Over the last few weeks, there have been several stories in the news about the rising cost of living and the potential of interest rates also increasing in the coming year. Instead of allowing this news to worry us, there are good money managing habits that we can adopt now to try to stay ahead of the curve:
- Make a budget and stick to it: The CEIRP website and social media have posted several articles on budgeting. Be sure to check those out as a refresher.
- Make debt reduction automatic: Some of the best known personal finance experts recommend using the debt snowball technique to pay off debt. The idea is to list your debts from lowest to highest, and then set aside an amount of money each month to put towards the different items. The bulk of the money is put towards the lowest debt and then you pay only the minimum payments for the rest. As you pay off each item, more money is applied to the remaining debts until they are all paid off. To make it automatic, you can set up pre-programmed bill payments through your online banking.
- Make savings automatic: It’s possible to include savings in your debt snowball. Similar to paying your minimum owing to your debts, you can get into a good savings habit by starting with small amounts that increase over time. Just like with pre-programmed bill payments, you can set up pre-authorized transfers to a savings account.
- Make a grocery shopping list and shop the sales: There are two rules about grocery shopping: don’t shop when you’re hungry and use a list. Both rules help you save money. So does buying the sales and in bulk. Many things can be frozen and used over the year, like tomatoes, bread and meat. Consider making an easy grocery list template that you can simply print out when it’s time to get groceries.
- Make stretching your dollars fun: Challenge your family and friends to bargain-hunt and to share coupons. And if you collect grocery points, make a game out of collecting as many points as you can. But be sure that you’re not over spending just to out-do your last points amount.
- Make your lunch and coffee at home: It’s true that it does take a little more effort to plan and make weekly lunches. But not only do we save money doing this, also we eat. The same can be said by making our own coffee or tea at work. Seeing as a simple medium-sized coffee can cost $2.50 or more, it does add up to a lot over the year. Of course, it’s important to reward yourself from time to time for all your great dollar stretching efforts. So consider making pay-day your day to splurge on take-out and a large double-double.
- Track your new habits: Experts say that writing down your goals and keeping track of your progress are the best ways to ensure your success. Whether you’re using a spreadsheet or notebook, this is a sure way to achieve your money management goals in 2022.