I have always been pretty good about putting money away for a rainy day but this year I am really taking it more seriously. We have already paid off all of our credit cards and we no longer use them. Right now we are working on paying off my car so that we can get my husband a new car. We are trying to be smart about our purchase. Waiting until we pay off the car we have now and then saving up to make a good down payment is a decision that my husband and I made last year. We are big fans of paying cash when you can and asking ourselves do we really need it if we have to charge it? We are making lots of changes in 2012, how about you?
Below are our Top 10 tips for saving money in 2012 you should think about if your wanting to make a change in your financial status.
Couples and Finance - The first thing you need to do is sit down and talk with your spouse and work on your goals together. You need to get real with one another and pledge to be honest with each other about your spending habits.Then make the pledge to keep each other accountable and create a budget. I feel like this is the most important step and this you should be the first one you work on before moving on to the others. Check out our Couples and Finance post.
Say No to Charging - I can’t tell you how much of a relief it is not to have credit card debt. Start working on paying those credit cards off and then put them away for emergencies only. Ask yourself, if I can’t pay cash for it do I really need it? I can’t tell you how many parents I see going into debt because they want to give their kids everything they cannot afford. Don’t worry your kids will survive if you don’t give them that new toy they wanted that you can’t really afford. You need to remember what kind of message and what kind of example you are setting for your kids. Trust me they are watching and learning from your every move.
Plan for the Future -It is really important to start thinking about the future. My husband and I are really working on this right now. We have signed up for a 401k plan at work. Check with your financial advisor or bank about possibly setting up an IRA or whatever works best for you. Check your bank for special programs. Bank of America has their Keep the Change program. Anytime you use your debit card they round up to the nearest dollar and put the difference in your savings account.
Couponing - I know, I know, we have talked about couponing before but I want those who still haven’t jumped on the band wagon to really listen up. Make the change to start couponing today and for every dollar you save using coupons put that into a savings account. For example if you use a $3 coupon take that $3 and put it into a savings account. If you are having to use coupons because you simply can’t afford groceries start small. Put back a penny for every dollar saved. I know it doesn’t sound like much but it’s a start and it will add up fast. If everyone put forth the effort we could have a lot less people relying on food stamps and learning to helping themselves.
Clean out the Clutter - How many of you have a storage unit filled with collectibles and stuff you haven’t used in over a year? My husband and I just had our own little mini storage wars where we invited family to come over and take what they wanted out of our storage unit. We figure if we have not used it by now we are not going to. The rest was donated to a local charity. Just by making this one change we are able to save $130 a month, that’s a savings of $1560 a year. Quit holding on to the junk. Got collectibles just collecting dust? You can’t take it with you so why not sell it, put the money in a savings account and let someone else enjoy them. They are not doing you any good locked away in a dungeon. You just gotta let go!
Pay Attention to you Bank Account - Start paying attention to your bank account and looking over it with a fine tooth comb on a weekly or monthly basis. You will be surprised how much money you are spending at Starbucks or eating out. Start looking for unnecessary things you can cut out.
Cut It Out - Call your local phone and cable company and find out what specials they are offering for the new year. Take a look at what you really don’t use and cut out what you don’t need. This also goes for car insurance etc.
Give Yourself an Allowance - A budget can be really hard to stick to if you don’t make plans for some me time. “You work hard for the money” as they say,so make sure you put a little back to treat yourself every once in awhile.
Don’t Impulse Buy - Impulse buying can be very costly. Tell yourself your gonna wait and if you still want those new pair of shoes next month, then you can treat yourself. You will be surprised how much less you will be spending because the window shopping experience has worn off.
Make Wise Decisions - Let’s just be honest with each other hear. I can’t tell you how many people I hear say I don’t have money or I’m broke but their actions directly affect the reason why. The decisions we make today directly affect our future. We have to start taking accountability for our actions. Stop complaining about not having money and do something about it. It’s not about taking the easy road. You have to work hard for the things that you want.
What steps are you taking to achieve financial freedom in 2012? If you pledge to make a change for 2012 reply here so we can help support each other and when you cross a milestone be sure to share it on our Facebook so we can celebrate with you. (Please note I am not a financial adviser, these are only my opinions)
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