Who doesn’t want to make and save more money? The good news is that there are dozens of realistic, tried, and true methods for boosting your bottom line. The following strategies work for almost anyone, whether you’re starting with a zero balance or already have a decent nest egg to work with.
It’s easy to disprove that old, worn adage, “You need money to make money,” because virtually any determined individual can employ a few of the tactics on the list below to create wealth.
For example, sitting down and making a detailed budget costs nothing but can save you a significant amount of cash every month. Likewise, getting a personal loan or joining a shopping club are simple ways to put extra funds in your bank with very little effort. Keep in mind that some approaches take more time than others, but all of them have worked for millions of conscientious individuals for decades.
Make a Budget
Making a detailed budget is one of the oldest and most effective ways to save money without having to go out and increase your earnings. The entire concept of budgeting is to know your financial situation completely. Then, you’ll be ready to make the changes necessary to ramp up savings. Many people look at their budget and realize that it’s time to get a new job and begin earning more.
So, while a budget, alone, won’t put money in your pocket, it will give you the gift of clear thinking necessary to cut spending and change your habits in many ways. If you look at the raw numbers and are spurred on to get a new job, then the budget has done its work.
For most people, just creating a detailed monthly budget reveals several ways to save money. Financial advisors say that the most common area of over-spending for most adults is eating out at restaurants. It’s a fact that fast food has become a way of life for some, but it’s possible to break yourself of the habit and bag significant savings.
Pay Credit Cards to Zero Balances Every Month
Credit card interest rates are notoriously high, even in you have good scores and are a long-time cardholder. There’s nothing wrong with having credit cards, experts say, but the problem arises when you carry a balance at a high-interest rate. The solution is to pay all your cards down to a zero balance each time you receive a statement or when your online payment becomes due. That way, you still have the convenience of being able to pay with plastic when necessary, but don’t have to fork over large sums in interest charges.
For the majority of cardholders, it takes a few months of trying before they are able to instill the discipline in themselves to pay all balances to zero on a regular basis. But doing so is one of the best ways of saving money without risking anything to do so.
Take Out a Personal Loan
No matter what your credit rating is, you can probably find a lender who is willing to loan you money. Of course, interest rates and terms will vary based on your scores, but taking out a personal loan from Earnest is an ideal way to gain access to funds for an emergency, a trip, or a business venture. One of the other advantages of taking out a personal loan is that your credit scores will continue to improve as you pay on time each month.
Borrowers have been using personal loans as a primary source of additional funds for decades because, in many instances, you won’t have to put up any collateral at all, will get a much better rate than credit cards offer, and can spread out your repayment period over a set amount of years.
Don’t Borrow from Retirement Accounts
Savvy investors and savers have a rock-solid rule about retirement accounts, which is to never borrow from an IRA or 401K or a similar account that has been set up for funding your retirement. It can seriously jeopardize your financial future. What’s more, there can be tax implications for those who dip into their retirement savings.
In fact, there are hefty penalties, usually about 10 percent, for borrowing from a traditional IRA. Additionally, if you do borrow from your retirement fund, you could have to pay tax on the loan amount on top of the 10 percent penalty. That doesn’t put you any further ahead financially, any way you look at it. So, if you aim to save, let your retirement funds continue to grow, untouched until you’re finally ready to retire.
After you make a detailed budget, you likely noticed at least one or two areas where you can quickly chop off a few dollars of regular spending. According to financial planners, most working adults can reduce what they spend on meal out, groceries, tobacco or alcohol, and vacations. Scrutinize those areas of your budget and see what you can eliminate. Eating more meals at home is a realistic, effective way to cut out a lot of restaurant expenses, not to mention save on the waistline with the likely healthier options.
As you continue to get into the groove of reducing expenses and watching more and more remain in your bank account at the end of each month, you can focus on putting your hard-earned dollars to good use. First, building an emergency fund, typically adding up to a few months’ worths of expenses, is a great way to give yourself a little financial cushion in case of emergencies.
Next, be sure to make saving for retirement a priority. By continuing to increase contributions on a yearly basis, you can ensure your nest egg can continue to grow so you can maintain the quality of life during retirement and continue to check off any bucket list items. Check with your employer if they offer any company-matching contributions, as you don’t want to miss out on any free money offers.