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Not Saving Enough?

Most American families understand that they should be saving more on an intellectual level but somehow they never quite make it there. According to Market Watch “Approximately 62% of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings accounts and 21% don’t even have a savings account”.  

So even though saving more money is a common goal for many people, the unfortunate reality is that many families are still not saving as much money as they would like to on a regular basis. If you are concerned about your current savings account balance, the first step is to actually seriously commit to saving more. There is an old saying which says “Nothing Changes Until You Do”.  Your savings won’t increase until YOU change the way you do things and the priority you give to savings.  Those people without any savings if they want to do something fun and the vast majority will be able to find the money to do it, so it’s not that they don’t have the money to save… it’s just not a high priority. So the first step in increasing your emergency fund, your savings account or your retirement fund is to make it a priority. Once you’ve done that you can look for places where you can save money to redirect into those savings accounts. Here are a few effective ways to save money that you may not currently be using.

Buy Consignment or Used Items When Possible

It is always best to continue to use your items, such as clothes and shoes, for as long as possible. To ensure that your items remain stylish, choose timeless pieces rather than trendy pieces. However, when the time comes to replace your older, worn out items, look for consignment or used items. Many people get rid of items after only using them a few times, and this means that they are essentially like new. However, they are available to you at a much lower price than what a new item may cost. So rather than spending $20-$50 on a new pair of pants you can spend $2-$5 at a thrift store. That means that you can reduce your clothing budget by 90%!  Of course you can’t get everything at a thrift store so…

Make Bulk Purchases of Essential Items

There are numerous items that you may purchase regularly that are considered essentials, such as soap, toilet paper, paper towels, canned vegetables and more. Some stores allow you to buy these items in bulk for a steeply discounted price. Stores like Sam’s Club, BJ’s, and Costco specialize in selling larger quantities and although they have a membership fee if you shop there even once a month you will probably save enough to cover the membership fee. Unless you buy a lot of stuff there every year, the one thing that is probably not a good idea is their upgrade where you pay extra for extra discounts.

Another idea is to make a bulk purchase online. While you will have to shell out more money up-front to buy so many of the same items, you can save money over the long run by adopting this habit.

Focus on Planned Home Maintenance Activities

A common reason why some families have trouble saving money regularly is because they have unexpected expenses, such as an urgent home repair. With some items, such as your electrical features or your HVAC unit, you may be able to schedule affordable preventive maintenance services. These may help some of your items to function more efficiently for cost savings, and they could keep many repair issues at bay for additional savings.

Drive Your Vehicle Long After the Loan Is Paid Off

Vehicle expenses are a huge part of many family budgets. You may work hard to pay off a car loan within a reasonable period of time, and your impulse may then be to trade in your vehicle for a new car. However, consider driving your paid off car for as long as reasonably possible. This vehicle may be much more cost-effective to drive in comparison to a new vehicle with high monthly loan payments. As a matter of fact, as we have said many times here at Your Family Finances once you pay off your vehicle you should take what you were paying in car payments and open a special savings account for a new vehicle. So suppose you pay off your car after 5 years. If you put the same amount aside for another 5 years you can pay cash and get an even nicer car, since you won’t be paying interest. Most cars these days should only require minor repairs during the first 10 years of their life. Things like brakes, tires, windshield wipers, etc.

You may have thought that you were doing everything possible to reduce expenses, but you can see that there are other reasonable steps that you could take to free up even more money for savings. In fact, when all of these steps are followed, you may be able to save hundreds of dollars more each month.

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