Tips for Saving Money & Better Money Management
We’re entering the annual season of giving and gifting, so it may seem strange to think about saving versus spending, but it’s always a good time to think about better money management and raising your financial IQ. And when all the presents have been opened, the decorations put away, and the egg nog is gone, you don’t want to stare at a pile of bills with regret. So, here are some tips for saving money – all year – and building healthy money habits that will benefit your pocketbook, your savings accounts, and your credit score.
Money Management Tips
Don’t Wait to Pay Your Bills
In Jean Chatsky’s book The Ten Commandments of Financial Happiness, she talks about studying people who paid their bills as they came in – rather than in bunches once or twice a month. She found that people who did so were much happier. The reasoning is that it’s more stressful to have to unload a lot of money at once and that paying immediately allows people to adapt to any unexpected expenses that may arise – like car maintenance or, say, that big school project your kid forgot about until the very last minute.
Use Your Smartphone as A Personal Assistant
Do you tend to forget things? Forgetting even the most important things happens to the best of us. The busier we get, the more hats we wear, the more people depend on us, the harder it is to keep everything straight. Even if you think you’ll remember, set reminders and alerts on your smartphone, so you’ll be absolutely certain to make your payments on time and not accrue any extra interest or late fees.
Plan Out Your Shopping Trips
Some of us make shopping lists just so we’ll remember what we need to get, but they also can keep you accountable. When you go to the store, only buy what’s on the list – no impulse buying – and you and your bank account will be happier and healthier!
You can also adopt the envelope system. Assign a monthly or weekly budget for gas, groceries, and household items. Put your allotted amount in the envelope and only spend what’s in the envelope! You can even find envelopes that help you record what you spent on one trip, so you know what’s left.
Set a No-Spending Day Once a Week
A great way to teach yourself to spend less is by picking one day a week when you choose not to spend any extra, unnecessary items. It can help interrupt that consumer mindset, make you more aware of impulse shopping, and – of course – save more money.
Use Your Credit Card Wisely
Try using your credit card only for needs, not wants. Stay at around 30% of your credit limit, and try paying off your balance every month. Opt for a low-interest credit card like Member’s First Platinum and Secured Visas that also offer borrower and purchase protections.
Practical & Creative Tips for Saving Money
Loose change ends up everywhere – in the bottom of your purse, your pockets, the couch cushions, under your car seats – literally anywhere. Collect it in one spot, and once it’s full bring it to your local, community credit union and roll it into your savings account. It can come in handy for vacations, school expenses, and, of course, holiday shopping!
Store Up Your Extra Cash
It can be so tempting to spend extra money you receive for gifts, commissions, or bonuses. Don’t. Instead, put your windfalls into savings or investment accounts that can yield a better return for you down the road.
Quit Expensive Habits
These days there’s a membership or subscription for everything. It adds up, and it can be hard to keep track of them as well. So, first, find a subscription tracker app that works for you so you can better manage your time and money. Then, figure out what you can live without. Do you need 10 different ‘+’ channels? Is that wine club really worth it? It can be hard to let go of some of life’s little luxuries, but your budget will thank you for it.
Home Is Where the Savings Are
Yes, inflation has hit our grocery shelves hard. But the higher costs are showing up on menus as well. It still makes sense to eat at home. On top of improving your financial health, eating in can also improve your physical health if you trade fast food calories for healthier, home-cooked meals.
Consolidate High-Interest Debt With Low-Interest Personal Loans
If you’ve fallen into the trap of high-interest credit cards, don’t fall into a second trap of quick-fix debt relief scams. Paying down debt will take time, but a low-interest personal loan can help reduce your monthly payments, making your finances a little more manageable.
Members 1st offers secured and unsecured loans as well as special bill consolidation loans that can be used to tackle your high-interest debt. Plus, we also offer Member’s Choice™ Borrower Security, which is a voluntary loan-payment protection product that helps preserve your family’s standard of living if a protected life event unexpectedly happens to you.
Look at Refinancing
If your auto loan or mortgage carries a higher interest rate than you would like, think about refinancing for a lower rate and lower monthly payments. Credit unions like Members First of NJ usually offer better rates (and service) than dealerships and major banks, so it’s worth taking the time to see if refinancing can help ease your monthly budget.
Save More Money With Holiday Loan Specials
Here’s one final tip for saving money: Members 1st of NJ FCU can help you manage the holidays betters with a limited-time personal loan special:
- Borrow up to $3,000
- LOW rate of 8.00% APR* for up to 24 months
- Now through December 31
- $10.00 application fee
- Credit report is pulled
Visit https://www.membersonenj.org/holiday-loan-specials/ to get started or call us at 856-696-0767 for complete info.