a Debt Strategy and Apply It Every Month
Every month, make it a priority to chip away at your credit card debt. Choose from the avalanche method, which means you prioritize paying the most that you can toward your highest interest debt first while paying minimum payments toward the rest of your credit cards. This method helps you save on interest charges.
Or use the snowball method, which means you put the most money toward your smallest credit card balance each month while paying the minimum payment toward your other debts. As soon as the smallest balance is paid, move to the next smallest balance. This method is for people who want to see their debt-reduction efforts pay off faster and need a quicker win to stay motivated.
Just make sure you don't run up the balance on your paid-off credit cards and lose your debt reduction progress.
Make a Commitment To Shop Discount Stores or Secondhand Apps
Having to pay close attention to the price of clothes or shoes you buy each month sounds like a drag, but it could be more fun than you think. Check out sites like ThredUp and Poshmark to find great deals on secondhand designer clothes, shoes and accessories at a huge discount. Many times, you can find items that are new with tags -- aka NWT -- or without tags but never worn or only worn once or twice.
If secondhand shopping isn't for you, hit up discount chain stores like Ross, TJMaxx and Marshall's for great deals on clothing, shoes, accessories, toys, decorations, bedding and housewares.
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