Let's face it, coming up with smart and simple ways of saving money takes thinking that is a bit more creative.
Use some of these shortcuts to managing your finances. They are guaranteed to save you time and money.
Trick your mind into saving
Can't always come up with where your money goes? There is a simple solution: Trick your own mind into spending less and saving more.
If you are up for a challenge, allocate yourself a weekly allowance. Put a set amount of allowance into an envelope and determine that this will be all you will be allowed to spend for any given week. Next, divide your allowance to take care of your expenses. When you get down to the last $20, that's the amount you put into your emergency fund. When the money is gone, there will be no more until next week.
Each payday, allocate a percentage to go into a secret fund used only for emergencies. When it's crunch time, you will know it's there.
Establish one dresser drawer just to toss single dollar bills. This way when the pizza man arrives, you will have the singles handy and won't need to break the larger dollar amounts. This discipline forces your mind to think larger amounts and to save larger amounts. You get into the habit of spending only the singles. This works!
To control your credit card debt, carry just one card and pay it off each month. If you are tempted to over spend, the credit card goes into the safe where you only stash your emergency fund. When crunch day comes you have a credit card you can use that will always be in good standing.
Jot down expenses in a notebook and tally them at the end of each week to see if you are over or under your budget estimates. Build in more than you need so that you will always have a cushion in case of a cash emergency. Tracking your spending takes some work but if you take careful notes, you will always be able to see one or two areas where you're leaking cash. You can then come up with an extra $20 or more per week in savings. That's $1,000 a year in real money for an emergency fund.
More tricks to add to your own savings routine: Have your paycheck automatically deposited directly to savings rather than to your checking account. You will transfer money to pay your bills, but you'll think twice about withdrawing additional cash.
Make ONLY one ATM withdrawal each week. Subtract your credit card purchases immediately from your checking account so you're not surprised once the bill arrives.
When you pay off a loan, add the amount to payments you're already making to the next lender on your list. You can also send the money to a saving or investment account earmarked for a house, a vacation or a new car and this money will be made available in case of a money emergency.