2011-07-28 / Family

Tips To Save More And Spend Less

Hate tracking your finances? You’re not alone

Only 40 percent of Americans use monthly budgets and less than half have ever ordered a copy of their credit report, according to a study by Princeton Survey Research Associates International.

“Turning a blind eye when it comes to your finances is not only costly, but dangerous,” says Aaron Patzer, vice president and general manager of Intuit Personal Finance Group. “Luckily, there are easy tools and techniques that can help you track your money.”

Here are some money tips to help you save more and spend less.

To budget or not budget

Budgeting is to personal finance what dieting is to health – a dreaded word that’s often misunderstood. But just like food gives you fuel to live well, so does your money support your life by helping you meet your needs and live your dreams.

If you are budget-a-phobic, consider creating a spending plan, which can be a little more flexible than a stuffy budget. Spending plans allow you to consider how this month’s earnings can support your needs and wants.

Manage on the go

The key to budgets and spending plans is to know your numbers in real time. By tracking your daily spending, you become more conscious of your spending habits.

You can make number tracking fun by using tools you enjoy that work with your life. For example, Mint.com now offers iPhone and Android phone apps that let users get a snapshot of their finances and manage their money anytime, anywhere. Consumers can also receive alerts for suspicious activities or overdrafts right on their smartphones.

Automate savings

Whether you’re an online banking fanatic or someone who likes to balance electronic statements with paper checks, most experts advise automating your savings. It’s also helpful if you have a savings goal – whether it’s for new car, vacation, or emergency fund.

Most experts recommend stashing away 15 to 20 percent of your income into a high-yield savings account. And online banks often offer better rates than bricks-andmortar locations. By having your savings account automatically withdraw the funds, even if it’s only $50 a month, you’re more likely to stick to your savings goals.

30-day wait

Smart shoppers know the wisdom of delayed gratification. By committing to a 30- day wait before getting something you want but don’t need, you create a buffer where you can reconsider and be swayed by reason, not advertising.

For more tips on budgeting, saving and tracking your money on the go, visit www.mint.com.

Then get started on handpicking the tools and techniques that let your money work for you.

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