1. Develop a plan by looking at your current spending. Look at the last three (3) months and exclude nothing. In other words, look at bills and casual spending. See what you could eliminate without destroying your “lifestyle.” If you can do without it, cut it. Add up each expense you could eliminate and you have an immediate number to begin your monthly “regular savings.”
2. Start by using the “1% Savings Plan” included in our past blogs on http://www.stickyasset.com/blog and http://www.boostmywealth.wordpress.com. Our goal is to give you constant encouragement to increase savings and strengthen your personal financial life. You can do this!
3. Look at all of your regular bills. Call everyone – including each company that sends you a bill each month – and tell them that you have been hit by the financial crisis and need help to continue being a customer. Ask them for help. Tell them you need to reduce your bill by 10 – 15%. By the way, this may not be one phone call. You will likely have to ask for a supervisor and you may have to make ten (10) calls or more. But remember the goal: You are trying to grow your savings. Be open to their suggestions. They may not help you save 15%, but what if you reduce individual bills by two (2) to fifteen (15) percent? That can really add up!
4. Here’s the real way to use coupons and coupon codes. Don’t just assume coupons and coupon codes will save you the most. Compare prices BEFORE you go shop and compare on site with non-coupon packaging of the same product. In other words, you should be focused on bottom-line savings only. If you can save 10% using a coupon but you compute the cost of a non-coupon package of the same product to be LESS than the coupon product, purchase without a coupon. Sometimes a coupon or coupon code is not a deal. Check the number of units in the coupon offer and compare it to non-coupon packages available. Join our FREE Facebook group “Coupons & Coupon Codes” to learn about new offerings and to contribute coupons and coupon codes you want to share with others. Simply use the white search bar on your Facebook wall and type in COUPONS & COUPON CODES. Then, click on become a fan for free and instant access. Also: If you save 10% or 30% using a coupon, calculate how much that is in real dollars and ACTUALLY move it to your savings. Don’t leave money in your checking account (which will bring us to guideline #5 below).
5. If you have read “HOW TO SURVIVE ANY FINANCIAL CRISIS,” you know we believe this with all our hearts: Checking accounts are MONEY LAUNDERING ACCOUNTS for other people’s money. Use any excuse you can to push ANY money you can FROM checking to savings accounts. If you let money stay in your checking account, shame on you.
6. Don’t focus on how much money you save. Focus on what PERCENTAGE of your after tax income you put in savings with EACH paycheck you receive. Work to increase this regular savings month after month. This will help you more than any other thing grow savings (and eventually investing). This is a major key to wealth building.
7. Focus on emergency savings first. No matter what anyone tells you, you should not be saving like it is 1987 – it isn’t! Save like it’s 2010: Your emergency savings should be 15 to 18 months of your expenses in a money market savings account and certificates of deposit. This amount of savings will build faster than you think if you apply the principles in this blog. Slow and steady wins the race. Once you have put your savings on track to reach this goal, you can also begin to pay down and then eliminate debt (especially credit card debt).
8. If you have credit cards, call the credit card companies and ask them to reduce your interest rate while you pay off the card. Like the above suggestion about dealing with regular bills, we suggest you committ to multiple calls and always ask for supervisors. If they reduce your interest rates for even a small amount of time, it will help you move toward paying them off IF you commit to paying regularly. When dealing with credit card debt, find out which of your credit cards has the highest interest rate. Make the MINIMUM PAYMENTS on all cards EXCEPT the highest interest rate card – pay AS MUCH OVER THE MINIMUM on that card each month as you can. This will help you pay off your “bad” credit cards that cost you the most money FASTER. Faster payoff is better.
HELPING YOUR KIDS GET AHEAD
In this country we don’t do enough to teach our children about money, managing money, saving regularly (and automatically), compound interest and steady investing for a long-term future. As a parent, we are always concerned that they get a good education and go to a good college so they can make a lot of money or have a valued career path. The truth is that we could do our children the biggest favor and one of the best things by sharing with them sound saving and investing principles.
You can join our free Facebook group (or have your children do it, too) by searching in the Facebook bar on your “wall” for “Live The Lifestyle Your Family Deserves.” Click on “become a fan.” It’s free and it ties our free blogs into that group.
If you want to give your children the same information we are giving ours, you can purchase the only thing we sell on any of our blogs or groups. It’s called “How To Survive Any Financial Crisis” and you can get it for only $4.95 at http://www.middleclassmoney.com.
Thank you for reading our blog and good luck!