4 Saving Tips for the Budget Beginner
I’m working on a strict budget for two reasons.
I want to ensure that I’m saving enough money for future (imaginary) BIG purchases. Plus, I want to save enough money and crush enough debt to freelance write full-time.
Repaying a bunch of debt before quitting my job feels like the safest and most responsible move to make.
In order to do this, my husband and I are pinching our coins, monitoring our credit score and staying focused.
Here are a few random ideas I’m trying to stick to for budgeting/credit score health; some borrowed from others and some my own strategies.
1. Set Specific Days to Spend Dough
This idea I got from the couple at Younghouselove.com (who have recently stopped blogging boo, hoo) and it made me laugh at first. They came up with the idea to not make any purchases Monday – Thursday. Meaning no cash, debit, credit, or online transactions, PERIOD.
I thought this was a good idea. I shared it with my husband and he was game. Unfortunately, we caved on the first day because I had a craving for chocolate chip cookie dough.
Not going to lie, it’s HARD, but we’re going to try it again. Think of all the change you’ll save if you skip happy hour, dinners out, dessert, movies, extra gas, etc. Monday – Thursday? THE POSSIBILITIES!?!
2. Open an Online Savings Account
Online savings accounts are bomb because they charge fewer fees and offer higher interest. The key to growing any savings account is making religious contributions and not touching it.
My grandfather once asked me, “How much money do you save per month?”… I gave him a random figure. He asked me again, “No, what percentage of your income do you save per month?”
I had no answer.
I then used the old school calculation of saving 20% of my income and realized I was saving only 1/4 of that 20%…. Oops.
Do your 20% calculation and set automatic transfers to an online savings account each pay period. Problem solved! My favorite online account is the Capital One 360. It’s a no fee savings account that requires no minimum balance.
3. Don’t Shop Impulsively
This is something my husband and I are seriously working on. Sometimes we go places with no budget, get a little shop happy, and stop looking at price tags.
Afterward, it’s like “Oh snap, we just spent over $100 on cat toys when we could have bought groceries”.
I’m really going to attempt to be more conscious of that. Reel it in, Reel it in.
4. Pay in Full Before Card Closing
Now, this one could be a no-brainer for some, but I had an AH HA moment when I noticed I was paying my credit card bill on time and my credit score wasn’t improving.
The closing date of the billing cycle on my credit card is September 3rd, but my payment is due September 18. I make sure my payment is made September 18, on time.
However, the credit card agency reports my balance to the bureau on the closing date, September 3rd. Even if the payment is not due, it still shows as a balance impacting my score. Now, I know to keep my balance as close to $0 as possible before the closing date so that’s what gets reported to calculate my score.
(Bonus: If you need an extra push in staying disciplined with saving, try the Digit app. It’s a free automated savings tool that I’m really lovin’ right now. Here’s how to use it!)
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