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saving money

Can Lower Income Earners Still Save?

If you’re currently working and not earning a large paycheck, retirement will possibly be one of the last things you’re thinking about at the moment. After all, it’s challenging enough just covering your daily expenses – so how on earth are you still supposed to start saving for retirement?

Believe it or not, there are a few things you can do that will help you start saving for this time of your life – despite being a low-income earner:

Saving Money should be Sacrificial

Several financial experts agree that saving money is a process that should feel as though you’re making a sacrifice of sorts. If this is not the case, they claim that you simply aren’t saving enough. Your main goal should be to save enough money that it forces you to alter your spending patterns.

Instead of going out for pizza or ordering in over the weekend, set the funds aside that you would have used for this and try making your own pizzas at home instead. In most cases, it’s the small things you do that will make the most difference in the amount of money you can save over time.

Most Individuals Spend more than they Realize

Now is the time to start making notes of every penny you spend. Did you purchase a soda at lunchtime? Coffee on the way into work? Takeout on the way home after your shift?

Make a note of every purchase and keep record over the next 30 days, and then go back through your list and mark each frivolous purchase. Afterwards, add up the highlighted purchases – this amount could very well have been put into a 401(k) or IRA instead of being frittered away.

Although doing this will cause you to forfeit a few of those ‘nice little extras,’ remember that these funds could be earning you interest over the next few years.

Look for Ways to Earn More Money

These days, there are more ways than ever to pick up a little extra income on the side. Wherever possible, see if extra shifts are available at your current place of employment. If not, consider caring for your neighbor’s children when they go out for the evening, offer to run errands for a small fee or even check with friends and family about walking their dogs to try earn that little bit extra.

If you’re crafty, consider making items to sell at a local market – or even offer music lessons if you’re good at playing a specific instrument. These might not sound like ways to make a lot of extra cash at a time, but every bit will help. Save everything over and above your regular income, and you might find that planning for retirement isn’t as impossible as you think.

Although earning low wages can make it challenging to compile a retirement plan, it’s not impossible to do so. Tracking your spending, cutting expenses wherever possible and finding ways to bring in that little bit of extra money will go a long way in helping to plan ahead for your golden years.

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Plan Ahead to Avoid Overspending this Festive Season

Various polls that were recently undertaken have revealed that the majority of Americans intend spending between $800 and $900 when purchasing Christmas gifts this year. With Christmas being the largest of the gift-giving holidays, it makes sense that more than 20% of retailer’s sales are made during November and December. 

When January rolls around, more than half of the shoppers surveyed noted that they had regrets about spending so much during December. However, this need not be the case if you plan ahead with regards to the financial side of your festive season shopping. Below are a few ways in which you can do this. 

  1. Determine how much you can Afford to Spend

Before setting foot in the mall or browsing any online shopping websites, establish a realistic budget for purchasing gifts and spending on other holiday-related products and services such as food, decorations, travel expenses if you’re visiting relatives and even gift wrap. 

Divide your budget into various categories to see whether you’ll have enough money available to pay for everything – without resorting to your credit card. If the numbers don’t add up, cuts may need to be made to some categories in your spending plan. 

  1. Establish Expectations Quickly

If your holiday budget is smaller than it has been in previous years, you’ll need to either cut down on the amount of gifts being purchased or spend less on each recipient’s gift – but it’s crucial that you make your intentions in this regard known as early as possible. For instance, if you usually purchase costly gifts for nieces and nephews, let your siblings and in-laws know that your gifts may not be as lavish as they have been in previous years. This will help prevent any ill feelings when the time comes to open gifts. 

  1. Don’t Fall Prey to Retail Tricks

Even the savviest shoppers are known to overspend during the holidays – especially when so-called special offers are being pushed at the end of every aisle. 

Although some retailers may have genuinely good offers on items you’re considering purchasing, many of them mark the items down that have been slow movers during the year. This allows them to make way for new stock when January rolls around. 

Offers such as Buy One get One Free (BOGOF), buy three and pay for two and xx% discount when spending more than a predetermined amount can all cause you to spend more than you’d initially budgeted. Always ensure that you shop with a list, and only purchase the items you’d initially intended adding to your cart in the first place. 

Once you’ve created your shopping list, ensure that you search online for any discounts or coupons that could help reduce the cost of your spending as well.

Although budgeting for the festive season can seem boring and overwhelming, you’ll be glad that you did so – especially when the New Year rolls around and you don’t have to spend the next few months paying off your Christmas debt. 


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Money Saving Apps

5 Apps that can Help you Save More Money

When it comes to saving for retirement, a number of individuals claim that they either don’t have the time to plan for this part of their lives or that they need some form of assistance to get started. If you find that you’re someone who is also putting off saving and making every excuse imaginable, you may be able to get started quickly and easily by using any one (or more) of the apps mentioned below. 

  1. Acorn

One of the main reasons why so many individuals don’t invest money is because they don’t completely understand how the process works or they feel anxious about taking that first step. 

This app works by rounding up your spending to the closest dollar and putting the leftover change into an investment of sorts. Getting started with Acorn is easy – all you have to do is link a checking account and credit card and the app will do the rest for you. Several individuals have stated that they enjoy this form of investment because it’s easy to work with and literally only a few pennies at a time are being invested. 

  1. Simple

This app comes with a fee-free debit card that is directly linked to a dedicated checking account and it has the ability to perform a range of budgeting functions on your behalf. It will subtract any incoming bills, allowing you to set various financial goals and keep you up to date regarding whether you’re on your way to achieving them or not. 

Simple also lets you know how much money you have left for investing, ensuring that you don’t end up spending funds that have been put aside for emergency use. 

  1. Stash

Stash allows you to get started on your investment journey without the need to have a lot of money available. In fact, you’re able to invest amounts of as little as $5 and a short questionnaire not only helps determine an investment-related risk level that you’re comfortable with; it provides you with various investment options to choose from at the same time. 

This app allows you to be in total control of your investment so that you can make choices that you’re comfortable with along the way. 

  1. Digit

This app links directly to your chosen bank account and you receive regular text messages about how your balance is changing. In addition, it informs you of any frivolous spending habits you have but may not realize.

Another feature of Digit is that it will provide you with realistic recommendations with regards to the amount of money you could be saving and if desired, you can even set the app up in such a way that it automatically transfers a predetermined amount of money into a dedicated savings account daily, weekly or monthly. 

If you’re brand new to investing or you would like to find out more about the options that are available to help grow your money as much as possible, speak to our team today. 

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