There is always an assumption made that people in debt do not manage their money well. This is not always the case, sometimes things happen which create money problems.
There are some simple money management tips that you can use whether you are saving or spending which can help you avoid more debt.
Here are 27 money management tips that could work for you.
1. You must have a budget
No one likes to hear this, but you really do have to have a budget.
Make sure you keep your budget realistic, so you do not set yourself up to fail.
Consider all of your monthly bills including mortgage or rent, utilities, car and other insurance, as well as fuel and repairs for your vehicle.
2. Have a savings plan
You might be surprised to learn most households have less than $400 in savings. This means a simple emergency can drain their savings.
It is important to create a savings plan and set a realistic goal for saving more money in the event you have a household emergency such as an appliance that needs replacing or your car needs major repairs.
3. Set money spending limits
Being on a budget is difficult and we all need to have some money set aside to do things “just because” we want to do them. Allocate a specific amount of money in your budget for “anything we want” and then do not spend more than that.
These funds can be used for anything including lunch out, dinner out, a movie or that pair of shoes you just cannot live without.
However, once that money is gone for the month, you must stick with your budget.
4. Save for big ticket items
While it is tempting to buy the latest tech gadget or big screen television, avoid dragging your credit card out for these kinds of purchases.
Instead, start putting aside a small amount of money until you have enough saved to pay cash.
5. Change payment habits
Instead of making a monthly payment on your insurance, contact your insurance company and see if they offer a discount if you pay six months or a year in advance.
The discount can then be used to add to your emergency fund or towards reducing your debt.
If you maintain your insurance policies with more than one company, ask about any discounts you may get if you combine all your policies with one company.
6. Grocery spending and saving
You might be surprised at how many ways there are to save money on groceries.
First, whenever it makes sense, buy in bulk. Do not ignore coupon savings, and when brand does not matter, go generic.
You might be surprised at how much money you can save doing small things like buying frozen veggies, using dry beans instead of cooked beans, and buying blocked cheese instead of sliced or grated.
Remember, when you are interested in new ways of money management, every dime saved can help.
7. Address your debt
The key to successful money management is to address your debt. This means determining which credit cards and loans are costing you the most over time and paying them down.
While it is important to make sure you at least pay minimum due amounts on all credit accounts, you should have a plan to pay off debts whenever possible.
8. Avoid adding new debt
One of the most important money management tips you will hear is avoid new debt.
As you pay down credit cards, show a lower usage of your credit balances, and maintain your regular payments, you may get new offers by mail. Shred them immediately so you are not tempted to add new debt.
Remember, your end goal is to reduce your debt as much as possible.
9. Auto payment options
Another great way to get your finances in order is to set up automatic payments. These payments are sent directly from your bank account to your creditors.
This simple step can help you avoid late payments and therefore, late payment fees.
This can also help you avoid the temptation of skipping a payment.
10. Negotiate rates
Consider reaching out to your current credit card companies and asking for a lower interest rate.
Remember, even a small rate reduction can mean a lot of savings over time.
This is easier to do if you have been making regular payments on your current credit lines.
Sometimes, we #spend beyond what is necessary. So here are helpful #creditcard tips to lead you out of #debt! https://t.co/HUyKCNnUON #debtfree #financialfreedom #creditscore #moneymatters pic.twitter.com/GUz2EJzLMp
— Get Out of Debt (@getoutofdebtcom) April 29, 2018
11. Consolidating credit cards
If you have been making your credit card payments on time and you are not behind, you may get some benefit in consolidating some of your existing cards.
In some instances, you can get up to six months of no interest payments if you transfer balances from one card to another.
If you do make this decision, look for cards that also offer additional benefits like airline miles, cash back, or other perks.
You may want to suggest to a credit card company you are considering this if you are trying to negotiate a lower rate, it may tempt them to lower the rate to keep you as a customer.
12. Use cards for emergencies only
Even if your credit cards have low outstanding balances, avoid using them for regular expenses.
Avoid keeping a card in your wallet where you could be tempted to purchase something you do not need because you know you have available credit.
13. Spending wisely on clothing
Skipping the latest fashion trends and going with classic styles can save you hundreds of dollars. Sticking with classic styles can save you money immediately, and over time.
You will look your best while still saving money on clothing.
