saving-money

Save Money in Creative Ways to Achieve Your Financial Goals

saving-money

Saving money may seem tough to do, but just a little creative planning can go a long way for making your financial dreams come true – whether it’s to save for college; a week-long excursion in Bali; a down payment on your dream house, or saving for your emergency fund.

Change your attitude about your money and come up with some inspired action to save. Here are a few ways you can get started on saving money – you never know when you’ll need it!

Set Up a Budget Plan

For some, a “budget” may sound like a harsh and stressful task to create and follow. In reality, creating and sticking to a budget plan can be way less stressful than constantly worrying if you have enough money in the bank, or being surprised by an overdraft fee.

If you write it down, you know how much you have to spend, and can use easy tools to remind you of upcoming payment due dates. When creating a budget plan, be honest about your spending. There are a variety of digital budgeting apps and services that can do the math for you, like Mint.com or Acorns – all you need to do is enter in the amounts you spend, like on rent/mortgage, gas and food each month.

Once you set up a budget plan, include a certain amount that goes toward savings. Stick with this plan, and watch your savings pile grow with ease.

Shop for Deals – You’re Worth It

As consumers, we are truly blessed with options when it comes to getting what we want. But first, we have to know what we want, to know what to look for.  If you know you want to save money, do a little research to help you find competitive rates and creative tips.

Think about why your bills cost as much as they do – and whether that cost is right for you and your lifestyle. For example, if you are never home during the day, then look up electrical provider plans that give you a discount for using most of your air conditioning during the evening when you’re actually home. Here are a few other ways you can shop for deals:

Cable Streaming

Get real about how much TV you actually watch and how you watch it. If you are rarely home to watch, do you really need a full cable service package? Why not stream a TV service for a low monthly fee through your internet service instead? That could be the difference in spending $100 a month versus $17/month just for TV shows you may or may not watch.

Cell Phone Plans

How do you use your cell phone? Seems like a silly question but think about it for a moment, but you can find ways to make your mobile plan cost-effective. If you use your smartphone for personal and work-related communication, it may be to your advantage cost-wise to choose an unlimited data plan, instead of going over your designated data limit that comes with fees.

That said, compare the pricing among providers – remember that you are the customer, and you deserve the best mobile rate that supports the way you use your phone. If you don’t use your phone often, why pay for all the bells and whistles? In any case, seek out to collect the information, and then look at the best options side by side.

save-that-moneyGrocery Shop Smart

Use digital coupons as an easy way to save dollars immediately. Some digital coupons offer savings on the purchase of a meal deal, the purchase of specific items, or a discount on the total percentage of your purchase – all you need is a code to enter upon checkout. When grocery shopping, check out comparable food items that offer digital coupons.

In addition to using digital coupons, you may try a minimalist approach to writing your next shopping list. Assess what you realistically eat, use and discard on a weekly basis before going hard at the grocery store (i.e., don’t waste food by letting it go bad in the fridge).

Shop for perishable items you know you will eat or freeze for later. When it comes to buying items you may use indefinitely, like laundry detergent, you may be cost saving to buy it wholesale or in bulk.

Use Power Efficiently

When it comes to saving money (and the planet), you can win by minimizing your usage of power. Turn the lights off in rooms you aren’t using, and keep major appliances unplugged when you’re not using them.

Another way to save money with this utility is to compare the pricing of electrical plans across providers. Some plans include cheaper monthly plans if you sign a year or more contract; while others may offer deals that include cheaper pricing on cooling your home in the evenings.

To help you compare the pricing of electric service by providers within your zip code, check out PowertoChoose.org. All you do is open the site, enter your zip code and a list of electricity providers, and their rates display too.

Avoid Fees with Your Financial Institution

Late fees and overdraft fees can be eliminated. Setting up a budget plan that includes auto-pay or electronic bill pay is another way to save you from avoiding fees. Rather than paying the bank every time you are late with a payment, use auto-pay or bill pay to schedule the payments out before their due date.

The money you spend in covering fees could be stuck away in an ever-growing savings account.  Here are a couple of ways you can avoid late payment fees and overdraft charges while letting your bank or the vendor do the work for you.

  • Use Bill Pay From Your Bank Account
    Using your bank account online, you can quickly make bill payments. By eliminating ground mail, check processing, and other factors that can draw out time – you’re also avoiding a possible late fee. By setting up the payment before the payment is due, you know that the payment will be sent quickly from your bank account to the payee or vendor.
  • Set Up Auto-draft Payments
    Another great way to save money, avoid late fees and keep it all running smoothly is to allow the vendor or utility service to automatically draw their monthly payment out of your checking account, like your car note or your electric bill. You won’t forget the payment, and the payment won’t be late either.

In Debt? Learn More About Debt Consolidation Loans

You may be thinking about a debt consolidation loan to get a handle of the debt you owe. A debt consolidation loan could help you save money by settling the debt for you at a lower interest rate—plus, you’ll have one payment with a fixed rate vs. a revolving interest rate accumulating every month. Debt consolidation loans from a credit union frequently have a lower interest rate than most banks.

Homeowner with Credit Card Debt? Look At Home Equity Loans

If you’re a homeowner, a home equity loan could save you money if you have other debt that’s collecting a higher interest rate. Home equity loans have lower interest rates than many credit cards. So if you are in a large amount of credit card debt at a high interest rate, and are eligible for a low interest home equity loan, you could pay your debt off faster.

With a lower interest rate, your payments are closing to tackling what you actually owe – and not just paying tons of interest.

Keep in mind: Taking out a home equity loan is like taking a second mortgage on your home. If you fail to make credit card payments; you won’t lose your home. However, if that debt is rolled up into a home equity loan, that debt becomes part of what you owe for the house.

If you miss your home equity loan payments, the bank still has rights to your home. Before making any decisions, talk to a trusted financial advisor for guidance about your options.

save-moneyConclusion

Take special care of your money, and it will love you back. Take an inventory of how much you’re spending on your bills, and where to make cuts to save cash money today. Put your financial institution to work by asking them how else you can save money or avoid late fees using your account. Do some independent research, like checking out the free tool, Assess Your Financial Health.

From the site, enter in your bills, debt and interest amounts. Within minutes, a well-organized budget plan displays, with information that could help you get a handle on your finances, including your debt.

If you could use some guidance around other ways to save money or tackle debt, contact a trusted financial source, like PrimeWay Federal Credit Union.

About the Author

Andreana Binder


andreana-binder

Andreana always looks for ways to make life better through good food, exercise and creative flow - that rarely stops! A corporate writer by trade, Andreana also enjoys teaching workshops, making art, blogging, and sharing good food with friends and family. You can find Andreana soaking up the sun at the park with her mini schnauzer Murdock in her free time when she's not writing, cooking, creating or watching scary movies.