Many Americans do not understand how to manage and save their money. But this problem can easily be solved through education. If you feel that you need to better control money, getting started may be easier than you think – here are some tips to boost your savings. We must learn to invest in ourselves. After all, aren’t we worth it?
1. Stick to cash: When you're shopping or eating out, use cash instead of credit cards. A recent study showed that people spent 47% more money when they used a credit card instead of cash. You can use the extra money to jump start your savings.
2. Set a monthly savings goal and invest that amount each month: Create some special savings funds. Contribute to them monthly and have the money directly deposited in your funds if possible. If your employer has a 401k plan, take advantage of the companies' match. Most employers match fifty cents to each dollar you save up to six percent. This is free money. Even if your employer has stopped making contributions, it's still a good idea for you to save in a 401k plan. If you are already contributing to your 401k, try to increase the amount you save in it.
3. Wheel and deal: Go over every bill and start haggling. Request lower interest rates from your credit card companies, ask companies to give you new customer promotions and threaten to switch if they don't. You'll be surprised how much money you may be able to save. A friend who recently lost his job called his internet/cable/phone provider and after attempting to cancel service was offered a significanly lower rate. It's worth taking the time to ask for help lowering your bills. I often call my telephone company and ask them if I am on the cheapest plan. Almost every time I call, I end up saving money on future phone bills.
4. Learn to say no to your kids: Many children have little or no understanding of the value of a dollar. Say no when your kids want something and encourage them to earn the money or to contribute some of their own money toward the purchase. That way, they're not getting something for nothing and you'll get work out of them or save the portion of the money that they are required to contribute.
5. Refinance your mortgage or lower your housing costs: Interest rates are at historic lows. Money experts recommend you spend no more that 33 percent of your income on housing. If you are spending more than that, consider making a change in your housing situation if at all possible.
6. Track your spending: There are several websites where you can securely upload bills, credit cards and savings. These websites will then slot your spending into categories and allow you to view them in easy-to-read graphics. If you follow your money, you'll be able to find ways to save and will spend less. Check out Kiplinger's slide show which gives a snapshot of some of the most popular money management sites:
7. Save extra money that comes your way: Did you receive a raise, a bonus or a tax refund? Save it rather than spend it away into oblivion.