Well, well, well. It’s almost the six month mark and it’s time to take a look at your finances. You resolved to save money. You resolved to live on a budget. You resolved to save for that vacation. How’d that go? If it went well, great. Keep up the good work and take your much needed vacation! If it didn’t go well, we’re to remind you about some really easy money saving tips to get you back on track because it’s not too late.
1. Do you have an emergency fund? Suze Orman, finance expert, recommends that you accrue six months worth of living expenses, should you lose your job, or have some catastrophic occurrence in your life. We understand that this is easier said than done and in a perfect world, we’d all have a nice, fluffy savings account to ease the pain of worry that occurs when something awful happens. Make a reasonable goal for the rest of this year and then add to your goal for next year. For example, put away a month’s worth of living expenses, and next year make it two.
2. How often to use your debit card? Try using cash instead. Trust us, you’ll spend less if you take out an allowance once per week. You’ll have a pocket full of cash and will be MUCH more mindful of how you spend it. You might end up changing some habits, like making your lunch and coffee at home instead of forking over ten dollars daily.
3. Do you have an actual budget? If not, make one. You can use an excel sheet or download one off the internet. It’s no fun to do, but using even just for a few months will give you a handle on how you make versus how much you spend. Seeing the price of those sunglasses in black and white makes it much more real…and hard to stomach.
4. What happens in thirty years? When paying your bills, put aside an extra monthly cash for yourself. Put this money into a retirement account. You will thank us later.
5. Get a windfall? Divide unexpected income equally in three ways: past, present, and future. Pay down debt, replenish your bank account and save some for your next vacation.
6. Are you being realistic? Do you spend more than you make? Do you have reasonable goals? Make manageable expectations that might result in a few changed habits so that they will last. Next year, you can start again and add a few new goals to your list.