Here are ten steps you can follow to help improve your personal financial situation and inevitably save more money:
1. Pay Yourself Weekly
This may seem a bit odd, but this is an excellent way to start building a substantial savings. On a weekly basis, pay yourself $25-$50 and immediately put it in a safe place. You can even open a special savings account where this weekly "payday" can by placed to help minimize or eliminate impulsive spending. Think about it this way, if you paid yourself $25 a week, in two years you'll have accumulated $2600 (not including interest)!!! That's almost $3000 from just putting $25 aside every week! Take advantage of this money-saving opportunity. Simple, yet very effective.
2. Don't Shop
For those of you that love to shop, you may find that this is one tip that could save you hundreds, maybe even thousands every year. Start using "Need or Want" strategy. Before you spend a single dollar on anything, ask yourself, "Do I really NEED this item, or do I just WANT it??" You may find that many of items we purchase, we do so just because it "caught our eye" or it was "an impulse buy" or "my friend bought same thing". All these excuses just add up to wasteful spending. You can probably get by without another sweater, or a new pair of jeans, so just buy what you absolutely need, and pass on those items that aren't necessities.
3. Use Your Bank's Own ATMs
Some banks will charge you money for using other ATM machines. Even though you will be able to withdraw money using your ATM/debit card from literally any machine, banks will charge you $2 (generally) for using a machine other than theirs, in addition to a standard $1.50 charge machine charges for its use. In other words, if you use ATM at your local 7-11 to take out $20, you'll most likely end up paying $3.50 in additional charges! If you do that 5 times a month, you'll lose $17.50 for that month, or $210 per year! What a waste! Try and stick with your own bank's ATMs whenever possible.
4. Track Your Spending
Take time to track your spending habits for one week. Take note of every single dollar you spend, even those sodas and candy bars purchased here and there. This will give you a "birds-eye" view of exactly where your money is being spent, thus allowing you to refine your spending habits to essentially save more money.
5. Lower Credit Card Balances
Another very important tip that many often overlook. Pay off those pesky credit cards as soon as possible because you are losing up to 19% of total. What a waste of your hard earned money! Keep chopping away at balances until you get to an amount that is reasonable $100-$500 dollars.
6. Use Your Debit Card Instead of Credit Cards
Get in habit of using your debit card instead of your credit cards. For most part, debit cards are accepted anywhere a credit card is accepted, however as you know, with a debit card amount is taken directly from your checking account whereas credit card usage is billed at a later date (along with a hefty interest rate).