6 tips for stronger savings

If you’re wondering when you need to start saving money for the future, that time is now. Whether you’re saving for a trip, a house, a car, retirement, or something else, setting aside money now for future benefit is an action that has to be repeated until it becomes a habit. Here are several helpful suggestions—perhaps you’re already doing some of them. The more steps you take, the faster your savings will grow!

Tip 1: Avoid instant gratification

Some call it the 30-day rule. Before you make a significant purchase, wait a month. More often than not, your urge to buy the item has waned or passed completely. Now, you’re enjoying the effects of your patience instead of suffering from buyer’s remorse. A short wait can save you a lot of money.

Tip 2: Set up an emergency fund

One of the fastest ways to get in debt is to be financially unprepared for an emergency. This can include everything from a medical emergency or sudden job loss to unexpected car repairs. As a rule of thumb, you should have at least 3–9 months’ worth of living expenses saved up for these situations.

Tip 3: Record your expenses

When you document your purchases, you avoid the familiar “where did all my money go” scenario. This includes even small purchases, such as that fancy cup of coffee. If you want, you can cross-reference your list with your bank statements to ensure accuracy. Now that you’ve collected your data, break it out into categories (gas, groceries, rent, etc.). Where can you trim? Are you going out to eat too much? Maybe it’d be better to brew that java at home.

Tip 4: Automate your savings

Virtually all banks and credit unions offer automated transfers between your checking and savings accounts. Determine an amount that can be automatically transferred and saved without straining your budget. You’ll be surprised how fast your savings account grows. Just set it up and forget it.

Tip 5: Renegotiate your terms

Whether it’s your cell phone or cable bill, the closer you are to the end of your contract, the more leverage you have to get a better deal. Call and ask to speak to the retention department. Let them know that you are considering a new provider and see what they offer to keep you as a customer. You’ll be surprised at how much you can save. Also, keep an eye on aggressive offers from its competitors. It may be time for a switch. The same goes for your home and auto insurance. Get a quote to make sure you’re getting the best price.

Tip 6: Install a programmable thermostat

Why pay to keep your house or apartment comfortable while you’re away? Programmable thermostats can be set to reduce your heat or air conditioning use during certain times to boost energy savings. According to Energy Star, you can save approximately $180 a year with a programmable thermostat. Now that’s a
good investment.

This is just a small sample of what you can do to maximize your budget and savings. The important thing is to get started!

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