Can you believe the end of the school year is only a few weeks away? Vacations, summer camps, summer sports, last minute weekend trips... they all cost money. No need to panic, though! Pick a few (or all) of these ten tricks to start saving now and be better prepared for those summer expenses. Remember, be sure to not touch the money you're saving for summer activities until the actual expense comes up. You're not saving money if you end up spending it!
Top Ten Money Saving Tricks
1. Automate your savings- You probably already pay your bills automatically. Why not pay yourself, too? Have a set amount of money transferred to your savings account every pay period. You’ll be surprised how much you’ll save and not even notice it’s missing!
2. Ask – Call your credit card company, cell phone, internet, and insurance providers and ask if you can get your interest rate/monthly payment lowered. It seems crazy and may feel awkward initially, but you would be shocked how often this strategy works. All you need to do is ask! Worst case scenario? Nothing changes and life goes on as it did before you made the call.
3. Cut Cable – You read that right. Netflix, Hulu, and Sling (which lets you watch specific cable networks live) have practically made cable an unnecessary expense. Not a fan of watching TV or movies on a laptop? You can watch Netflix, Hulu, and Sling on your television if you have a smart TV, Amazon fire stick, roku, or Apple TV!
4. Cut your landline – Unless you have a legitimate reason to have one, it’s probably just adding to your phone bill.
5. Meal Plan – Set aside time once a week to plan out meals for the next 5-7 days. Try and do this at the same time every week so it becomes a habit for you and the rest of the family. Having a plan keeps you from turning to take-out at the end of the day, when your brain is fried and your energy levels are at zero. Also: The slow cooker is your best friend. Here are a few of our favorite recipes!
6. Only buy what’s on your list!- Got your meal plan set for the week? Awesome! Now, make a grocery list to go along with it and ONLY BUY THE THINGS ON THAT LIST. It will be hard. Grocery stores are the worst forms of temptation for impulse shoppers.
7. Is it really treating yourself?- Remember what we said about only buying what’s on your list? The same goes for Target. Avoid heading to your favorite stores out of boredom, because you feel sad/mad/anxious/disappointed/etc., or to celebrate. Treating yourself with a purchase feels great initially, but it’s just a temporary fix. Compound interest lasts a whole lot longer!
8. Watch for fees!- ATM fees, advisory fees, service fees, credit cards fees… These small fees add up! Avoid them at all costs.
9. Don’t carry a balance- Pay off your credit cards ASAP and keep them at a zero balance. Nothing is a bigger bummer than realizing that the $60 leggings you had to buy and charged to your credit card, now cost you 10% interest (or more!) every month that you don’t pay them off.
10. Do your maintenance- Dental, health, car, appliance, pets… Take care of yourself, your pets, and your things! Get your car’s oil changed, make those dentist appointments, and don’t forget to give your furry friends their heartworm medicine. It’s so much cheaper to prevent illnesses or breakdowns than it is to fix them.