Saving Money- the top five secrets

There are no new “secrets” to saving money. What do you have to do? You have to spend less than you earn. This means you will have to change your spending habits. It’s just like losing weight, you have to consume less than you burn. How do you do it? Well therein lies the rub, doesn’t it? Let’s discuss the top five ways most experts agree that you can save a few dollars each month.

1.    Refinance your home loan


Interest rates are at an all time low, especially on a 15 year mortgages, assuming you have a decent credit rating. Some mortgage lenders are also eliminating closing costs and other common fees associated with a typical refinance.

2.    Budget, Budget, Budget


We all have the “latte factor” in our spending habits. That morning coffee we get at Starbucks on the way to work or the bottle of water we buy at the gym can really add up to big bucks multiplied times 365 days a year. What’s the best way to save money? It’s not fun and it will take effort but the first step is to write down everything you spend for a month and create a budget. Analyze your income and expenses and identity categories for your spending. There are a number of great websites that offer a variety of forms to make budgeting easy. Find the right one and start using it.

3.    Build in automatic saving and investment for saving money


Whether you put 10% of your earnings into an automatic 401K or straight to an off-limits emergency savings account is less important than making the saving automatic. Every one of us tends to spend whatever money ends up in our checking account. If you don’t see it you are less likely to spend it. This is an automatic and easy way to change your spending habits.

4.    Give it away


This sounds counter intuitive but giving to others makes us more aware of what we have and how we have been blessed. Not only does giving feel good, it forces you to evaluate your spending habits. Some choose to give 10% as a tithe to their church; others find a local food pantry or charitable organization. The bottom line is helping others gives you a generous and thankful spirit. If you don’t have money to give consider giving time volunteering. I equate giving to exercising. Exercising heightens your awareness of every bite of food you put in your mouth; giving heightens your awareness of the purchases you make and forces you to evaluate if the money you spent on your morning coffee could have been used more effectively if given to someone else in need.

5.    Shop second hand and end up saving money


This is my favorite and the most fun. Buying second hand is like hunting for a treasure. Getting a great sweater at a fraction of the cost makes you feel great and stores like Plato’s Closet, Kid to Kid and online retailers have made finding a good deal easier than ever. My one warning for buying secondhand: DO NOT buy things you do not need. If you weren’t going to buy it anyway or you do not need it, you are not “saving” money. There will always be a great deals. Never buy just for the sake of buying. Avoid shopping if you do not have a specific purchase to make.

Making a few small changes in your spending habits can add up to big savings in the course of a year.

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Beth L. is a content writer for Better Bankruptcy. Good content and information is one of many methods we utilize to bring you the answers you need.