10 Strategies to Save Money

When you are faced with paying your bills every month, it can seem hard to think about your savings. Improving the health of your savings plan begins with small steps and a resolve to pay off your loans. Here’s a list of ways you can stretch your budget and start on the road to savings.

1. Take a Small Step
You often hear that you should save 10-15 percent of your income. But if that is not possible, remember that you can begin saving by putting away even less. Set your goals high, but begin small. Pick an amount that won’t bust your budget, even $50 to $100 a month. Each time you receive a paycheck, immediately pay yourself by adding your set amount to savings. By paying yourself first, before other bills, you will be sure that you don’t skip a chance to save by running out of funds at the end of the month.

2. Dump Those Loans
List all of your debt, including credit cards and student loans, beginning with the loans with the highest interest rates. Keep only the cards with the two lowest rates and cut up the rest. To get rid of your loans, pay extra each month on the card or loan with the highest rate. Say you have a credit card with 18% interest. Paying off that balance will give you an 18 percent return on your money, much higher than rates are on savings accounts. And paying off your car loan can translate into a large piece of your budget available for savings.

3. Shop Around
Your credit card rates don’t have to be so high. Shop around for better values on credit card rates. Consider asking your current card issuer for a lower interest rate, or a reduction of fees. Take advantage of introductory low rate offers. Just remember to make your payments on time. Card issuers will often increase your rate dramatically for even just one late payment.

4. Take Advantage of Your Employer
If you have the opportunity to contribute to a 401(k) plan at work, take it. Contribute up to the amount of the company match. This is the amount your employer kicks in when you contribute, often up to 50 cents on the dollar. This gives you an immediate 50% return on your money.

5. Be Careful at the ATM
Use your ATM withdrawals to help you budget, not to break your budget. Plan ahead and decide how much you can afford to withdraw each week. Take only that amount, and decrease it over time if you can. If you have extra money left over at the end of the week, deposit it in your savings account.

6. Make It Easy
Check to see if your employer or bank is able to set up an automatic payment plan direct to your savings account. You can arrange for as little as $50 a month to be added to your savings account, or directly deposited into a mutual fund account.

7. Check into Special Savings Rates at Your Bank

Instead of using a regular passbook savings account, consider opening a timed CD or money market account. By committing to keeping your money in the bank for as little as one month, or by keeping a minimum balance, your interest rate can be much higher than on a regular savings account.

8. Get Creative
Start your budgeting process by watching where your money goes. Spend one month accounting for all your purchases, no matter how small. You might be surprised how much you spend on certain items or services. Plan your budget and then learn ways to save money. By shopping sales, using coupons, eating out less, and curbing impulse shopping, you may find that having money left over each month to save is not so hard after all.

9. Evaluate Your Insurance
If it has been a while since you’ve shopped for term life insurance, it is worthwhile to do so again. If your premiums have increased since you first bought your policy and you are still healthy, you can usually cut your premiums by switching to another policy and taking another medical exam. Also take advantage of the stiff competition in auto insurance rates. Spend an afternoon calling around to find the best rate and go with the best deal.

10. Don’t Give Up
Everyone has set backs. There may be times when you have to dip into savings to cover unexpected expenses. But by applying these tips consistently, you will develop a regular plan of savings that you can count on over time. And don’t forget, on your road to savings, plan on consulting a financial advisor as your savings grow and grow to learn how to get the highest return on your money.


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Amarillo, TX 79109
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