14. Do a tax checkup
It may be worth checking and seeing how much money you are having withheld from your paycheck. If you are getting a tax refund annually, you are missing out on cash you could be bringing home.
Use the calculator the Internal Revenue Service offers to see if you should change your withholding.
Remember, the bigger your paycheck, the sooner you can pay down your debt.
15. Do a bank account check
See what your bank’s fees are and compare them to other banks.
If all your local banks are offering basically the same accounts with similar fees, check out some other online banking options where you can get fee-free checking and savings accounts.
Many online banking options also offer free bill pay, offer decent rates on savings accounts, and give you mobile options for banking.
16. Make use of employer matching
We all must save money for retirement one way or another. Company-sponsored 401(k) plans often have matching components meaning free money.
On top of the bonus of getting additional money from your employer, the money you deposit comes out before taxes meaning you may find your pay does not change that much.
17. Use bonuses and raises wisely
If you get an annual bonus, or you get a regular raise, make sure you use those funds wisely.
Since these funds are “new” income and not accounted for in your budget, use them to fund your retirement account, emergency fund, or an education account.
This is one money management tip that can help you get ahead and create a financial cushion for the future.
18. Track your spending
Even if you are sticking to your budget, it is a great idea to track how you are spending money. There are several apps available for smart phones which can help you determine where you are spending money.
19. Comparison shopping for everything
No matter what you are buying, always comparison shop. There are various applications available to help you do this easily no matter what you are buying.
Remember, every dollar you can save can bring you one step closer to paying off a credit card or increasing your savings.
20. Examine your student loans
For those with student loans repayment can feel burdensome.
Whether you have private loans or government loans, you could benefit from consolidating the loans into one loan. This would mean one monthly payment versus several which can make payment easier as well.
Consolidation is not always a good idea, so make sure you understand what the result will be before taking this step.
21. Rain checks, rebates, and coupons
Before you shop for anything, check for possible rebates and coupons.
If you find something you want on sale and it is not in stock, ask for a rain check.
Being able to save money can increase your ability to save money on everyday expenses including food, health and beauty needs, and clothing. This means more money you can save or use to pay down your debt.
22. Shop off season
This may seem odd initially but the best time to shop for anything is immediately after the season ends.
Shop for summer clothes at the end of summer, winter coats late in the winter, holiday wrapping paper and gift bags immediately after the holiday season ends.
This is a great way to lower your spending without feeling like you are being forced to go without.
— Get Out of Debt (@getoutofdebtcom) May 3, 2018
23. Do not be shy about asking for discounts
Some stores offer senior discounts, military discounts, or student discounts. If you fall into any category where a discount may be available, take advantage of it.
There may be specific days when these discounts are available but if you can save money it may be worth the time.
24. Avoid ordering alcohol in restaurants
Whether you are out to eat with your family or friends, avoid ordering alcoholic beverages.
The markups are astounding and even two drinks could easily double the cost of eating out.
25. Do an energy checkup
Make sure you are keeping your heating system tuned up. Take steps to make sure your home is properly insulated, there are no “air leaks” around doors and windows and make smart use of thermal curtains.
While some of these things may set you back a few dollars initially, the energy savings will add up over time, lowering your monthly expenses.
26. Skip the ATMs
Many automatic teller machines charge you a fee when you withdraw money.
Before you use any ATM make sure you know what the fee will be.
27. Always plan ahead
One of the best money management tips is always plan ahead. Plan all purchases even small ones.
Remember, if you know ahead of time what you are buying, you may be able to find it on sale. The bigger the purchase, the more important it is to plan for that purchase.
Sometimes emergencies happen like a car or appliance breaking down. But if you have been putting money into an emergency fund this does not have to be a devastating set back.
Getting control of your spending and saving is important and that is why understanding the basics of money management is so important. Whether you are saving for a vacation, your first home, or you are saving for retirement, you need to make sure you have control of your spending.
Everyone has different financial goals. The first step to successful money management is understanding your own goals.
Whether your goal is paying down your debt, creating an emergency fund or saving for a new home, you can do it if you practice smart money management.
Remember, there is no one-size-fits all approach because everyone has different needs. Find a plan that works for you and review it often. Reviewing your plan from time to time can make the difference between success and failure.
Which tip has helped you save money? Let us know in the comments!