With a new year it’s time for physical and financial fitness. The key to financial fitness is saving money, but this can be a challenge for many Americans. According to research from Bankrate.com and CNN less than 25 percent of Americans have enough money in their saving account to cover expenses for at least six months in case of emergencies or job loss. And worse still is that 27 percent of Americans have no savings at all.
Need help staying financially fit? Here are five key steps for saving money:
Find hidden costs
Host a family meeting and look for hidden costs in your daily life that you can cut from your family budget. Review how much the kids spend on apps and games for their cell phones and tablets. Set strict budgets to limit these expenses. Do you buy coffee each morning or go to the coke machine during the day? Consider bringing your own snacks to work in order to save money. Review your phone and cable plans and perhaps consider finding a more cost efficient plan. This may not seem like much, but you can save a lot of money by pruning these hidden costs down.
Stick to a budget
Have each person in your family keep a budget. You may want to have a weekly family meeting to discuss your budgets and help each other with cost saving ideas. Also keep an overall family budget so you can have a handle on which of your expenses are fixed costs and which are variable.
Take a course online, at a local community college or free course at a brokerage firm on finance and money. Extra financial education can help save lots of money and it’s definitely an investment in your future.
Seek advice in books, magazines and online experts. Jean Chatzky, Suze Orman, and others have lots of material out there to help you. For more one-on-one advice, consider contacting a finance professional for saving advice.
“A penny saved is a penny earned…”
Choose a financial institution to save your money. A financial advisor at any local bank can help you get educated on various saving financial instruments.
Any one of these tips can help you increase your financial fitness. But don’t stop at one – try them all! We’ve got even more tips you can read about in the “Mindful Money” section.