(Disclaimer: Below are some tips and tricks that I have used to create a budget, control spending and plan for the future. I’m not a financial advisor. (This should be obvious.))
Dave Ramsey is bae
All of this dude’s financial advice makes perfect sense to me. If you are someone with credit card debt (and who doesn’t have even a small amount after the holidays?), Ramsey has an excellent plan for paying it off while saving to prevent a future credit usage.
First, put $1000 in savings for an emergency fund. This may take some time so do not become discouraged if this takes months or longer to do. By having these funds in savings, you’re prepared in the event of an emergent home or car repair or purchasing a big ticket item for a bridal or baby shower. If you want to save a little more to create a better cushion, do so, but it’s better to put your energy into the next step.
If you have more than one credit card, pay the minimum on your card(s) with the higher balance and contribute the most to the card with the lowest balance. This helps to build momentum which Ramsey states is key in making progress in paying down your debt.
The Envelope System
One of the reasons why I love this system is that I hate spending cash. I feel an immense sense of pride by just having cash on me. This helps control spending by allotting a specific amount of cash to different necessary (and unnecessary!) categories.
Every two weeks I put $60 in Grocery, Dining Out, Incidentals (cat food/liter, gas, toiletries) and Fun (movies, records, shows) for a total of $240. $60 goes a long way during those two weeks and helps me to become more creative when I am choosing how to spend my time socially.
I’ve been using Smarty Pig for a few years to meet my savings goals. Not only does it have one of the highest interest rates available, but it’s easy to use and let’s you create and contribute to multiple goals. If you’re saving for something big like a vacation or smaller like a special set of knives, you can create separate goals and add as little or as much as you’d like whenever you would like.
Much like Ramsey’s idea behind saving $1000 prior to paying down your credit card debt, you don’t notice the smaller deductions to your savings account and you’re also not spending money you don’t have when the time comes for that vacation or set of knives.
Honey Extension for Google Chrome
If you’re a user of Google Chrome, you need to add the Honey extension to your web browser. The extension automatically runs through every discount available while you’re checking out of whatever website you’re shopping on. This is especially useful for smaller companies and I have saved upwards of 25% from multiple websites.
This one is great if you have a lot of time on your hands. Earn Swagbucks by watching videos, taking surveys and shopping on eligible websites. Your earned Swagbucks can be redeemed for gift cards or turned in to charitable donations.
Need to get organized for 2017? I’m giving away a free, fancy planner. To enter, comment below with your favorite money management website or tips for financial success. Share!