Simple Money Hacks for Any Budget

We all have a story about our relationship with money. I grew up watching my mother struggle with money and eventually file for bankruptcy. I knew I didn’t want to have stress about money when I grew up and it’s why I am a financial coach. Today I want you to think about money differently using these simple money hacks for any budget.

Meal planning is a great way to save. When I sit down with a new client, I ask how much they think they spend on groceries and dining out each month. Often the number they give is significantly higher when they actually look at their bank statements. Meal planning is a great way to save money while still being able to go out to eat. Combine grocery store ads and coupons with a meal plan and you can save hundreds of dollars a year on groceries.

TIP: Comparison shop your most purchased items. In the Phoenix area, WinCo Foods is a great place for finding deals on groceries.

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Challenge your ideas about money. If you think you’re living as lean as you can when it comes to money, I encourage you to write down all of your expenses, income, and savings to get a clear picture of where you stand financially. Don’t forget cable, magazine subscriptions, gym memberships, online charges like Netflix and Hulu, and pet expenses. Identify which expenses you can cut out and which you can get at less of a cost. Then take action and start making changes.

Automate as much as possible. If you’re not a saver by nature – and most of us are not – set up automatic transfers to your savings account(s). This includes retirement savings, vacation funds, unexpected household expenses, kids’ birthdays, college savings, and gifts.

TIP: Just $50 per month adds up to $600 in a year!

The most expensive isn’t always the best. You might think that because I coach people about money that I make purchases based only on price but that’s not true. The most expensive item isn’t always the best or most needed item. Instead, I have three things on which I won’t compromise price – flexibility, quality, and customer service – and the rest I buy at a lesser price.

TIP: Pick the things on which you’re not willing to compromise and save the balance toward a financial goal like a luxury vacation or a new computer.

Assign each dollar. Whether you’re saving, spending, or investing, it’s important that each dollar you earn has an assignment. That way you know each week, month, or pay period where your money is going and you can plan ahead for unexpected expenses like vet bills or car repairs.