If you surveyed a group of people, you’d probably find that the vast majority would like to have more money left over at the end of the month. Even if you earn a decent wage, it can be difficult to get from one paycheck to the next due to the ever-increasing cost of living. If you have long-term savings goals, you want to turn rags into riches, or you’re simply after tips to make your money stretch further, this is the only guide you’ll need.
Making your money go further: everyday savings you can make
Before you focus on trying to grow your money, it’s a good idea to have a look at how you use your money and whether you could make changes to make your cash go further. There are myriad ways you can make everyday savings, and when you add every single saving together, this can make a massive difference to the amount of disposable income you have at the end of the month. Here are some of the best ways you can reduce spending on a daily basis.
Cutting your food bills
How much do you spend on food in an average week? The average US household spends more than $500 per month on food, and this often doesn’t cover additional expenses such as lunch at the office canteen or a coffee every morning from the cafe on the corner. Food is an essential item, but it’s almost always possible to reduce spending considerably. With your grocery shop, be more frugal and stick to a list of items that you actually need. Try not to be swayed by promotions unless they are products that you would normally buy. Sales and discounts often cause to spend more because we add a load of items to our carts that we weren’t originally planning to buy. If you can’t resist the lure of offers and flash sales, stay at home and do your shop online. Shopping online is quick and convenient, there’s no risk of wandering into aisles full of delights you don’t need, and you can keep track of how much you’ve already spent at all times. If you’re too busy to get to the shops, and this means that you resort to takeouts or dining out, having your groceries delivered to the door will also save you a lot of money over the course of a month or a year.
When you’ve adopted a more frugal approach to shopping, it’s time to think about what other food items you buy. If you grab a coffee on the go every morning or you nip to a coffee shop for a sandwich or a bowl of soup for lunch, you may not think that this is impacting your finances substantially. However, if you save that money on a daily basis by making a drink when you get to work and taking a homemade lunch with you, you’ll have access to a pot worth hundreds of dollars after a few months. A couple of dollars here and there may not seem like much, but would you change your mind if you knew that the average American employee spends more than $1,000 on coffee per year?
Negotiating better deals for your household bills
How much do you spend each month on electricity, gas, TV, broadband and insurance? Many of us have a series of outgoings, which form a pretty hefty dent in our income. You can reduce bills by cutting out services that you perhaps don’t need, but it’s also worth chancing your arm and seeing if you can get a better deal. Make some calls to your current providers and try and negotiate preferable rates, and compare prices from different companies online. If you find lower prices or more appealing packages, you can use these as leverage to bring your existing payments down. If the providers you currently use won’t budge on price, switch your policy or your account to a competitor. Thanks to the Internet, it takes a matter of minutes to see if you could save. If you have insurance premiums coming to an end, it’s also a good idea to shop around for prices, as automatically renewing the policy could cost you more. Many firms save the best rates for new customers and loyalty isn’t always rewarded.
Saving on commuting
Do you spend a sizable chunk of your paycheck on actually getting to or from work? If you’re paying a fortune for gas or you’re shelling out for trains or buses, there may be cheaper ways to get around. If you drive, it may be worth investigating the option of replacing your current car with a vehicle that offers better fuel economy or asking your boss about running a car share scheme, which could cut fuel costs. You could also try walking or cycling to work if you’re used to paying for public transport and your workplace isn’t far away.
Setting (and achieving) saving goals
If you’re trying to put money aside, it’s important to be disciplined. The best thing to do if you have a savings goal is shop around for accounts with the best interest rates and then set up a direct debit from your checking account to your savings every month. Establish how much you can afford to set aside and if you have any extra funds available, make a one-off payment. Having a schedule can help you to reach your target faster and ensure that you keep up with regular payments. If you keep all your money in your checking account, there’s always a risk that you could end up spending it.
If you need help with setting up a savings scheme, you can find useful budgeting tools online. For simple budgeting tips, take a look at https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertberger/2015/07/26/7-tips-for-effective-and-stress-free-budgeting/1. It’s also a good idea to have a chat with a financial adviser. They can offer tailored advice based on your income and how much money you want to save.
Do you want to make money? Are you keen to try and speculate to accumulate? If so you may be thinking about investing your money to try and generate a profit. There are various options available, including putting money into property, backing a business venture or buying stocks and shares. It’s wise to do some research, get some advice and have a look online before you make any decisions. If you’re looking for information about making money from shares, for example, you can visit WiserRobo.com, and it’s a good idea to meet with local agents and get an insight into the property market if you’re thinking of investing in bricks and mortar. If you’re interested in the idea of lending financial support to a business, read the business plan over and over again, ask questions and try to pick holes in the strategy and see if the company or the individual can find solutions.
There’s always an element of risk involved in investing, but it’s always advisable to take calculated risks. This is why it’s so important to do your homework and make some plans before taking the plunge. If you want to invest in a buy-to-let property, for example, it’s essential to understand the rental market and to choose a property that suits your target market. If you’re trying to attract young professionals, you don’t want to be buying a mansion in the country that is far too large and way too expensive. Look for features that will appeal to a potential tenant. If you’ve got families in mind, it’s wise to opt for homes with large, open-plan rooms, gardens and easy access to good schools. Have a look at other rental properties in the area and get some agents around to see how much you could charge per month. If you’re buying to sell, it’s important to calculate anticipated profit margins based on how much you’re going to buy the property for and how much you plan to spend on it. If you’re taking on a renovation project, the possibility of making a profit relies heavily on bringing the cost of work in on budget.
If you’re putting money into stocks and shares, don’t go into an investment blind. If you’re not experienced in this area, the stock exchange can be a minefield, and it can be difficult to determine the best time to buy and sell. If you’re new to this arena, start small, get a feel for what it involves, and seek expert advice from a reputable agency or individual.
Do you wish you had more money? Do you struggle to get from one month to the next or have you got grand plans for the future? There are lots of ways you can generate more disposable income, from making simple changes at home and cutting out non-essential purchases to investing your money and setting up a savings scheme. Hopefully, this guide has helped you identify areas where you may be overspending and given you some ideas of how to spend, save and invest your cash wisely.