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Helpful Hints How To Save Money

Dear Sugar
At the end of every month, I am always broke. Sometimes, before payday I can barely spend any money at all or I'll go right into the red. Right now I don't have any credit card debt, and I'd like to keep it that way.

I make an OK salary; it's enough to cover my rent, food and bills with a little bit left over but I can never manage to save anything for the following month. Can you offer me any advice on how to be more financially savvy? Cash Poor Cassie

To see DEARSUGAR's answer

Dear Cash Poor Cassie
Saving money isn't easy, but there are ways; some harder than others. Sometimes you don't even realize that all of the little things you are spending your money on can add up to be hefty bills at the end of the month, not to mention the year. Hopefully I can lend some perspective. Here are five helpful money saving hints for you:

  • Save Your Pennies Being penny wise will add up by year's end. Start off small and take your change from the end of each day and stick it into a piggy bank. At the end of the year, I'll bet you'll be pleasantly surprised how much you've saved. Also, try and cut back on little things that you buy each day while you are out that you can take from home or buy at the supermarket for a cheaper price. Don't buy sodas, or snacks. You can pack a snack or buy a six pack of soda and bring it with you for about 1/3rd of the cost. You'll be surprised how quickly the dollars add up.
  • Check Your Habits Do you smoke? Cigarettes can cost up to $5 a day. That's about $1,800 a year. How about designer coffee? A mocha latte can cost you another $5 a day. Do you get expensive haircuts? Do you indulge in your favorite pasttime such as shopping for clothes and beauty products too often? How about magazines? Ordering subsciptions can save you tremendous amounts off of the cover price than if you bought them at the store each month.
  • Pay With Cash Whenever Possible It's the old philosophy, "If you don't got it, don't spend it." This means, that if the money can't be taken from your checking account then don't charge it. You could wind up in debt and only having to pay large interest fees on that debt. So, whenever possible, pay with cash. Keep one credit card so you can create a credit line for yourself and so that you have something to use in case of an emergency. For everything else, use your Benjamins.
  • Create A Savings Account Invest in a low risk mutual fund, a CD (certificate of deposit) or a money market. These earn you a little bit of interest, and if need be, you can access them.
  • Tie The Knot! Of course I mean this only if you are deeply in love and feel ready to commit. Getting married can save you tons of dough on taxes and insurance. Besides that, studies show that married couples have higher median incomes than singles (the nest, fall 2006).
Join The Conversation
azucar_maddy azucar_maddy 10 years
Haha, my whole post is a jumble of extra commas and bad sentence-verb agreement. Sorry! ;)
azucar_maddy azucar_maddy 10 years
Andrea, we do that also, and it's always a nice surprise in a few months! It's best to wait at least 6 months before emptying it out so that the effect is more significant! ;) Some tips are.. lowering the cable package, especially if you are not a TV buff, canceling your land phone line (or just keeping one if you have multiples), eating out once a week or less, if you are going out for drinks, try to just do Happy Hour, always bring your lunch to work, Turn off computers, speakers, unplug laptops, before bed, maintain constant temperature inside the home, and organize your closet and drawers very well so that you always know exactly what you have. This may even lead to some fashion inpiration, as you can reinvent some outfits! Try to wash and iron some of your clothes, and dry cleaning less.
bluejeanie bluejeanie 10 years
i never carry cash, i only use my check card. most places won't let you use one unless you're making a purchase over $5 so it keeps you from making all those dinky purchases that add up.
L7amiguita L7amiguita 10 years
Oh Oh Oh! I have a great suggestion. Open up a Savings account from Citibank. You need to do this through the internet because this offer is only available if you open it online. Right now the interest rated is 5% per year. I transferred all my savings to this account and so far in the last 3 months I have earned almost $50 bucks from the interest. This is a great way to earn some extra cash. Also, I have another suggestion. Pack your lunch for work. DONT EAT OUT. This is a great way to save some extra cash. I save about $200.00 a month from bringing lunch. Its healthier too! :) Great ideas about savin your change! That really adds up...
andrea5 andrea5 10 years
Pop is right about stashing your change. My boyfriend and I made a habit for a year straight of NEVER spending our change, unless absolutely neccessary. We would plunk it into a piggy every night, and, when we dumped it out this past July, we had enough to pay for HALF of our Florida vacation in September. We had saved far over $800!!! Pocket change doesn't seem like much when you are putting in something like $2.00 a day, but the end result is pleasantly surprising!!!
SweetPeasMom SweetPeasMom 10 years
When you balance your checkbook, always round things up to the next dollar, that way you have more than you think you do as you deduct things.
la_clique la_clique 10 years
no impulse purchases, library instead of amazon, clean out your closets and sell stuff you don't want anymore and put into savings, 401k if your co offers it, But mostly, just be more mindfull of what you spend, I did this for a while and all the little things really add up!
BeachBarbie BeachBarbie 10 years
Another good tip is bring your lunch to work.
CortneyLynn CortneyLynn 10 years
I've run into the same problem recently as well. In order to keep a better handle on where my money is going, I track all expenditures in an Excel spreadsheet...and I always round up to the nearest dollar. It helps build in a little cushion. After a few months of this I was able to see exactly where my money goes most of the time...and from there I've given myself a weekly allowance for certain things, and set aside a manditory amount for savings for unexpected or bigger expenses. Working out pretty well so far!
hazel_eyes_smile hazel_eyes_smile 10 years
When all else fails, rope your friends into the saving, too. Just let them know that you're saving money, and you'd appreciate it if they'd point out when you're over-spending. Try planning a few nights in, rather than going out to have fun. Somehow it's easier to save your money if all your friends are doing it, too. And if saving doesn't work, you might want to try finding some part-time work to up the income a little. Good luck!
BlondeSugar BlondeSugar 10 years
this is so true. great advice. thanks
Midnightkiss4u09 Midnightkiss4u09 10 years
If you want to be broke, its okay. I have credit cards, but I know my limit.
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