Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.
3 minutes reading time (657 words)

A Few Ways That Planning Can Save Money

“Seize the day”, “Live for the moment”, and “You only live one” are feel good quotes that can mislead people into thinking only of today, not for the future. Much of today’s society is built around convenience.

Business models and technology makes it easy for you to live in the moment. For example, you don’t have to meals because you can just pick up a microwave dinner or fast food on the way home from work. You don’t h/ave to map out the route for a trip because you can rely on your phone’s GPS or in-car navigation to get you where you need to go. When it comes to your finances, however, failure to plan can get expensive.

Prepare for Annual Events

Christmas, for example, comes every year, yet people are financially unprepared for the holiday. Each year, people pull out their credit cards and charge up hundreds of dollars on gifts when they often haven’t paid the bills from the previous Christmas. If instead, we socked away $50 or $100 each month from January until November, we’d have more than enough to do our holiday shopping and avoid hundreds of dollars in interest.

This concept can apply to any major purchase, not just Christmas. If you know you’re going to purchase furniture in the next few months, start saving up for it. Or, start a savings account dedicated to your upcoming family vacation.

We’re also purchasing gifts for birthdays, weddings, and baby showers throughout the year. Keep an eye out for good deals and sale/clearance items and consider those for someone whose birthday may be approaching. You may find a great gift on sale and with less effort than if you were shopping on the day of the event.

Don’t Let Bills Catch You Off Guard

Your credit card payment and other bills are due each month. Don’t let them sneak up on you. Get in the habit of checking the calendar for upcoming due dates so you don’t have to pay a fee to expedite your payment, or worse, a late fee because you missed the due date. Monitor your checking account balance to be sure you’ll have enough money to cover the payments you have coming due.

Plan Your Meals and Shopping Trips

When you’re grocery shopping, it helps to go into the store with a clear idea of what you’re going to purchase. Make a list, but not just any list. Plan your grocery list around the meals you’re going to prepare, not just what you think you may want to eat. Your shopping will be much more targeted and you’re less likely to spend money on groceries and items you don’t need. Use this strategy for all your shopping: make a list and stick to it.

Eating out is generally more expensive than cooking your meals at home, but it’s often hard to whip up a meal if you hadn’t planned on cooking. So plan it. Think about your week (or next couple of weeks) and pick a two or three of your less hectic days and plan to cook on those days. Increase the effectiveness of your cooking, by preparing enough to have leftovers.

Combining errands and shopping trips can help you save money on gas, especially when your errands are in the same area. When you’re planning to go the grocery store, post office, hardware store, or whenever, think about what businesses you may pass on the way or what else may be in the area. Considering the items on your upcoming to-do list can keep you from having to make extra trips in the coming days.

Make Planning a Habit

Don’t get complacent. Continually think about the future – tomorrow, next week, next month, next year – and the events or changes approaching. Any time you have a chance to save money or avoid an additional fee, take it. That money can go toward something far more beneficial.
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Monday, 02 August 2021

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