Ever feel like your paycheck just isn’t going as far as it used to? Many of us live paycheck to paycheck without even knowing it. In fact, the majority of Americans have trouble sticking to a set budget. Overspending tends to creep up on us, from grabbing extra items in the grocery store checkout line to one-click online shopping. But, getting a handle on your financial future could be as easy as making a few adjustments to your daily routine. Regardless of your budget or personal situation, check out these helpful tips to curb your spending habits and pad your savings now.
Hide your credit cards
Credit cards are one of the leading causes of debt for working adults, and it’s no surprise why. Easy access and convenience are just a couple of reasons why people reach for plastic instead of cash. To keep yourself from racking up an even higher balance, simply stop using credit cards altogether. Not only will you prevent new debt from accumulating, but you might also develop new spending habits by relying solely on hard cash to pay for everything. Buying things with credit can give us a false sense of security because, for many shoppers, it’s more difficult to actually watch the cash change hands. Putting your credit cards in a block of ice (figuratively or literally) is one of the easiest ways to tackle debt and reduce spending at the same time.
Create (and stick to) a budget
In the United States alone, the average person holds at least $15,000 in credit card debt. And, educational debt overshadows that metric by a landslide. That being said, only about half of all households keep and maintain a budget. Simply tracking your static and variable expenses, as well as your income, can potentially save you hundreds of dollars a year. As with most new habits, consistency is key. Keeping a budget is only practical when every transaction is accounted for. Otherwise, your metrics will be inaccurate and unreliable. This is why it’s so important to establish attainable benchmarks, which brings us to our next tip.
Use automatic transfers
If you find yourself with fewer dollars than you’d like in the final days approaching payday, automatic transfers are a simple way to pay yourself first and keep more money in your savings account. Most banks allow you to set up automatic transfers through their online banking portal or mobile app. Or, you can also deduct a specified amount through your employer’s payroll system. Setting aside even a small amount from each paycheck will allow you to build your savings passively, and you don’t even have to see the money leave your checking account.
Set realistic goals
While we might like to believe that the sky’s the limit, timing is also a major factor to consider when making any financial plans. It’s much more difficult to achieve goals that are out of the reasonable realm of probability. Creating a plan with realistic objectives can help motivate you to stick with your new budget by carving out small achievements along the way. With a boosted sense of confidence and encouragement, you’ll meet your economic goals in no time.
Give yourself positive reinforcement
Just like crossing milestones off your savings to-do list can fuel your drive to save more, giving yourself a pep talk can go a long way. You also have the potential to be your own best cheerleader. Debt can seem like an endless problem if you’re living paycheck to paycheck, but there are a ton of ways to break the cycle. You don’t have to hire a lawyer to improve your financial situation. Keep these tips in mind to help minimize excessive savings and give your personal finance plan a boost.