Money in wallet

6 of My Favorite Spending Habits

There are so many great, accessible budgeting tools nowadays that can help with savings. Perhaps more rarely addressed is how to take those practical everyday steps that allow you to save, follow a budget, or understand your spending habits/ patterns and maintain them. I’ve compiled a list of my favorite smart spending habits that help me manage my money, in hopes that it can help you.

  1. Scheduling – I use my calendar as a guide to purchases. I use it to plan out holidays, birthdays, entertaining, vacations etc. in advance so I know what I’ll need to spend for each month, and I can budget out how much to spend. This is a great way not to be surprised by events, while also getting to be thoughtful about them in advance. I’m a big planner, so I love this habit. 
  2. Setting a goal or intention – Before I go shopping online or in-person, I always set an intention. I have a list, I know what I need to get, and I know around how much I can spend. This is a good habit to practice, as it helps keep me from impulse spending and encourages me to have a reason to shop instead of just for fun or out of boredom.
  3. Direct deposit into a savings account/ separate account that you only use in emergencies – Sometimes saving money is so hard to do manually, I just have to make it automatic. If you’re able to set up your direct deposit into different accounts – it can be a great way to save. Even if I only have 10 dollars from your pay going into a savings – that adds up. This also helps me be less likely to touch the money because it’s automatically accumulating without me doing anything.
  4. Have planned times of check ins – It’s easy to veer from my goals. Everyone needs that time of realigning. Checking in with my finances helps me see where I’m spending money the most, how much I’m spending, and see what my tendencies are. Check ins make all the difference because I can make small adjustments to help reach my saving goals.
  5. Cancel + update subscriptions – Subscriptions can be convenient; however, they can get out of control quickly. Regulating them helps me enjoy them for a while – then get rid of them at some point. There are always promotions on subscriptions, but they usually only last one month and then roll you into automatic payments. Beware of these and keep an eye out that they don’t enroll you.
  6. Think about big purchases for a while – Adding time to my purchase decisions can help me save money. Picking a price ceiling according to my budget helps me set the intention. Then I that number along with an amount of time. For example, maybe the ceiling is $150 dollars on non-necessities, and I think about the purchase for 4 days. This adds some logic to my purchase and helps me think out all the options before making an impact purchase.

Try These Saving Strategies!

I hope that the spending habits I practice can help inspire your own or keep going with the ones you’re already practicing well! Keep at it! 

Budgeting/ Saving Strategies that are Worth Your Time

Financial freedom. It’s something most American’s chase. There are tons of tools out there to help you along the way – some helpful and some not as much. When you’re trying to make ends meet or you feel in a hole, all these tools can feel miles away. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed or to give up when one program or idea doesn’t work for you.

Don’t give up. You may never have a huge savings account. That’s okay. The goal isn’t to store up money and sit on it. The goal is to learn to live with what you need, value what you have, and to not be ruled or crippled by money. It’s about taking the power from debt and giving it to yourself. Here are some great strategies to push you forward! Start today!

Tracking:

Apps – There are a variety of apps you can choose from. Some are free and some have a small fee. They are only worth it if you are going to keep up with them . If you’re not willing to update them as you spend – apps probably are not the best option for you. If your meticulous – this is your solution. Some apps simply track spending while others automate savings for you. Browse app options!

Envelope System – The idea of this strategy is you budget for various categories and then get that amount out in cash. Whatever amout you have in cash is all you can spend on the category for the month. Each category is signified by an envelope. For example, if you say you’ll spend 50 dollars on clothes a month – that’s all you can spend. If you have left over cash you can reward yourself! Read more about the envelope system!

Spreadsheet – If you have a spreadsheet program on your computer, this is the easiest option to obtain. If you know how to create formulas or can ask someone for help, spreadsheet budgeting is pretty minimal. You just enter your numbers and see where you are in line of your budget.

Great ways to save as you budget:

Incremental – If you don’t have much to spare – incremental saving is the strategy for you. As you get paid, you save small amounts, over time you can increase the amount. Maybe you save 1 dollar each day for the month of January and 2 dollars every day for the month of February. This adds up quickly after a bit of time!

