Financial Tip of the Week: How to Get More for Your Money
You know how it goes: pay day comes and you’re feeling good about your finances, but after your mortgage, college tuition payments, grocery bills and the occasional latte, you’re wondering where that money ran off to. It used to be that "middle class" meant "comfortable." Yet today, some are finding that lifestyle is slipping away as they struggle to maintain their standard of living.
Today, the best way to maintain the lifestyle you're accustomed to is to become smarter with the money you do have.
Here are four strategies to help you maximize your money:
Budget for your specific needs. When every dollar counts, you can't afford to let anything slip through the cracks. That's where a budget comes in. Creating one – and actually using it – can help you take control of your money. Start by keeping a spending journal so you can see where your money's going. Next, subtract your fixed monthly costs (i.e. mortgage or rent, car payment, utilities, savings, etc.) from your monthly income. The remaining money is what you have left for variable expenses, such as groceries, entertainment, gas, etc. How you divide this money is up to you – the only catch is you have to stay within your budget limits.
Plan ahead to avoid ATM fees. Avoiding this extra cost is as simple as planning ahead. Paying $3 here and there may not seem like a lot, but it adds up over time. "For example, paying $3 at a non-bank ATM, four times a month adds up to $144 each year.
Find a credit card that benefits you. Look for one that rewards you for the money you spend.
Save money on everything. With a bit of advance planning and research, you can save money on everything from groceries and gas to haircuts and entertainment. Many of these savings can be found online and through mobile apps. Follow your favorite businesses via social media to learn about exclusive discounts and sales. Mobile apps can help you find the lowest prices on gas and other items you use everyday.