I hear it around me every now and again, how hard it is to save money, or “I cannot afford to go,” when you invite someone out for appetizers and drink. I even hear about how hard someone is struggling financially and can’t save money towards any kind of investment or even a retirement plan. The ironic thing is these people, I am talking about are not all minimum wage workers.
Most people I hear this from are in careers like Care Aid, are LPN’s and in middle class jobs, even some people from the railways.
I found a trick that helped budging money more exciting and rewarding, which has allowed me to save a few thousand at the end of the year for whatever purpose I choose, without having to create a separate savings budget.
This has made the process of implementing a budget become fun and has allowed me to become more disciplined. It is amazing how much you can save for a fund over a course of a year that you can have towards a goal, such as an extra spending account or have to put towards an investment of some sort.
For myself, I use this yearend fund for an extra spending account so I can enjoy those times within the year above what my normal spending balance allows me to do, when expensive things come around. However, I do save money for investments and have a retirement benefits plan, and that is why I have a more restricted spending budget, so why not use this yearend account to help embrace some fun, right!
An example for how I use this fund for myself, when the carnival comes around and I may draw an extra $100 or so on top of my spending to make things better. There is an annual house lottery that costs $100 and I buy a ticket with this fund as well when I come across other things in my path.
It is great for when I see that amazing clothing article that costs $100, and am thinking, I want that but can’t afford it. Ladies!!! I can see this being something you can relate to! (A beautiful nice dress you may come across that could cost a couple hundred or so) The purpose of this fund is exactly for that, and it is a great feeling you can justify buying something, without feeling the pinch in the wallet or saying darn, I will put that in credit debt or not buying it, because the money is just not there.
This fund is not exactly meant to go out and spend it shopping as soon as Jan 1st comes along. It is a budget to help you along throughout the year to have a bit of money when you usually have to say no, or to aid in helping something is a bit less financially stressful. It is a method to help make life a little sweeter for those anomalies!
The savings method is really simple. Save the money you would have spent from a budget of some sort (Spending, groceries etc), when a discount or a method (Many are listed below) is applied and put it to a year end fund. Or save money you receive that you otherwise is not working income.
Here are a bunch of examples how I save money for a few thousands at the end of the year. It does rely on your tax return as well, and if you have other plans for that, you still can save likely over $1000.
I consider this as money that I am not earning as a pay check and I try not to think about how I am going to pay for obligations with it. I have a budget for life and my tax return is a bonus! If you are not thinking like this yet, then try and learn to plan your tax return as a bonus to use how you would like for personal reason. It may even be an extra mortgage payment or a retirement contribution.
Dividend or Points Credit Cards
I use a line of credit to hold my debt. I use reward cards to make purchases and pay them off every statement to avoid interest charges. With cash back cards I take the yearend cash from my spending budget and put it towards my year end fund.
My President Choice Master Card, I take the amount in free groceries and save the money from my grocery budget the same way. If you get something free, like movies. When you go to a movie, take the savings and from your entertainment or spending budget and save it!!!
I fuel up at the Presidents choice sponsored gas station, using my Presidents Choice Mater Card, because I get back 7 cents a liter in grocery money. I use my Canadian Tire Master Card at Canadian Tire, because I get much more returns for my purchases, than using another card. When I use my Canadian Tire Money to pay for something I am buying, I save the money from that budget! Just a tip to think about.
Grocery Savings App
My favourite is Checkout 51. I have earned over $200 in cash back from about a year or so of using it. I save this money to that goal. There are other apps like Caddle, Groupon, but by far Checkout51 is superior.
Coupons and Discounts
Any money you save using coupons and such methods, save the difference like you paid the full price! I even save the $1.75 from a free coffee I get at McDonald’s when I get 7 stickers for the free coffee.
Do You Gamble At All?
Take any winnings and save it! I saved $2700 this way above my tax return and all my savings methods! Even if you don’t profit and get a little back, save it and think of the money previously invested as entertainment value! Just stick to a proper spending budget and don’t use this as a reason to justify a gambling problem.
Change and Bottles
This can add up to a few hundred or more a year! I generally like having some cash for spending as the change is a great way to save money.
Make Your Own
Cleaning products like counter cleaner and windex! You can always make your own and convert the savings towards you goal. There are many more examples of this kind of thing and it all depends on how economic you are with your home.
There are many more ways to save I can list, but I will tell you where you can get them so I don’t write a novel here! I have also included 2 years of my savings record with it!
Having a proper budget is the key for personal financial success and it should always include an investment plan for retirement. I will now take this opportunity and say, it is much better to save for your retirement or financial prosperity as young as you can. You will be so much further ahead and will have to save much less, than if you start later and are panicking, with financial pressures. Believe me, as you become older, life can become very financially challenging at times.
If you need some kind of budget excel or numbers sheet, for Windows or Mac, you can get it free at www.AceFinancial.com from the book, The Wise Budget, Where Wealth Begins. It is all free, with a full video workshop. It also includes 2 years of the savings I added up with the book. It expands on the money saving tips! Apart from the free member area, from Ace Financial, you can find great financial resources listed like Checkout51, and if you have great app’s and contributions to share, this is what Ace Financial is all about.