A Firstline Securities Blog by: Alicia Hernandez
Many of us are aware that we are spending a lot more that we want to but haven’t really focused on where we can cut back without affecting our quality of life. Here are 8 ways we can trim our “financial fat” and leave more funds available for saving and investment!
1. ATM Fees. Sure, it can be a time saver, but it’s a huge money waster! Plan ahead so you have the cash you need. Find ATMs that don’t charge, such as your bank branch, some grocery stores, etc.
2. Managing Credit Card Debt – Paying only the minimum balance on your credit card debt will result in a much larger debt than your original purchases were worth. If your balance on an 18% credit card is $3,000.00 and each month you pay only the 2% minimum payment, it will take over 36 years to pay off the balance and the interest paid on the original $3,000.00 will have amounted to more than $7,500.00
3. Good Food Gone Bad. Do you have some UFOs in your fridge—unidentified food objects? I confess that at time I do in fact buy lots of fresh food at the market (sometimes too much) because it is cost effective, but do not always get around to eating it. I might as well throw ten dollars in the garbage along with the rotting food. So eat your leftovers or freeze them for a later meal.
4. Penalty Fees. Pay bills on time and avoid fees. $6 in ATM fees, $30 for overdraft and $15 in banking fees each month add up fast! Banks should be helping you save money, not taking it. So don’t give it to them.
5. Stop buying bottled water. You have options. Get an under-sink filter. You can get pitcher after pitcher of clean water for a few cents. Get a Brita type filter or reusable water bottles.
6. Watch the small stuff. We all want certain luxuries. It’s just part of human nature. The issue here is to not let those luxuries take over your budget. By this I’m referring to smaller items such as expensive Internet connections, premium cable and cell phone packages. There are different types of connections available at varying costs and with varying speeds. If all you need are emails and browsing, you can probably get enough bandwidth with the cheapest connection. The same is true of cable packages, cell phones, computers and other electronic devices. Several cell phone plans actually provide way more services than you actually utilise. This is an area where you can be proactive. Sit down and determine exactly what you need and then how much you can spend and still maintain your budget.
7. Shop around for services. An hour of research could save you a pretty penny. This goes beyond just basic TV, internet and cable. Compare for all insurances, phones, credit cards, and handymen. Weigh your options, not just the cost. Lower quality may not actually be saving you much in the long run with a repair man. Beware if you have a contract: breaking it to switch may negate any savings if you have to pay a penalty fee.
8. Pack Your Lunch. “I can’t cook” isn’t an excuse. Learn how to make a few dishes well. Start bringing lunch to work at least two or three days a week and reduce the number of time you purchase dinner. It might not sound appetizing when you’re packing lunch, but if you wait for hunger pangs to strike at noon, you’ll go for the quick, and more expensive, fix.
Caution – Areas you should not Skimp On
What should you do with all the money you have saved???
Pay yourself first: Use automatic transfers to investment accounts to capture your savings goals beyond your emergency fund needs. If you pay yourself first instead of last, your chances of success are greatly enhanced. Put your success on autopilot and calendar a review to increase the amounts every quarter.
And lastly – Firstline Securities Limited offers comprehensive coverage of local and international markets with many unique opportunities to put surplus cash to work either as your asset manager or investment advisor. Please contact us for more details at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 868.628.1175. We can discuss your investment needs in detail and craft a portfolio that makes sense for you. We look forward to hearing from you.