Hello, my dear readers! As we should all know by now, money doesn’t just magically appear in our pockets. As a result, it is even more important for us to learn how to manage our hard-earned money well. Here are my top 6 tips on how to be smarter with money. Let’s check them out!
Create a spending plan and a personal budget
Being aware of how you spend money is fundamental to establishing good money habits. Having a spending plan and a personal budget will ensure that you have enough money for all the things you need and want in your life.
If you already have a spending plan and a personal budget, congratulations. Stick to your budget, but don’t forget to update it once in a while to reflect your current situation.
If you don’t have a spending plan and a personal budget yet, it is now time to start one! Step one to creating a personal budget is to know your current spending habits. Subscribe to my newsletter and get a copy of the monthly expense tracker that I personally use for free!
Use a bank alternative
When we think about money, the institutions that usually comes to mind first are traditional banks. Banks know that, and, as a result, they typically charge higher fees. If you want to save on banking fees and enjoy lower interest rates, you should explore bank alternatives that are less well-known but are just as safe.
Online banks, such as First National Bank or EQ bank, and credit unions are two of the best-known alternatives to traditional banks. Online banks typically offer the lowest rates because they do not have any brick-and-mortar locations. However, precisely because of the same reason, they cannot offer much in-person interaction. Credit unions, on the other hand, typically offer better rates than traditional banks, and they are still able to offer personalized customer service supported by physical locations.
Ask your financial institution to reverse charges
This is a valuable trick that all money-conscious individuals should be aware of. If you get charged a bank fee due to an error, you can give them a call and see if they can reverse it for you. As long as you have been a good customer, the banks are usually happy to refund small charges for you. After all, they are all competing against one another, and they are incentivized to deliver satisfactory customer service experience.
Do your homework before making any major financial decisions
Whether you are thinking about moving to a different city, buying a new car, or even making a downpayment on a house, think twice! List out the pros and cons, and carefully consider all the alternatives before making a big decision.
Do your research. Get a journal and write down the pros and cons. Only spend the money when you are 100% certain that the decision you are making is the best given the circumstances.
Shop around for items to get the best deal
Of course, you should also do your homework before making any smaller but nonetheless important financial decisions. I recommend that you always shop around at least a bit to get the best deal. For example, if you are looking to purchase a better and more ergonomic desk in your household due to the current work-from-home policy, instead of running to the closest furniture store, you may want to consider shopping for it online for a less expensive but equally high-quality product. If you are thinking about going to the museums, you should check out their sites to see if they offer free passes.
Use a coupon site to gain access to more coupons and deals
There are many coupon sites and apps out there where you can score great deals on a wide variety of products. Here are some of my favourites:
Rakuten is a site that provides online coupons and deals. They have coupons across a wide variety of vendors, including pet products, groceries, clothing and accessories, and so much more. You can find coupons on sites such as Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, and more on Rakuten.
I have been using Rakuten since 2016, and have always remained a happy member!
To get a free cash bonus with your first qualifying purchase:
If you are in the US: sign up here.
If you are in Canada: sign up here!
If you are looking for fun things to do but still want to save money, Groupon is the way to go. Groupon features great daily deals on the best stuff to do, see, eat, and buy in a variety of cities across the United States and Canada. Sign up for Groupon here today to take advantage of the offers!
Honey browser extension
If you want to automate the process even further, you can try installing a browser extension like Honey. Honey helps you find and apply coupons automatically, so you can always get the best deal. You also earn cashback on every purchase! Install the Honey browser extension here and earn 500 Gold ($5 equivalent) on your first purchase!
Be clear and specific about savings goals
Are you struggling with reaching your savings goals? One area that you may have overlooked is not having a clear and specific goal in mind. Setting specific goals help guide your focus and sustain the momentum to save money. You will be less tempted to spend money elsewhere if you know that the money is going towards your further education, a dream trip, or a beautiful house.
Which ones of these tips do you find useful? Are there any other tips that work well for you? Leave a comment down below!