I don’t know about you, but there are two things I always seem to need more of: money and time. Ben Franklin’s common sense wisdom is more true today than ever. He said “Time is money.” Well, here are 5 tips that will save both of them!
1) Automatic deposit:
You can authorize that payments to you be automatically deposited electronically. Many prepaid debit cards also allow this service. You’ll often get your money faster with an automatic deposit. Many payments are eligible for automatic deposit – paychecks, Social Security and other government benefit checks, unemployment compensation, federal and state tax refunds, etc. If you cash your checks at stores or check cashing services, you’re spending a chunk right off the top. Caution: Look for a bank with free or low-cost checking accounts so bank fees won’t erase your savings.
2) Electronic Bill Pay:
For most of the bills that you pay monthly – mortgage, electricity, phone, cable TV, car insurance, credit cards – you can have automatic payments taken out of your bank account or charged to a credit card on a regular day each month. If you’re not sure that you’ll have enough in your account to do this automatically, then you can pay your bills online yourself. Request electronic statements instead of waiting for paper bills in the mail. Paying your bills electronically will save time, money on stamps, and can help you avoid late fees. Caution: If you authorize automatic bill-pay on a regular date, be sure to have enough in your bank account or you’ll incur overdraft fees that will wipe out savings.
3) E-File Your Taxes:
Whether you do your own tax returns or have a professional do them, you’ll see your refund a lot faster if you E-File. If your income is less than $57,000 a year, the IRS has a Free File service where you can fill out your tax forms and E-File for free. Check it out at irs.gov/efile. If you have a simple tax return and are expecting a refund, you can save on tax preparation fees and get your money sooner.
4) Shop Less Often and at One Grocery Store:
It doesn’t make financial sense to shop at three or four different stores every week just because certain items are on sale. It will save you more money, over time, if you choose the grocery store that is the best fit for your family’s needs and shop twice a month. Choose the store that is nearest, the one with store brands that you like, or the one with the loyalty club that offers points for travel or occasional free items. Get to know the layout of the store so you can make your list and shop quickly. Keep up on special discount days and special offers. With gasoline costs rising, it makes sense to cut unnecessary shopping trips.
5) Give Gift Cards:
For Christmas, birthdays, graduations and “just because” times, gift cards are great. You can save time and money on shopping, wrapping and postage that often costs more than the gift. There’s a huge selection of gift cards for stores, restaurants, and online shopping venues. You can also search online and buy an electronic gift card that can be delivered by email to your recipient. There are often promo codes available for savings. Budget to buy gift cards throughout the year so that your Christmas shopping will be done before Thanksgiving! Now wouldn’t that be a time and money saver!
What tips do you have for saving time and money?