Tips for Getting Back Into Your Savings Routine After the Holidays
Posted on Monday, December 26th, 2011 at 8:12 am
The majority of New Year’s Resolutions fall into two general categories: weight loss, and money. After the financial extravagance of the holidays is over, many people decide it is time to get back into their savings routine. How does one manage to achieve that? Here are some tips that can help you transition back into the savings routine you were in before the holidays.
The first thing you are going to need to do is make a budget. Figure out how much money your household makes in a month. That number gives you a good idea about the amount of money that you can afford to spend each month.
Next, you need to make a list of all the bills that you typically pay in a month. These could include payments for: mortgage, rent, electricity, water, trash, cable, internet, phones (land line and cells), and more. You also will want to include other expenses like groceries and gas. Figure out the amount of money that would be required to pay all those bills and expenses. Subtract that from the number that represents your monthly income.
The amount that is leftover is what you can use to pay for other, less necessary, things. If your goal this year is to save money, there are plenty of helpful suggestions about how to do that. Here are a few tips that you can try.
Pay yourself first. Every month, take a specific amount of the “leftover” money, and put it into your savings account. Do this before you make that trip to Starbucks, or spend it on an “impulse buy”. Pick an amount that you can reasonably afford to put into your savings account. It might only be ten dollars a month, but even that low amount will, eventually, accrue interest.
Start paying down your credit cards. The nasty thing about credit cards is that they attach a monthly interest rate to the amount that you owe. If you only pay the minimum, then you are probably only paying for that interest rate. You won’t ever make the actual balance go down. Instead, pay more than the minimum required payment. Keep chipping away at that debt, and don’t let it grow bigger.
Take your credit cards out of your purse. If you don’t have a bunch of credit cards with you when you shop, then you won’t be tempted to use them. If you lack will power, then this little tip can prevent you from continuing to run up your credit cards.
Most importantly, you need to stick to your budget. It might not be fun to have restrictions placed on your spending habits. But, if your goal is to save money, then these methods will be worth it.