Personal financial goals of spending less, paying off debt, and saving more are right up there with losing weight and eating healthy on the list of common New Year’s resolutions. It is no secret that sticking to resolutions can be tough, but there are things that you can do that will help to eliminate temptation, lower your expenses, and keep your eyes on the prize!
If you shop online chances are you have given out your email address several times…to save 10% for signing up or creating an account for quick check out, or adding your email at the time of purchase. In addition, you are asked to enter your email when you pay in stores. This leads to waking up every morning to 10-15 emails telling you ‘The Biggest Sale of the Year is Here’, ‘Time is Running Out’, or ‘Hours left to Save’. So you start deleting, but wait, this sale sounds good. I might need that; I’ll keep that one. Pretty soon you are seeing this.
You know who you are and yes this is my phone. Not only is it annoying, but it is tempting. It may start with a glance, but the next thing you know you are buying something that you didn’t know you “needed” 10 seconds ago. So here are some options to free yourself from the avalanche of promotion emails.
- Painstakingly unsubscribe from each of these emails as they come in. This entails finding the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the emails. You can’t miss it: it’s in tiny light colored font buried in a paragraph at the very bottom of the email. Now keep in mind that even though it take a nanosecond for them to add you to their email list it takes 3 business days to remove you…strange. It takes some time, but it will lighten your email load.
- Check your email provider for the option of blocking senders. This will allow you to no longer see these emails in your inbox. Now keep in mind you will need to unblock them if you want to receive an email from them in the future.
- Open a new email account and only give the new address to the people you actually want to hear from.
2. Give it time
Are you an impulse buyer? If so, join the club: 75% of Americans admit to impulse shopping. So as you can imagine, that creates over a trillion dollars of spending each year. Because of this, advertising is geared toward our tendency to buy now. Making you feel like you the need to seize the deal and if you can’t afford it, no problem. Just buy now and pay later. Buying now often leads to buyer’s remorse. The solution to this is easy…wait. Even 24 hours can have a huge impact on your thoughts about a purchase. Putting some time between you and your impulses purchases will save you more than you think!
3. Make sure the price is right
If you have had the same internet or cable provider for some time I am guessing you haven’t seen your bill going down. Instead your bill has probably been increasing over time. This can be the same with home and auto insurance. You can bring down these costs today by doing one or all of these things:
- Shop around. This is really important when it comes to auto and home insurance. Those who shop around for insurance regularly spend less on insurance than those who don’t. Find out what your insurance coverage is and compare rates for the same coverage.
- Ask for the best rate possible. Find out what new customers are getting or what the competition is offering for new customers and ask for the same. If they say no, be ready to switch. If you are in an area that doesn’t have much competition, think outside the box. Compare the cost of turning your cell phone into a hot spot verses the wireless internet you have now. I have personal experience with this one; I have not paid full price for internet in almost a decade.
- Cut the cord. I have never paid for cable for the simple reason that I can’t fathom paying for channels that I will never watch. Then came the dawn of Netflix and internet television! They make smart TVs now that have internet television, but you can also buy a unit such as a Roku, Appletv, Google chromecast, or even some Blue-ray players that have similar features. It runs off your wireless internet which you are paying for anyway so the only added cost is the unit about $30-$75. Most channels are free, but if you want to add Netflix you are looking at about $9/month. Talk about liberating!
Add these savings up and you have just made a giant step forward toward your goal!
4. Beware of Sales
BUYING SOMETHING BECAUSE IT IS ON SALE DOES NOT EQUAL SAVINGS! You are still spending money and going back to the impulse shopping thing…when you feel like you are getting a deal you tend to buy even more.
5. Make your money count
If you are paying on credit card debt, do what you can to reduce your interest rates so that you are maximizing the amount of debt you are paying with each payment. This will save you money in interest and you will watch your balance go down faster. A Debt Management Plan (DMP) typically lowers payments and/or interest rates…plus with on-time payments your debts will be paid off in 5 years or less!
Here is to crushing your financial goals in 2016!
If you want to get started on a DMP, call LSS Financial Counseling at 888.577.2227 or GET STARTED ONLINE right now. Sessions are free and confidential. Our financial counselors with work with you to create a plan to conquer your debt for good and achieve your financial goals.
Author Ashley Hagelin is a Certified Financial Counselor with LSS and she specializes in Reverse Mortgage and Foreclosure Prevention Counseling.