With a new year (and a new decade) in the books, for many people it's time for a fresh look at their money-saving strategies. If you ever check your bank account and find yourself wondering where all your hard-earned money flew away to, then you're not alone! However, with a little planning and some perseverance, you can start off the new decade on the right foot, financially speaking.
Here are 4 frugal living tips that can help you save some money, and contribute to your financial well-being:
1. Track Your Cash Flow for an Entire Month
It's really hard to cut down on expenses when you don't have a clear idea where your money is going. In order to get a grip on where your biggest costs reside, keep all of your bills and receipts for an entire month. At the end of the month, sit down and sort your expenses according to their basic categories. For example:
- Car insurance and maintenance
- Other categories
Once you have a good idea of where you're losing the most money, you can take proactive steps to address the problem. For instance, if you realize that your expenses for eating out have mushroomed over the last several months, then you may decide to make a meal plan for each week, and focus on home cooking.
2. Set Aside Your Earnings as You Go
Another money saving strategy that many consumers use to good effect is to immediately allocate their money for necessary bills and expenses after each paycheck. This may prevent you from looking at all the money in your bank account mid-month and thinking that you have some extra pocket cash this time around... except you've forgotten about the looming bills that will eat up most of that cash in a week or two.
Different folks use different techniques when it comes to this strategy. Some use their banking app to immediately pay bills online, no matter how early; others withdraw cash on a weekly basis, and set aside certain amounts in envelopes labeled for rent, utilities, etc. The main point is to stop yourself from accidentally spending more than you can actually afford, which is rather important!
3. Download Coupon and Cash-Back Apps
If you don't mind doing a little extra work each month, then coupon apps and cash-back programs can provide you with small savings that will add up over time.
For instance, Ibotta offers cash back rewards for select grocery stores every time you go shopping. Then again, if you are a Starbucks addict then enrolling in the company's rewards program will save you some money here and there (and let you get some free drinks in the process). These are just two examples of the many free apps and programs that can help you to cut down on small, miscellaneous costs, and ultimately contribute to your bigger money saving goals.
4. Participate in Bill-Sharing Plans
Perhaps the most common example of this strategy is the family plan that many cell phone providers offer. However, there are many other opportunities to share the burden of your bills with a trusted friend or family member, so that everyone comes out ahead. These could include sharing WiFi expenses, garbage collection fees, and of course (in some situations) rent.
If you are able to implement these 4 money saving tips, then you'll likely see a significant boost to your bank account. If you'd like to obtain more helpful financial education and money management tips, then be sure to subscribe to Third Coast Bank's blog and explore the practical articles found there.