Whether you want to create an emergency fund, start a Roth IRA, or start putting aside a down payment for a house, you need to start saving money. While it may sound overwhelming, seeing some quick results makes it easier to stick to your goal. To help you get started, our CPA firm is sharing eight quick tips to save money fast.
Cancel Unnecessary Subscriptions and Memberships
Print out your credit card and bank statements for the past three months (you’ll need these for several of our tips) and start looking at your recurring monthly fees. Some of these, you know about, like Netflix and Barkbox, but you may have forgotten about the gym membership you don’t use anymore or missed canceling service after a promotional period. Cancel any subscriptions you’re not using or you don’t need and add up how much that is per month. Mark that to put in your savings account. You’re not using it, so you won’t miss it!
Streamline Your Streaming Services
Next, consider rotating through your streaming services to keep your monthly costs down. For example, cancel everything but Netflix, watch everything you had on your list for a month, cancel it and re-up your subscription to Hulu. Catch up on Hulu for a month, cancel, etc. The money you’re not spending on several services can go straight into savings.
Create a Realistic Budget
You’ve got your bank statement out, so it’s time to put it to work and make a budget, especially if you find yourself asking where your money goes throughout the month. Map out where your money went in the past month:
- Household expenses: mortgage, utilities, phone, streaming services
- Car expenses: Car payment, insurance, gas, maintenance
- Food: Groceries, dining out, coffee
- Entertainment: Movies, family outings
- Special occasions: Birthdays, holidays, back to school shopping, anniversary
- Health: Insurance, doctor’s visits, medication, medical bills
- Debt: Credit cards, student loans
Look for things that stand out to you and use this as a guideline for creating a budget, looking for areas where you can realistically reduce your spending. For example, if you normally spend $900 per month on groceries, you probably can’t take it down to $500 per month, but you can most likely reduce it to $800. Same with entertainment, dining out, and spending on special occasions.
Make sure in areas you reduced your budget, you move that money to savings!
Pay Yourself First
When you budget money to go into savings, move that amount to savings as soon as you get paid or have it direct deposited into your savings account before you start paying bills or spending it. Too often, people wait until the end of the month to move what’s left into savings, but there isn’t anything left over to save as it’s been nickel-and-dimed by impulse purchases. Move it to savings first, and you won’t miss it.
Sell What You Don’t Need
We all have items we’re not using – clothes, jewelry, books, and even electronics. Check out your basement and attic, dig into your closets, and look for items you can sell that you won’t miss. Whether you put them on eBay, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or have a garage sale, you’ll get a good influx of cash you can set aside and clear out some clutter.
Refinance Your Mortgage
Refinancing your mortgage can help you get a lower interest rate and remove an existing PMI (private mortgage insurance) charge both of which can reduce your payments significantly, allowing you to put that extra money in the bank. Talk to your existing lender or shop around to find out how you can reduce your monthly payment.
Check Your Phone Plan
While your smartphone is a necessity, you may be overpaying each month to get the features you need. Shop around with Sprint, Mint Mobile, or T-Mobile, all of which offer unlimited talk, text, and data for significantly less than the bigger cell phone companies. You may end up saving over $100 or more each month.
Plan Your Taxes
When was the last time you updated your W-4 or worked with a tax professional to determine how you can keep more of your paycheck in your pocket rather than sending it to the IRS? Consider sitting down with a CPA to see if you should update your W-4 so you’ll receive more money from your paycheck or if there are pre-tax withdrawals you can be taking advantage of, such as a 401k or health savings plan. These can help you build your savings quickly and reduce your tax burden at the end of the year. Additionally, an accountant can often find tax deductions and credits that can minimize your payout.
Schedule a Consultation with a Tax Professional in Raleigh or Durham Today
If you want to save money quickly, we have CPA firms in Raleigh and Durham that can help you make advantageous tax planning choices to help reduce your tax burden. To learn more, reach out to us today at (919) 493-2603 or fill out the form below to get started.