If you are like me, you work hard for your money and you certainly don’t want to waste it. When it comes to most households and budgets, the variable expenses can sneak up on us and cause us to grit our teeth. I have found three methods to control variable expenses that keep me saving more than I spend, year after year.
1. Keep an eye out for specials
In store and out of store, there are many specials out there that you can take advantage of to save money. For example, I subscribe to Groupon as they give me daily deals that I can choose to take advantage of at rates of 50 – 80 percent below the retail price. You can’t go wrong there. I take the difference between what I would have paid and what I did pay and put that in savings.
2. Online savings
Shopping online can be a great way to save money when you know how to do it correctly. I combine Ebates with my cash rewards debit card to double my cash back. When I earn money back on my purchases, I place that into a high-yield savings account.
3. Never spend your tax refund
For most Americans, a tax refund is a welcome reprieve and many folks use their refund to go out and make major purchases. Instead of spending my refund check, I place that money directly toward my Roth IRA to max it out for the year. If the refund is large enough to not put it all in my IRA, I put the overage in my savings account.
These three money saving tips have allowed me to purchase my last car, a 2011 Hyundai Sonata in cash, as opposed to wasting thousands of dollars in finance charges over the life span of a loan. While it did take me about two and a half years to save up the required $22,000, it was well worth it, and helps me to stay away from the common debt traps that most Americans face today.
Saving money makes good fiscal sense. The more you save, the more you have for retirement, college or other expenses down the line. The next time you are tempted to finance something, take a deep breath and calculate what it will cost you in interest charges over the term of the loan. You will find on larger expenses that you are literally throwing away thousands of dollars that you could have been placing towards investments or earning interest on in savings. Join me, and live the frugal life.