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4 Money Saving Ideas For Budgeting Newbies

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Updated May 2, 2017

In 2013, I started to get serious about money for two reasons.

I wanted to ensure that I was saving enough money for future BIG purchases.

Plus, I wanted to save enough money and repay enough debt to responsibly quit my job and to start a business.

Repaying debt before quitting my job felt like the safest and most responsible move to make.

Taking this step is something I wholeheartedly recommend for all aspiring creatives and full-time business owners.

There are a lot of Cinderella stories about people quitting without a safety net and succeeding.

Let me break it down for you — this is not realistic.

And if someone has been successful with this approach, I guarantee there’s more to the story.

Like years spent gaining experience and building connections that made it possible.

This is the reason I still write about money even though I’ve “technically” achieved what I initially set out to do which was saving enough and making enough to make a comfortable living as business owner.

(I say “technically” because, as you know, when you attain something the bar just increases in your mind on into infinity. But that’s a conversation for another day.)

I’ve always been someone who hates being told what to do.

I hate limits on what I can be and achieve.

In high school, the ball and chain was my parents and curfews. I hated that ish.

I discovered the adult version of the curfew is (drum roll) money.

Mastering your money is the key to busting out of that curfew so you can do whatever the ef you want, whenever you want.

I’m still on a journey to mastering my money, life, and productivity.

I share this journey with you through my writing.

I don’t have everything figured out.

But my mission is to inspire you with my stories and to connect you with money tips, tools, and productivity hacks that I’ve learned along the way so that you can make moves towards pursuing your lifelong goals, too.

These are the first few simple steps that my husband and I took to start improving our finances.

1. Set Specific Days to Spend Dough

This idea I got from the couple at Younghouselove.com (who have recently stopped blogging boo, hoo).

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 kept trying.

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.

My favorite online account is the Capital One 360. It’s a no fee savings account that requires no minimum balance.

More on why online savings accounts rock here.

3. Set a Budget Before Shopping — Always

This is something my husband and I continue to work on.

Sometimes we go places without a 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”.

Just kidding, we’re not this bad.

 

4. Pay in Full Before Card Closing

Now, this a credit score improvement trick.

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 on that date 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.

Do you have any ideas to share with me? Comment below! 
— This post or page may contain affiliate links. Don’t worry, though. I only promote products that I’ve used or truly believe in. Scout’s honor.

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Taylor K. Gordon is a writer and money blogger. She writes on how to live your best life without going broke.

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