Reducing – If you do a lot of impulse buying or luxury buys this is a great place to start. All you do is cut back the amount you spend in certain categories or cut them out all together. Then what you save can be more focused on needs.

Set Your Financial Goals Today!

Don’t be limited by debt, be empowered by budgeting. You can be in a better place. These options can help you get there. Have patience and do your best.

To Automate or Not

The internet, apps, and online shopping have transformed the way we spend money. No brainer, right? But do we really consider that we have a choice? Our whole financial life does not have to be digital. Especially, when that hurts us.

But certainly there are definite benefits to automating certain things. Let’s take a look at how the internet and your money can work together.

Direct Deposit

Most employers offer automated direct deposit. Let’s face it, it’s nice. However, you might benefit from getting a tangible check and placing into a bank account. This may help you be more responsible and realize how much money you get. An even better option is to ask your employer if you can split your direct depost and filter some into one account and the rest into another.

Automating Payments

Honestly, I am not a huge fan of this. It’s great so you pay on time and don’t have to worry about it. But what if the money isn’t there? If you don’t check your accounts you’ll never know until you’ve overdrafted. Sometimes manual control of your payments means more planning, but you’ll have a better understanding of your budget.

Online Shopping

Reconsider online shopping, or just do it less. I know, I know. I’m killing your convenient streak. But shopping online really could be what’s killing your budget. Puchasing frequently online opens you up for card fraud, and if an item is not what you thought it would be – it can be difficult to return items you purchased online.

Budgeting Apps

This is the automating you want. 100 percent. This is how the internet should help you. There are tons of resources to help you save cash and manage your money.

Online Statements

Looking at your statements is so helpful. You can see where you spend your money and even categorize what you spend the most on.

Start Saving Today!

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6 Steps to Help Prepare you to Buy your First Home

 

First of all, congratulations! You’re either ready to purchase your first home, trying to become more educated, or you’re here by chance – either way you’ve got something to gain. No need to feel intimidated here because we’re keeping it simple.

Below you’ll find 6 steps that will hopefully lead you to a better understanding of what homeownership is made up of. Keep in mind – the most important matter is knowing what you can pay and knowing what you’ll have to pay. Be patient with yourself – it’s a process, but you can do it.

Someone organizing finances, calculator, money
Get organized and get on your way to buying your first home!

1. Make a calendar of monthly expenses (focus on saving)

Ever had a payment slip your mind? It happens – especially when you’ve got a lot of bills and life is busy. Making a calendar is a great way to understand how everything adds up. There are great resources online for printable calendars – check some out! At the start of each month calculate the difference between how much you make and how much you have to pay monthly. This will give you how much money you have available to save. You may not have any money to save in the beginning but that’s why you budget – keep at it.

2. Decide on a realistic down payment

Now that you know the amount you can set aside, aim for a down payment amount that is less than what you can save. That way fees don’t surprise you.

3. Look for the home you need (size, location, + condition)

This step doesn’t have to happen in this order, but it makes it easier to focus on the type of mortgage you want to get. It also helps you build towards a specific goal.

Search Homes Now!

Saving money, growth of savings.
Saving adds up!

4. Evaluate credit + research how to build it

Bad credit or no credit are temporary statuses. You can do something about them. It takes time to build good credit or restore bad credit. If you’ve fallen behind in your payments, get back up and stay current. Understand that this is like exercising, it takes a while to get in shape.

5. Plan for taxes/fees

Fees and taxes are part of the loan application, processing and closing process, but if you plan for them you can use your savings. Items like property taxes, and homeowner insurance are sure to show up.

6. Research + understand mortgage rates

Mortgages are not one-size fits all. Research different rates, points/no points and closing costs. Keep in mind that buying a home is not just paying the sticker price. The best way to have a successful mortgage is to make the purchase based upon what you can afford. Knowing the rates and different loan optionslets you know what to expect.

Once your credit is where you need it to be and you’ve found the right mortgage – you’re closer to being a homeowner! However, owning a home is not the only goal. The final goal is to be responsible with your finances. So keep budgeting, be your own advocate, and learn to monitor spending.