Fall is here which means the holidays aren’t too far away. Is it time to consider ways to help you save money each month? While we should all be saving all year, the change of seasons is always a good time to assess where our hard-earned money is going, while also ensuring it’s going where it should be. With a thorough review, perhaps you’ll find there are ways to shave money off of your monthly bills or expenses each month.
We’d like to offer a few suggestions while you’re creating your budget for the remainder of the year:
1. Use online and mobile banking to stay on top of your accounts. Set up alerts to notify you if your balance becomes too low or a deposit is made. This will help you to better manage your money. Be sure to set up direct deposit into your savings account(s) to help you gradually build your savings over time.
2. Depending on where you live, Autumn may mean cooler temperatures than what’s typically enjoyed during the summer months. This can translate into higher-than-expected utility expenses. Look at your heating and cooling bills over the course of a year. Ask a trained professional to inspect your HVAC system. If it’s time for an upgrade, consider using a home equity line of credit toward more energy-efficient equipment. Weigh the costs of purchasing new over repairing your older unit. Also, consider better insulating your doors and windows for more efficient heating and cooling costs.
3. Shop like you mean it. That means, make a list and abide by it. Be sure to shop for only those items on your list, preferably with a coupon. Check out various coupon apps that are now available at most retailers. Don’t underestimate the value of buying in bulk or generic-label brands. Planning your trips also help reduce gasoline expenses!
4. Research reward debit and credit cards. Often, you’ll earn cash-back on those expenses you already need to buy, like gas and groceries.
5. Saving spare pennies and then depositing into a savings account on a semi-regular basis just makes good financial ‘cents’ rather than it just sitting around A jar of coins deposited here and there can add up over time. Make it a fun family activity to fill the jar!
6. Change up your habits. Now, this is certainly tough on all of us, but just because your work friends go out to lunch everyday does not mean that it’s required. Consider bringing your own lunch to work vs. paying for your meal everyday at lunch. Rather than five lunches at a restaurant, consider dropping it down to one day a week. Brown bag it and then go for a stroll instead on the other days. Saving money and getting healthy are both better options!
7. Skip the expensive caffeinated stops on your way into work each day. Invest in an insulated cup and make your own at home. You’ll save time and money.
8. Review your bank and credit card statements regularly. It’s a good idea to always review and ensure you are on track. Check for any merchant or transaction errors. Of course, it’s always wise to check for any fraudulent charges. Set up automatic bill pay to avoid any late fees or charges. Also, consider setting up weekly rather than monthly payments toward any outstanding balances or loans.
Remember, even a little bit of savings over time will really add up. So, even the smallest contribution toward savings and long-term retirement savings each month will be worth it. Be creative and continue finding ways to save for the future!