5 Tips to Help You Save Money for the New Year
It’s a whole new year which means a whole new opportunity to save money. Saving money can be tough, especially when unexpected expenses hit but it definitely helps to try and plan ahead. While we can’t predict what the future holds, we can certainly prepare for the best and that usually means saving money. Lone Star Credit Union is here to provide 5 tips to consider in order to help save money for the New Year!
1. Reevaluate What You’re Already Paying For
A good starting point is to add up what non-essential expenses you’re already paying for such as cable TV, video or music streaming services, and online subscriptions. While of course it’s convenient to have the subscription service(s) at your fingertips, in the interest of saving money it may be time to do away with one, if not all of them.
Although, it may be hard to cut the cord, your public library may be the alternative you’ve been looking for! Most public libraries have a vast selection of VHS’ (older movies), DVDs, and even blu-rays, along with a variety of CD’s from different genres that may sometimes not even be on a particular streaming service. Public Library cards are typically free and so are the rentals as long as you don’t return the items past their due date! Just confirm with your local library for the full details.
2. Meal Prep/Cook at Home
Of course eating fast food or going to a restaurant is a quick and convenient way to grab a bite to eat but those small tabs here and there can quickly add up. A simple way to assess how much you spend on food is to check your monthly statements and tally up each food and drink expense for that month. On average a person spends around $200-300 dollars a month eating out. While your schedule may prevent you from fully meal prepping, consider taking a bagged lunch that is already pre-packed with your favorite fruit, bread, peanut butter, or other snack to help add towards that savings account.
3. Downsize Your Home/Apartment
Having a place called home is certainly a great feeling but are you fully utilizing your space? Do you have too much room? If you answered yes, then you may consider downsizing. While it sounds counterintuitive to what popular opinion may tell you, it could potentially free up quite a bit of cash flow which would be the result of paying less in monthly rent and utilities. If your lease renewal is coming up, consider downsizing and adopting the expression, “less is more”. To get an idea, take advantage of our free Home Budget Calculator on our website!
4. Set Short & Long Term Financial Goals
Thinking ahead and setting realistic goals will put you on the road to success. A common rule to follow is to not spend more than you earn. Whichever you feel comfortable with, set your goals on a yearly, monthly, weekly, or even daily spending limit. Don’t forget to take advantage of our free Savings Goal Calculator to get an idea on where you want your savings to take you. With that remaining balance, contribute it to a separate Savings Account so you have a designated account to save and a Checking Account to spend.
Another perk you may have overlooked is a 401K benefit. Most employers who offer a 401K offer a match benefit. A 401K match means that an employer will match your contribution up to a certain percentage. We’ve provided an example below of how a 401K match works.
|Employee Contribution||3% of $35,000 which equals $1,050 yearly|
|Employer Match||3% (Same as Employee contribution)|
|Paid Bi-Weekly||26 Weeks|
|Employee & Employer Combined||$2,100 yearly|
For Example Purposes Only
$35,000 (yearly salary) x .003 (employee contribution %) = $1,050 (employee yearly contribution)
Employer matched at 3% would be $1,050 x 2 = $2,100 Total
Double check with your Employer to see if this is something that they offer. If so, be sure to take full advantage of it so that you have a savings plan for your future.
5. Let Your Money Earn Interest for You
Investing your money is a great way to earn with just an initial setup. While it may be the lengthiest of all the tips mentioned, it can possibly be the most rewarding! Look for Savings & Certificates that will help you grow your money by earning dividends. Products like Certificate of Deposits (CD’s), Money Market Accounts, or Savings Accounts earn interest on an initial balance. Depending on the calculated rates and amount of time, you could potentially double your money. We’ve provided an example below of a current CD* rate.
|Certificate of Deposit||6 Month|
|Minimum Balance + APY Earned (Total)||$1,028|
For Example Purposes Only
$500 x 0.0176 (APY) = $8.8/month
$8.8/month x 60 months = $528
$500 (Original balance) + $528 (APY) = $1,028 (Total)
Just remember, saving takes time. The beauty of having both short and long term goals is that the short term goals can be achieved faster while long term goals are something to look forward to. No matter where you are in your savings process Lone Star Credit Union cares about your Financial Wellness. If you have any questions or would like more information, contact us today!
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*LSCU Rates subject to change without notice. Verify the rates by going to our rates webpage.
**APY = Annual Percentage Yield