Fraud and fees can leave you paying more for a gift card than you mean to give out. Read our tips on how to get the most out of giving a gift card.
Get the latest tips and tricks to help you save money effectively
Find simple tips to save money effectively so you can achieve your goals!Being able to save money effectively is essential. Savings provides the foundation to achieve your goals and helps you get out of living paycheck-to-paycheck. But how do you achieve healthy savings on a tight budget with all your bills and other obligations? These articles talk about the latest tips and techniques for saving money effectively. Learn better ways to set money aside consistently and the best strategies for making it grow so you can reach your goals.
Where credit cards get sneaky, and what you can do to avoid their hidden costs.
Here are 5 money-saving tips from a New Orleans bartender.
Eating gluten-free isn’t cheap – don’t gut your wallet to feed your gut.
Brush off that wilted spinach and climb out of the grocery store dumpster.
If you dig a little deeper into your fixed expenses, you may find they’re not so fixed after all.
Garage sales are both rewarding and risky. Here’s how to score a deal every time.
Having poor credit can make saving money and buying a house more difficult. Believe it or not, it can also put a strain on your love life.
Retailers sell products they don’t actually have in-house. And you can make money doing the same.
There are a few ways to cut back on spending hidden in your policy.
Investing is one of the best ways to create wealth. Money Girl and Chris Hill from The Motley Fool discuss common investing barriers and the best investment to own for long-term financial success.
Before your trip, don’t forget to buy travel insurance. This often-overlooked coverage is a bargain for the big benefits.
One way is to get pre-approved. Another way is to fly to Florida — really.
A car is one of the biggest purchases you can make. Here are a few ways to get your money’s worth over time.
Hint: Only the last one involves books.
There are plenty of good deals out there if you just take time to sniff them out.
From using airline credit cards to intentionally getting bumped off a flight, here’s how to save on airline travel.
We’d do anything for our furry friends – including break the bank. But that doesn’t mean we have to.
A shopping guide for those who want to budget their money and time.
Not using a gym membership or magazine subscription? Cut them and keep the cash.
Some everyday items were triple or quadruple the price they are now.
I asked some of the best personal finance experts. Here’s how they answered.
Scour pre-Halloween sales, and plan ahead by buying this year’s decorations for next October.
Cutting back on these items may end up costing you more.
One of the biggest shopping days of the year is coming soon. Here’s how to do it right.
His frugal living couldn’t save one thing, and that nearly cost him his life.
It’s not a question of “if” or even “when.” It’s also “why.”
But even with that experience, she still suffered through her own debt issues.
New Years’ resolutions usually end in failure. Here’s how to keep yours and become financially free this year.
This holiday season, we spend money on ourselves and others and then regret it. Here’s how not to.
If we think of the government at all, we usually think about the money they take away in taxes. But it taketh and giveth away, too.
Pre-planning can save you more money on Easter than you think.
College basketball’s best teams square off tomorrow. If you’re going, go for the savings.
6 Smart Tips for How to Save Money More Effectively
#1: Make savings automatic
Anytime you can set up a system to work without you, it’s more likely to work. If you have to remember to set aside money each month before you spend it, it’s less likely to occur. So, you want to make savings automatic.
The best idea is to ask your HR department to split the Direct Deposit for your paycheck. Allocate 5-10% of your income to deposit directly into your savings account while the rest goes to checking. This way, you don’t even have to think about setting money aside. Otherwise, set up a recurring monthly transfer from your checking to your savings account.
#2: Establish a short-term emergency fund first
Your first savings goal should be to have a $1,000 balance that you maintain in your main savings account. This should be the minimum balance that you try to keep in the account so you have funds to cover most emergencies. Then you can use the funds if your car breaks down, you have an expensive home repair or an unexpected medical bill.
As you’ll see below, this is not the full financial safety net you need. But it’s a good, solid first milestone that you can aim to achieve.
#3: Next aim for 3-6 months of budgeted expenses
A true emergency fund is big enough to cover all your bills and necessary budgeted expenses for up to 6 months. This means you can be out of work due to unemployment or a medical issue for half a year without facing financial distress. You don’t have to rely on high interest rate credit cards to cover your expenses or take out costly payday loans.
Total up all the necessary expenses in your budget and multiply by three. This gives you the next savings milestone you should aim for after your basic $1,000 emergency fund.
#4: Don’t be afraid of investing
A traditional savings account typically has an interest rate of less than 1%. In fact, 1% is considered a “high rate” when it comes to savings accounts. The problem is that such a low rate means it takes a long time for your money to grow. You’ll be lucky if you ever achieve your goals with such little growth.
In order to save money effectively, you must make those savings grow effectively. This means you need better growth rates than your basic savings account can offer. Without more robust investment tools, it will be hard to achieve stable long-term savings.
#5: Consider cash equivalents
If you don’t like the risk of the stock market and you prefer to start small, look to cash equivalents first. Cash equivalents refer to any investment that you can easily convert to cash. This actually includes basic checking and savings accounts, as well as investments like Money Market Accounts and Certificates of Deposit.
Money Market Accounts function like savings accounts, except they usually have higher minimum balance requirements. The applied interest rate is usually higher, too. In fact, most MMAs work on a tiered rate system. This means the more you save and the higher your account balance, the higher your rate of return, too.
CDs are a type of short-term investment that also offer better rates for saving. You deposit a certain amount of money that matures over a certain term; typically, terms range from one week up to five or ten years. At the end of the term, you withdraw the money or let it roll over for another term. This type of savings can be good to hit specific goals like we will describe below.
#6: Allocate savings for specific goals
Think about savings in terms of specific goals that you want to reach. For instance, you would have your basic savings and emergency fund, long-term retirement savings, and then savings that you allocate for certain purposes. This will help you save strategically and ensure the money doesn’t get spent.
So, let’s say you want to buy a car next year. You have $3,000 in savings that you want to use for the down payment. If you put that money into a 12-month CD, it can grow for a year and it’s not sitting in your savings account where it can get spent. Allocating savings this way helps ensure you can pay for specific goals with less need for financing. You can also pay for things like vacations without high interest rate credit card debt coming home with you.