These Simple Disciplines Can Make A World Of DifferenceThe difference between good and great
In the busy day to day life of working Americans they tend to overlook some of their basic needs. Things like maintaining a healthy diet, doctor visits and even lackluster money management can affect the household. Goals such as saving for retirement or paying off high interest credit card debt should not be neglected. Making huge changes to your lifestyle can seem quite overwhelming but small changes can also reap big rewards. When it comes to finances there are some simple disciplines that over time can yield some amazing results leaving you more money to spend on the things that matter most.10 simple things you can do for your money
1. Start by creating a budget. Bouncing a check can be an embarrassment but more importantly a fee you can avoid. Tracking your expenses with an app from your financial institution can help you keep an accurate record of your daily balance. This will also help you to not spend the money that you don’t have.
2. Apply for a low APR incentive credit card. Doing a balance transfer to a zero percent interest rate credit card is very helpful. This is the fastest way to pay down balances and take advantage of your good credit rating. Make sure you mark down on your calendar when that incentive expires and what the interest rate will be when it goes up.
3. Take your cards and put them in safe place. Don’t cancel your credit cards but start by taking them out of your wallet. Some people may choose to cut them up but for those that can’t having them on ice works too. The first step in getting out of credit card debt is to stop using the cards.
4. Try out the Mason jar method. Think of it as a 52 week challenge and put money away into a mason jar or even a drawer in the house. This is a fun way to stash away some cash for many different things. Whether it’s saving money for the holiday shopping, birthday gifts or a date night with your significant other. Sometimes it is nice to be able to go out and pamper yourself with a spa day (for the mommy’s out there).
5. Create an emergency fund online. Most people will have a savings account along with their checking account. I recommend going online to put away your emergency fund, this way it will be less tempting for you to access. In almost every case these accounts are free and you can link your existing checking account to it. Start by depositing money into it monthly and then bi-monthly if possible to build it up. You will feel relieved if you ever need to handle an emergency and know that you don’t have to rely on your credit cards.
6. Do you really need to have “that”? The smartest way to save money is to not spend the money on things you really don’t need. It’s better to live within your means and put money aside to reward yourself here and there. Now that I have my second child on the way I can tell you I needed to take a close look at my budget and make some sacrifices. I’ve cut out Netflix, premium channels and my gym membership. I found that I could stream movies and TV shows online as for my workout I had to get creative and become more active.
7. Negotiate a lower cellphone bill. I found out that I was not using all of my voice and data on my cell phone plan, are you? If not call your service provider chances are that you will be able to cut out add-on services that you don’t need. If you don’t ask you won’t ever find out but I have heard of cases where they will reduce your rate in exchange for a new, two year service agreement.
8. Put more every year into your retirement fund. When you get your raise don’t spend that money on things you may not need. Instead start by putting more into your retirement fund. For many people it is as simple as going online and updating your account. There is a feature that allows you to increase the percentage of your contribution and set date for that to happen. This will be the easiest way for you not to have the burden of actually setting the money aside yourself once you get your paychecks.
9. Keep track of all your miscellaneous expenses. How much do you spend on gasoline, eating out or incidentals? By tracking everything on your budget you can log your expenses, believe it or not there is an app for that. This is the best way to see where you are spending too much.
10. Set benchmarks and meet your goals. Whether it saving for your kid’s college fund, getting a down payment for your new home or a family vacation you always dreamed of, setting goals is important. Visualizing the finish line and how good it will feel once you get there is important in helping you get there. There is no greater feeling than meeting your goals and enjoying the fruits of your labor.
I hope that this has helped and always remember simple disciplines compounded over time can have a huge effect. “The most powerful force in the world is compound interest” Albert Einstein
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