- Obtain new auto/homeowner's/renter's/motorcycle/boat/etc. insurance quotes from at least three companies – HERE is a great way to get those quotes.
- Use coupons when shopping for groceries and use them when the products are on sale (I really like CouponMom.com – it is FREE!)
- Before purchasing anything on-line, ALWAYS go to RetailMeNot.com to see if a discount code is available.
- Dump the home phone (or try out the magicJack – costs around $20/year)
- Dump the cable
- Before purchasing anything – use a price comparison website to see where you can purchase that item for the cheapest price (like FRUCALL)
- Rent movies from RedBox – they are only $1/day (but you can get FREE rentals if you visit RetailMeNot.com – see #3)
- Be flexible and use PriceLine.com or Hotwire.com to negotiate travel costs.
- Drink water from the water fountain instead of from a plastic bottle that costs $1 or more.
What other saving ideas can you share with us?
Part Three Establish Accountability
Find someone who is (1) winning with money, (2) not trying to sell you something, and (3) are available to help you and ask them to hold you accountable to your saving goal. I have seen some people go to the extreme length of actually giving the money to the other individual to hold for them because they cannot trust themselves to keep their own hands off of it.
Accountability can also be created by your written spending plan that you prepare every month before the month begins (you do prepare one, right?). This plan helps cement your goals in your mind and helps you connect the fact that if you spend money on unplanned items, you will literally be robbing yourself of your savings goals.
I am married – this means I have built-in accountability. Jenn is a huge saver. She keeps me (the spender) in control. Establish accountability – it works!
Part Two Create An Escrow Account For Known, Upcoming Expenses
For those unfamiliar with an escrow account, it is a savings account that is generally established by a mortgage company. The mortage company totals the annual cost of property taxes and homeowner's insurance and divides it by the number of payments being made each year. The mortgage company then pays for the taxes and insurance from this escrow (savings) account. For example, if the property taxes are $1,200/year (sorry Chicago folks – this is how low they are in the South) and the insurance is $600, then the total amount needed each year is $1,800. The mortgage company will collect $150 extra with each monthly payment to place into the escrow account.
An escrow account smooths out the cost over a year – instead of having to pay for it all in one month. It tightens the monthly budget, but having a fully funded escrow account sure is AWESOME when vacation arrives and the money has already been saved to pay cash for it! Those who have a mortgage with an escrow account will testify to the fact that they never worry about paying for the taxes and insurance – ask someone!
Take a moment to read THIS POST about how to calculate the amount you need to save each month for your known, upcoming expenses.
Take it from one who has lived it – if you do not plan for your known, upcoming expenses, your ability to save money will be tremendously hampered!
One of the largest issues I see during our one-on-one financial counseling meetings is the inability to save money. Saved money is essential to long-term sustainability. Saved money relieves stress. Saved money allows you to take a chance. Saved money allows life to happen (job loss, disability, pay cut, injury, etc.).
But you already knew that part. Yet, even though we KNOW how important it is to save money, most people fail to do so. This series will focus on PROVEN techniques that have allowed many people to save money.
If you have negative savings (no money plus overdrafted accounts and debt), the goal is to bring you to zero. If you are at zero, the goal is to get to at least $2,500. If you have been able to save a substantial amount of money, it is my hope that you will participate in the discussion and share your own tips that have worked well for you!
Part One Automatic Draft From Paycheck
Establish a savings account and have the money drafted from every single paycheck. Whether it is $25 or $250 per pay period – just SAVE! You KNOW that the car is going to break down. You KNOW that the school is going to send home a surprise expense.
By establishing this draft, it allows the money to be "out-of-sight." When money is out-of-sight, it can be out-of-mind. This allows the account to grow without being robbed.
Now, I personally had a problem with this when I did not have a monthly budget. I would ROB my own savings account about 2.1 microseconds after I was paid. Only after I had a plan developed that Jenn and I agreed to did my savings account begin growing in a healthy manner.
How about you? Do you have an automatic draft for your savings account set up from your pay check?