Saving Money and Your Bills: Tips on How to be Money Wise
I used to love going to the supermarket. But nowadays, I make my trips short and sweet. I have a list and stick to it. My trips to the supermarket made me realize that it’s getting harder and harder to stretch that dollar. With all those bills that you have to pay in a month, you really can’t do anything about it but to save.
I read once that it’s not how much you earn that ensures a comfortable and happy future; but it’s how much you save and keep saved that matters. That is why it is really important to save money especially when it comes to your monthly bills.
Some people do not just realize it but saving on their monthly bills can provide the best money-saving opportunity for them.
1. Turn off appliances and lights when not in use
The logic is basically simple. Why would you leave something turned on when nobody is going to use it? That’s definitely a bad habit.
Hence, if you really want to cut back some on your electricity bill, always turn off the lights and your appliances when not in use.
2. Use energy-saving lights
Nowadays, saving on your electricity bill is not impossible because you can opt for energy-saving devices such as lights. Using these energy-saving lights such as fluorescent lights consumes lower amounts of energy but can still give the suitable amount of illumination.
3. Always check for the leaks
Water bills can create a mountain load of pile on your monthly dues if you do not check on the things that might cause your water bill to rise higher. You can prevent this by ensuring that every pipe is free from any leaks.
Some people do not just realize that single drops from leaking pipes could mean additional costs on your water bill.
4. Be more tech-savvy
Cut your phone bill to almost half by simply being tech-savvy. That is, opt for the emails and chatting services of the Internet instead of using your phone to call long distance to your relatives and friends.
5. Try to insulate your home
Insulating your home is a definite energy-saver, money-saver scheme. You will never know how much money you can save on your electricity bill when you start to insulate your home.
Indeed, cutting some of your bills can definitely allow you to save more money. You just have to be wise on your home and everything that you have in it.
How to Save Money for Tuition Fees
As soon as their child is born, parents can start saving up for their children’s college education.
With tuition fees climbing up yearly, it is better to have a sound financial plan so that it would not be difficult for you to send your kids off to college when they grow up.
Aside from the cash that you have saved yourself, here are the top 3 sources that can help you get your kids through college:
1. Scholarship grants
2. Part-time jobs
3. Financial aids
These are good alternative sources for your children to start off on their college education.
But as a parent, you would not want to fall in those long lines for financial aid or let your child work himself to death just to have money for tuition and other expenses.
Here are some ways on how you can have a jump start at shaving off those hard-earned bucks for your child’s college education:
1. The earlier, the better.
Start investing your money as soon as your child is born.
First, put the savings or investments under your name.
Later on, decide whether you want to transfer the account to your child’s name by the time he or she turns 15. This way, you will have minimal taxes, if at all.
However, you need to be careful when transferring account names.
Some states require a total turnover of funds once your child turns 18 or 21. This is also ineffective if, in the future, you apply for financial aid.
Also remember that tuition fees 10 or 15 years from now may double or even triple the current rates.
2. Establish a trust fund for your child.
This is a very wise plan for a child’s parents or relatives to invest in.
A trust fund is similar to a time-deposit where the money will be given to your child after a certain number of years.
After the designated time, the fund may be received in one lump sum or through an installment basis.
When building up a trust fund, check out details like the interest rates, taxes and withdrawal restrictions.
All in all, you need to approximate the costs of tuition fees, dorm room, meals, books, and other expenses that may come up.
Make sure that you invest money wisely as your child grows.
By the time that there are only two or three years to go before you send your son or daughter off to college, “lock” an ample amount of the funds by investing them in low-risk bonds to ensure that you will get to have enough for them to start their college education.
Keep Them Handy: Budgeting Tools that Work
Budgeting your monthly expenses in order to get the greatest return on your income (and perhaps, even put aside some for saving!) doesn’t have to be extremely hard.
Various budgeting programs are available for use. Money management programs provide you with a usual package that allows you to enter your cash inflows and outflows, categorizes your expenditures, and at times, presents to you analysis of your spending behavior. Through these programs you can also input the various payments you have to make monthly, and subsequently track if you’ve paid your dues on time. Moreover, some programs also offer you a tax form draft that will help you make sure you’re not missing out on any dues or any deductibles, for that matter.
Another budgeting tool that you can utilize are coupons. Various stores and magazines contain coupons that you can use to get discounts on various products. Should there be a need to purchase a particular product for which you have a coupon for, you will end up saving a fraction of what you might have had to spend on a regular purchase.
Lists—whether on a piece of paper, on your cellular phone, or on your personal digital assistant (PDA) will help you keep focused on what you have to buy, and in effect, keep track of the purchases you make. A classic example is your regular grocery trip. Prior to making the trip, plan out the week’s entire menu and identify what food items and materials you need to purchase that are unavailable in your pantry. Then, make a list of other household items that you’ve run out of (or are eventually going to run out of before you can make the next trip to the grocery). Armed with these lists, you can go to the grocery and know exactly where to go and what you’re going to buy. Without these lists, you will walk idly along aisles, and will likely pick up various food items that you won’t likely need in the immediate future, or already have at home.
A filing system is perhaps one of the best budgeting tools you can have in your home. With simple, labeled file folders, you can put together your bills, your receipts, and whatever bank documents are issued to you when you save or pay. By putting together your bills, your credit card receipts, and the like, you are able to keep track of how much you owe and when your payments are due.
Effective budgeting tools are those that best address your needs as a consumer. Create your own budgeting tool or find a program to do it for you—just make sure it suits your lifestyle.