Monday, April 1, 2013

Question: How Can I Get Cash? Answer: Try These Money-Saving Tips

I'm pretty sure that the combination of the facts that I'm married, have two kids and we own a home all mean that there aren't too many excuses left for me to claim that I'm not a full-fledged adult.

Remember when you were a kid and you just couldn't wait to grow up? Adults could eat whatever they want, stay up late, drive, leave their bed unmade, and a whole long list of other really cool things.

But... now that we're here and can do all of those things, well, they're still sometimes pretty cool. But, what's not? All the responsible, grown-up junk that adults have to do as well. Go to work, pay bills, worry nonstop about our kids, deal with politics, global warming, etc, etc, etc.

While some of those are issues that will never go away, dealing with one adult aspect, money, can be at least made a little easier thanks to smart choices, living within your means, and saving money. Not sure where to start? The knowledgeable folks at Genworth Financial can help you plan for the future in multiple ways.

Along with all of the information that you can find from Genworth, here are five money-saving tips to help you keep more cash in your wallet and less disappearing into thin air.

1. Track your spending habits.

In the same way that losing weight is the result of burning more calories than you eat, saving money results from bringing in more than you spend. While it would obviously be nice to simply increase how much is coming in, that is typically not something that we all can control. Spending, on the other hand, is up to us.

Keep a log (on your phone, computer or in a notebook) of your family's spending for a month and you may find that stopping to pick up a latte on the way to work or going to get a mani/pedi every other week adds up to much more than you thought.

2. Eliminate as much debt as possible.

Easier said than done, right? But truly, paying off your debt can save you a great deal of money. Have you looked at the interest that you're paying on that credit card or student loan? Over the years it can really add up to a large amount of money that could have stayed in your pocket.

3. Pay cash.

Credit card companies didn't accidentally make it extremely easy to charge our purchases. Just slide this piece of plastic right here and I can take home (or have delivered to my door) this new outfit/appliance/electronic gadget/toy?

If you make it a goal to pay cash for as many of your purchases as possible, you'll be forced to budget for larger items — causing you to either make an effort to really save your pennies or to reconsider if you needed the item in the first place.

4. Save gas.

I have clear memories of sitting in the car and watching the numbers on the pump spin while my parents filled up the tank at the gas station. At the time, gas hovered around $1/gallon, so it was always fun to see the total price and the number of gallons stay neck and neck with each other as the fuel kept dispensing. Not quite the same these days, is it?

With gas prices as high as they are, the less that you have to fill up, the more money that can be saved. Bike, walk or carpool to work or school, if possible; plan your shopping trips to hit all the stores in the same area at once instead of driving all over town; plan a staycation for your next vacation instead of driving a long distance; and take good care of your car — a properly maintained vehicle runs more efficiently and provides better gas mileage.

5. Plan ahead.

Whether that means starting a college savings plan sooner than you had thought necessary or reading up on tips to make your retirement cheaper, you can never be over-prepared when it comes to your family's future.

At the same time, we've all heard the phrase "save it for a rainy day," so don't scoff at the idea of simply saving money for the sake of saving money. You never know when your roof will start to leak, your car will unexpectedly break down or your employer will have to downsize.

What tips do you have for saving money?

Information for this post is sourced from Genworth Financial in partnership with the SheHeard Influencer Network, however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are honest and my own.


Liz Mays said...

I'm a good saver! I do treat myself, but I definitely save most of my dollars. :)

Anonymous said...

Great tips! I try to save money on our grocery budget every week. Whatever is saved goes into our emergency fund!

slehan said...

I don't have a TV. Shop at thrift stores. Pay cash. Don't have a Starbucks habit. Paid off my mortgage. Have a limited income but keep saving.

Unknown said...

I try to save and have brought many of my bills to the minimum amounts however I fing that my food bill is the easiest to reduce.

Unknown said...

A great way to make sure you don't have any money problems is cooking at home and not getting the latest and greatest gadget when it is released. Of course, there are many more ways to be really frugal: checking out thrift stores, buying second-hand appliances, saving up for big-budgeted items far in advance, keeping yourself healthy so you don't have to worry too much about medical bills, growing your own vegetables, and make smart investment choices.
But the tips above, especially planning ahead, are probably the four key steps to take to save money.

Unknown said...

We have just switched to paying cash instead of swiping or card now were able to see what were spending and always know when to stop, where with our card we couldnt see what we were spending so we swiped away.

raveandreview said...

I'm totally a saver... too bad hubby isn't :) And, I totally remember those days of $1/gallon gas. That would be nice these days!

slehan said...

You have to set a good example for your kids when it comes to saving money. Start them saving early.

slehan at juno dot com

Kimberly M. said...

I love to investigate new ways of saving by searching the internet, reading blogs, books, etc. Thanks for your tips.