Six Savvy Tips to Spend Less and Save Smart

TipsWho doesn’t want to increase their savings so they can afford a great vacation each year or retire in style at age 55? Here’s a tip: Savings are directly tied to spending. The less you spend, the more you can save.

If your spending is out of control, here are six more savvy tips to super-size your savings.

  • Analyze your spending for a month

Use an online budget tool or a spreadsheet to track everything you spend money on for one month. You might be surprised by how much you spend on dining out, groceries, entertainment, or clothing. Give serious thought to your purchasing patterns and look for ways to reduce spending. Do you really need new clothes? Can you enjoy less expensive restaurants when you go out or even start cooking more at home? Make a list before grocery shopping and don’t deviate from it. Look for coupons and sales before shopping. (If the holidays are coming up, here are Five Big-Ticket Items You Shouldn’t Buy.)

  • Review ongoing expenditures

When was the last time you comparison shopped your auto or homeowners insurance? Have you checked mortgage rates lately to see if you should refinance? Have you reviewed strategies to reduce your income taxes? Take a look at all of your subscriptions and ongoing monthly costs and figure out what you really need or if you can find a cheaper alternative. (View these Four Smart Ways to Save Money on Health Care.)

  • Make a monthly spending plan and put it in writing

Budget for all major expenditures and give yourself spending limits for different categories, like eating out, entertainment, clothing, etc.   Resolve not to purchase items that aren’t in your budget.

  • Throw out your credit cards

…or at least hide them for a while. Most people find it more difficult to spend cash than to charge a purchase.

  • Give yourself a consideration period before large purchases

How often have you purchased something on impulse only to realize when you got home that you really didn’t need it? To control those impulses, compare an item’s price and value on your first shopping trip. Then go home, think about whether you really need the item, and purchase it on another trip.

  • Don’t buy the most house you can afford

Your house is likely to be the biggest purchase of your life. Figure out the maximum amount you can afford for a house and then buy one substantially less expensive than that. Not only will you save on your mortgage payment, other costs associated with owning a home will also be lower. Living well within your means is one of the best ways to ensure you have money left over for saving. (Here’s a great article on how to shop for a house.)

You can read many more great saving and investment tips in our article library.

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