It’s not just an iconic song by The Notorious B.I.G but is seems for most, this is a way of life.
This is an issue a lot of Americans are facing, the more disposable income they have, the more money they seem to be spending. With the increased use of credit cards and the constant swiping, spending habits can certainly spiral out of control.
Over the years of spending, budgeting and saving I’ve come up with a few quick tips that have been successful for me and have helped me to create good financial habits. Here are 5 quick tips that are easy to follow to save money and establish solid financial habits.
- Use tools to help you track spending.
Find a spending tracker that you can download onto your mobile device for convenience and ease of use. A good beginner tool is Mint. You link your bank account or debit card to the application, then each swipe will be categorized and tracked. The application will use your financial history to determine your proposed net worth. Mint can be used to determine your current spending patterns and provide a snapshot of where your money is going.
- Create a living breathing budget.
Many people list out all of their bills on a spreadsheet that can be track throughout the pay periods. Listing out bills for the month is a good way of understanding where your money is going bi-weekly or monthly. Creating a budgeting for every day expenses can help keep you on top of your spending and also allow you to spend more responsibly. The goal is moderation, not complete deprivation.
- Have multiple bank accounts.
I have found that separating my money into two separate accounts forces me to be more accountable. For example, I’ve created an account just for bills and an account for other or miscellaneous spending. I use the budget I’ve created to understand how much money I should have in these accounts on a regular basis, based on my bills a month and recreational spending. Once my budgeted amount is spent, I stop swiping.
- Eat at home
I know, this one may be a non-conventional method of saving money but hear me out. Packing your lunch and cooking your meals will ultimately save you money. The average quick meal is about $7. If you eat lunch at work 5 days a week that is a cost of $35 a week, $140 a month and $1680 a year. Just reducing the frequency of eating out from 5 to 3 results in a cost savings of $14 a week, $56 a month and $672 a year.
- Paying yourself first.
This is a tried and true method of creating good financial habits. Paying yourself first means putting money aside, in either a savings, IRA accounts, or some other type of account before you pay bills, start spending etc. This is a good habit to form because you are increasing your net worth overall, and are putting money aside for your short or long term goals. You can never go wrong with paying yourself first.
Remember, these are just 5 tips that can be easily applied to put you on the path of having good financial habits. Adopting all 5 may not be feasible at the moment but adopting just one of these can put you in the right direction.