Written By: Fernando L Prezotto
Sometimes making the most of money is a task both simple and difficult. Simple because small changes may make big differences, and difficult because it is hard to start and make it a habit.
The first step in process of making the most of money is to start a budget. While most people fear this word, a budget is the best way to understanding the money that goes in and out every day, week, month or year. It is an easy step, especially with interactive tools available online (check out this budget planner and this other budget planner). Once it is done, it will be easy to see if there is money left to save or if expenses need to be reduced and where. Also, once it is known where the money is spent, it is easier to cut back and identify the areas where savings can be made, if that is necessary. Always be honest and realistic and operate on the budget.
Make it a priority
Make saving money regularly a priority, setting an amount of money to be put into the savings account. If the payment is increased, so is the money that must be saved. Also, because of tax and fee charges, it is a good idea to have one or two bank accounts if possible. Think about merging the bank accounts if one charges a higher fee than another.
Plan it all
Plan ahead and think of the future as well. Set goals – short, medium and long term – that will help to plan how much money needs to be saved or invested in order to achieve each one of them. Also, consider planning regular events, like holidays and birthdays. That way, the financial worries that come after them will disappear. Also, think about paying off expensive debts, like credit cards. Always put a little bit of money away will help you save up and build up an emergency fund for unexpected bills.
Some useful tips
There are some daily actions that can help save money. Here are some examples:
- Instead of buying lunch at the office, pack some to the office. The grocery bills will be reduced, as will the gas bill.
- Avoid Starbucks by making coffee at home, adding whichever ingredients are preferred. Buy a thermos and take it to work or school.
- Take snacks to the movies instead of buying the expensive popcorn there.
- Leave the car at home! Walk or use a bike to go to work, or even the train, subway or bus. The gas bill will be reduced and the environment will be thankful.
- Be a bargain hunter. There are many websites in which you can find things for better prices with same quality. And hit some thrift shops! There are a lot of deals that can be made, the only things that are required are patience and time to do a bit of research.
- Try shopping strategies. It means to plan before going out to buy things. For example, summer clothes are the cheapest during winter season, and vice-versa.
- Be adventurous: go to yard sales and bargain clothes shopping destinations.
- When buying electronics or high priced items, do a little research and compare prices. Some websites, like NexTag.com, Smarter.com and PriceGrabber.com do it for you.
- Borrow books from the library. If it is a really good one, then buy it.