Ask an Expert - 6 Tips for Saving Money

    Ask an Expert - 6 Tips for Saving Money

    By: Amanda Christensen, Utah State University Extension associate professor

     

    America Saves Week is Feb. 26 – March 3, and with tax return season upon us, now is a great time to think about moneystashing some extra cash in savings. Don’t have a specific savings goal? How about vacation, school, retirement or emergency fund savings? It’s not as hard as it may seem, and it doesn’t require a major life change. According to the Dec. 2017 Money Magazine, many Americans are using these simple strategies to successfully cut expenses and meet savings goals: 

    1. Ditch the cable. Millions of Americans are switching to online streaming services, and for good reason. The average cable bill last year was $103 per month (Leichtman Research Group). A similar steaming package is around $40 per month, providing quite a savings.

       
    2. Switch cell phone plans. The average cost for a family of four was almost $3,000 last year. A family plan could be less than half that at around $1,200. It is definitely worth investigating.


    3. Switch credit cards. Carrying a balance on a credit card? Consider switching to a card with a 0 percent balance transfer offer to save on interest while you pay it off.


    4. Work on your credit. Increasing your credit score could directly affect the rates you're offered for new credit and will save you money down the road.

       
    5. Refinance student loans. You'll want to do some checking to see if this option can save you money. On a $90,000 parent PLUS loan with a 6.6 percent interest rate, you're paying $1,025 a month on a standard repayment plan. Refinance to a private loan at 4.5 percent and you could free up $93 a month.


    6. Skip the gym. The average monthly gym membership fee is $50. Add on specific classes, and you're paying even more. There are many fitness gurus with free videos on their YouTube channels. Stream their videos right to your smart TV, invest in some hand weights, grab a friend and follow along any time, day or night, from the comfort of your home.

    Once you’ve taken steps to cut these expenses, don’t forget to automate a savings payment.  Add up the money you would have spent and set up an automatic transfer to your savings account for that amount each month (for applicable expenses). The process of setting a savings goal, making a plan and sticking to it doesn’t require major changes, but it does require thought and effort. Be sure to reward yourself when you reach your savings goal!

    Visit www.americasaves.org for other great savings tips and resources, and take the savings pledge. Also visitwww.finance.usu.edu for more financial resources on a variety of topics and www.famfinpro.com for regular posts and money management tips.

    Published on: Feb 23, 2018

    Related Articles

    USU Extension 4-H Members to Participate in Mock Legislature

    USU Extension 4-H Members to Participate in Mock Legislature

    Utah State University Extension 4-H youth will learn first hand about the lawmaking process in a mock legislative session at the Utah State Capitol building on April 17 from 10 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. The 4-H members will present and debate current bills on the House floor of the Utah State Capitol. Youth practice the entire legislative process by studying bills prior to the event, presenting the bills in committee and passing or rejecting the bills on the House floor.

    Read More
    USU Extension Low-Water Landscaping Book Timely

    USU Extension Low-Water Landscaping Book Timely

    At a time when city officials along the Wasatch Front are already encouraging residents to cut back on water due to reduced snow and spring runoff, Utah State University Extension's "Combinations for Conservation" book offers help. The landscaping book provides examples of plant combinations that have been successful in low-water gardens throughout the Intermountain West.

    Read More
    Small Business Development Center Helps Guide Rural Utah Software Company

    Small Business Development Center Helps Guide Rural Utah Software Company

    After selling a tech company in Denver, he and his wife, Melissa, decided to semi retire by moving with their three sons to Garden City, Utah, to be near family. That was 11 years ago, and not only did his retirement not happen, but he became mayor of Garden City for two terms and started five new companies. Not exactly the life of leisure he had planned, but with his engrained entrepreneurial spirit, it was a perfect fit for him.

    Read More