Big goals are great, but they can also be intimidating. There are small steps that nearly anyone can take to lead to big savings.These smart money habits can make the difference between hitting your financial goals or being in debt.
Instead of focusing on saving for a house downpayment. Set your sights on what you can save this month.
Small steps are more comfortable and believable. For example, a moderate diet is easier to follow than a strict one.
It’s better to start small and keep the momentum going than go crazy with unsustainable habits that you quit after a few weeks.
Even if you start incorporating just a few of these smart money habits into your financial routines, you should notice an immediate difference in your bank balance and stress levels!
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15 Smart Money Habits To Start Today
Make one extra mortgage payment each year
It doesn’t have to be one extra payment made at the end of the year, though it could be. Instead, send in an additional 1/12 of a payment each month. On a 30-year mortgage, you’ll shave 5 years off your loan term by doing this.
Automate your savings
Maybe you can only save $50 a month, but those regular deposits will eventually grow into a significant amount. Save what you can and do it on autopilot. Pay yourself first and you’ll ensure there’s some money in the bank.
Watch less television
Consider cutting down your cable package. After all, how many of those 250 TV channels do you actually watch each week?
Buy a streaming package for a fraction of the cost of regular cable and start enjoying ad-free shows.
Many cable channels also stream last week’s episode on their websites so check there to get your cable fix.
Avoid Bank Fees
Use automatic bill payments for everything. If you avoid late payments, you’ll also avoid late fees. Many banks include an automatic bill payment feature with their checking accounts.
In addition, prevent yourself from overdrawing your bank account. Some people seem to do this regularly. At most banks, every overdraft costs roughly $35. Even if you’re only overdrawn a dollar, you’re now $36 in the hole.
Drop your bad habits
Tobacco and alcohol products are pricey items. Your health and your bank account will both benefit if you stop drinking and smoking.
Keep your old car for one more year
If you can stick it out for one more year, you can delay costly car payments and higher insurance premiums for another year.
Make sure to adopt good driving habits to help you save gas while driving. You can save hundreds by changing the way you drive.
If you can’t avoid getting a new car , make sure to be smart about negotiating.
Consider refinancing your mortgage
Do a few calculations and see if refinancing makes sense for you at this time. You might be able to shave hundreds off a month just by making a few phone calls.
Examine your cell phone plan
You might find that you can go with a cheaper cell plan without noticing the difference. Ask the phone company to give you a smallest package for your average data and minutes consumption. Keep on top of your limits to avoid overage fees.
From cereal to pharmaceuticals, there’s a lot of savings to be found with generic products. Some you might dislike, but you’ll find many that are exactly the same as far as quality.
Whenever you are prescribed a new medication, make sure to ask if there is a generic available.
Use the library
Since you pay taxes, those books in the library are partly yours. Go get your free library card and check out a few books instead of buying them. Interlibrary loans ensure that you can get your hands on nearly any book, free of charge.
Look for other freebies at the library such as DVDs, magazines and even passes to local attractions.
Buy used books and clothes
Many websites have used books for a fraction of the price. Two such websites are abebooks.com and alibris.com. You can even sell your books when you’re done.
Thrift stores and consignment stores are great places for both books and clothes. It’s possible to dress well on a budget with a bit of know-how.
Eliminate your home phone
The number of households with a landline lessens each year. Since you now have a cell phone, it’s hard to justify also needing a home phone.
If your concern is that 911 responders won’t be able to track your calls, rest assured that technology is catching up and Iphones can now share your location with emergency services.
Avoid ATM fees
Stay within your ATM network or get cash back at the store when you use your debit card. It’s unnecessary to pay for accessing your money. After all, it belongs to you.
Avoid Lifestyle Inflation
Lifestyle inflation or creep is when we keep increasing our spending with every increase of salary that we get. It’s a classic vicious circle exercise that means it’s hard to get on top of our savings.
Instead aim to put any new money into savings and keep living as you always have. Avoiding lifestyle inflation is one of the most important smart money habits you can adopt.
Take your lunch to work
Eating out is expensive, especially if you do it daily. Even fast food costs significantly more than bringing your own lunch.
A $5 lunch every day quickly adds up over the year, with not much to show for it!
Are you currently saving money in any of these ways? Could you benefit from adding a few more? Add up how much money you could save by implementing these financial moves and imagine what you could do with all that extra money!
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