7 Saving Habits To Start Now

PIggy SavesIncreasing your savings account doesn’t have to be painful. Even if you’re on a tight budget there is usually a spare dollar or two you can add to your savings. If you work on getting yourself into a savings habit, then you can enjoy watching your money grow. Here are a few tips we use:

1. Donate a dollar to yourself
Every morning take a dollar out of your wallet and add it to your money stash. You won’t notice the difference in your pocket, but you will see your savings grow faster. If you can spare two dollars, do it! Use a large change jar, empty milk carton, or some other designated container. It’s not so important where you collect the money just as long as you collect it. Periodically remove the money and deposit it in your savings account.

2. Save your change
At the end of each day put the change from your pocket into the jar. These amounts will add up surprisingly fast as long as you do this consistently.

3. Set up automatic deposits
Your bank can set up automatic deposits to your savings account each week. The trick is to find an amount that you won’t miss from your paycheck and have it deposited on your paydays. Even a small amount like $5 or $10, will add up over time.

4. Let the credit card company add your change
Several large credit card companies have a rewards program. Some programs work similarly to the change jar. They round each purchase up to the nearest dollar and put the change in your savings. Some companies even match a percentage of your savings from this method, so it’s free money to your savings!

5. Put your savings in an account that pays a higher interest rate
Check with your bank for their rates on mutual fund or money market accounts. As your savings grow CDs pay better interest than regular savings accounts and they give you an incentive to leave it and let it grow.

6. Start a tax-deferred retirement account
Check with your employer about putting automatic deposits into a 401(K) plan. Make the amount small enough so that it doesn’t affect your lifestyle. Your employer might even match a percentage of your deposits! If they don’t have a retirement fund program, then talk with your bank or an investment advisor about starting an IRA.

7. Buy at a discount and save the difference
For items that you were going to buy anyway see if you can find them on sale and then put the difference in your savings. Make the effort to use some coupons at the grocery store and then save your savings from your coupon items. As you see your savings grow from this method, “couponing” becomes more fun!

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The Best Tips for Automating Your Finances

ComputerThe most common area for people to struggle in their lives is with their finances. Remembering to pay bills on time, putting paychecks in the bank and keeping everything running smoothly can be impossible with the responsibilities present in everyday life. Unordered finances lead to bounced check fees, overdraft fees, late fees and other problems, though. If you’re struggling with your finances, one of the best things to do is to automate them. How do you do that?

Use Direct Deposit

Perhaps the most important thing to do is to speak with your employer or HR department about the possibility of having your paycheck direct deposited in your bank account. This eliminates not only the possibility that you’ll forget to put it in the bank, but the hassle of going to the bank every week (or every other week). You’ll even find that direct deposit offers some financial savings, such as reducing fuel costs and giving you more free time.

Sign Up for Electronic Bill Pay

One of the best things about the digital revolution is the fact that most companies now offer automatic bill pay features. You can set up your power bill, gas bill and possibly even your home mortgage to come right out of your bank account on a specific day of the month. That eliminates the possibility that you’ll forget to send a payment and have to pay late fees because of it. Most companies have information about automatic bill pay on their website, and you’ll probably be able to set it all up online. In some instances, going with this payment method actually offers some savings, as well – many companies provide a few dollars off for using electronic bill pay.

Remember Retirement Funds

Planning for retirement is something that needs to happen right now. The good news is that most employers today offer some form of automatic retirement fund deduction. This comes off the top of your paycheck, before taxes are taken out and you’ll find that you don’t even miss the money. It’s sent straight to your 401(k) account, where it will sit and help you build your nest egg. Automated 401(k) payments are essential – speak with the HR department about it when you set up your direct deposit.

Use Financial Software

Finally, you’ll find that you still need to manage your finances, but with automated payments and direct deposit, tracking your cash can be confusing. Thankfully, you’ll find a range of personal finance software out there that lets you track every bill, every expense, every account and know with certainty where each dollar is going. Some of these programs offer award-winning performance and can even help you delve into areas where you need to cut back on spending, identify spending patterns and habits that need to be changed and really take control of your finances for the first time in years.

Automating your finances can be an excellent option for many people, and it’s easier to do than you might expect.