There are some mistakes you’re making with money that are almost too small to notice—but they make a big difference in the long-run. Here are a few clever tips to put your bank account in the black.
1. FIRST, AS OBVIOUS AS IT SOUNDS, DON’T PAY FOR THINGS YOU CAN GET FOR FREE.
If the library carries your guilty-pleasure magazines, don’t buy them at the grocery check-out! Same for the latest best-seller and, often, other great perks such as museum and zoo passes. Check for deals at your office and professional associations too.
2. DON’T BUY BLIND.
Compare prices at different stores and online retailers before you make a purchase, and you’ll never have to worry about finding a cheaper price after you’ve already paid.
3. WHEN YOU’RE MAKING A BUDGET, PLAN IT FOR THE YEAR.
You’ll build in a bigger cushion for emergencies since you’ll feel less sure of what might happen over the course of a year rather than a month. If those emergencies never come around, you’ll wind up with greater savings to put toward your dreams. While you’re working on that budget, take a look at how much you’re putting into your rent or mortgage. The traditional advice is to spend about a third of your total income on housing, but if you’ve got student debts, childcare, or other large expenses to consider, you might consider downsizing: that 33% might be keeping you from getting ahead in the long-term.
Jen Grogan is a freelance writer and editor based in Seattle whose passions include hiking, travel, knitting, and helping writers’ manuscripts to reach their full potential. She serves on the board of the Northwest Independent Editors Guild and can be found online at http://eight-arms.com/ or on Twitter at @EightArmsEdits.
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