SALE – what an exciting word! But are you trying to save money or do you just like a bargain? If you’re not sure, ask yourself what you’re saving for. If you don’t have an answer, you may be falling into the debt traps that come with credit cards & promotional offers.
If you’re buying on credit card and can’t pay the balance in full each month, you’re going to pay way more in interest than you “saved.” According to creditcards.com, the average retail credit card interest rate hit 26.72% last year. So even if the item you bought is 26.72% off, you’re still only breaking even!
Truth is, you only save money when you don’t spend. Falling into the trap of “the more you spend, the more you save” can really devastate your finances. Always look beyond the amount you’re saving today. Consider the interest rate you’re paying – and remember, it’s not just one month. Interest compounds. That’s why your debt gets bigger over time, if you’re not paying it off. And a lot of people don’t understand deferred interest. Zero percent, same as cash, all those sound like great deals – and they are, if you can pay the money back within the promotional time frame. But if you can’t, you’ll have to pay the interest later on. Deferred means delayed. So make sure you understand what you’re paying.
We all spend on things we want; that’s why a budget is great. It gives you the freedom to put money aside, to spend however you please. But it also allows you to put aside money for the essentials, to ensure you have what you need.
If You’re Serious About Saving, Don’t Focus On Bargains!
Here are 5 ways to save without a sale:
1st – Pay Off Debt
At an average of 26.72% interest, paying off debt will save you a ton of money! Think about how much extra money you’ll have each month once that debt is gone! If you’re ready to start paying off debt, listen to last week’s podcast episode “5 Ways to Pay Off Debt Quickly.”
2nd – Raise The Rent
If your landlord raised your rent, you’d find a way to pay it, right? So pretend you got a rent increase and save the difference. This will help beef up your savings now, and you’ll get used to paying more, in case you really do get a rent increase!
3rd – Cash Back Rewards
If you’re using a credit card that offers cash back rewards, save the cash! It’s easy to squander it, but if you stash that cash in your savings account, it will add up! But beware! This can be another debt trap! The cash back rewards are typically 1-5%. How does that compare to the rate of interest you’re paying? Remember, the average interest rate is 26.72%! If you’re not paying off your balance each month, this is NOT a reward! Do the math!
4th – Max Out Your Health Savings Account (HSA)
You’re eligible for an HSA if you have a high deductible health plan, which typically means you’re paying less for your monthly premium, because you have to pay more out-of-pocket expenses before your insurance kicks in. The HSA allows you to save money, tax-free, for those out-of-pocket expenses, which can be unexpected and costly. The money rolls over; it’s not a use-it-or-lose-it. You can start saving today and start using it tomorrow, or not use it until you’re 80! And if you don’t need it for medical expenses, you can use it for anything you please, after age 65, just pay the taxes – same as a 401K.
Check out all the things you can use your HSA to pay for!
5th – Give Yourself An Allowance
Believe it or not, giving yourself an allowance CAN actually save you money! It gives you permission to spend – but only a certain amount. Decide on an amount and create an “allowance” category in your budget, then put the money in! Now you have the freedom to spend that money on anything you want, without messing up the rest of your budget. And since you don’t feel cheated out of “fun money” you’re more likely to save any “extra” money that might come your way. Now, if you get a tax refund or some other unexpected money, you can put it toward your main goal – getting out of debt, saving for a car, vacation or emergency fund.
For more saving ideas, check out my blog post “10 Surprising Ways to Save Money.”
Focus on creating a budget geared toward the lifestyle you want; you’ll be amazed at the outcome! If you need help getting started, book a free call with me! We’ll brainstorm ways to create a budget that focuses on your number one financial goal, so you can look ahead to the life you want, while still having some freedom to live the life you’re in now. If you have tips for saving money, I’d love to hear them!
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.