How to Save When Owning a Home

Money is the root of many people’s stress and anxiety and it’s also the cause of many fights. But it doesn’t have to be for you. You may own a home now, but it doesn’t mean you should stop saving or that saving has to be a difficult undertaking.

Ideally you already have a robust emergency fund—this type of account is suggested by financial experts to have even before paying down ‘good’ debt such as student loans. This account is extremely important as you never know when or if that “rainy day” will come. The suggested amount to have in an emergency fund is six to nine months’ worth of income—and to be on the higher end if you own a home and have children. For instance, if you take home $3,000 a month, you should have $18,000 to $27,000 in your emergency fund. You should also consider whether it’s best to keep these funds in a regular savings account or a money market account.

Now that we’ve covered the importance of an emergency fund,let’s discuss how to keep saving—whether you are saving just to save or saving for a vacation, new car, or that fancy grill you’ve been eyeing.

Automatic deposit from primary income: If you aren’t doing this already then you should be. Automatic deposit is the easiest way to save money. Many places of employment offer this option, and if not your financial institution will. Automatically depositing money into a savings account (separate of the rest of your income) will force you to save. And if your place of employment offers this option then that money will never enter your checking account—out of sight, out of mind. If you must use your financial institution then have the automatic transfer occur on the day you are paid so the money is almost like it was never there for spending. Of course, this will be an adjustment if you are used to living off that money, especially if you just purchased a home. However, you can start small and work your way to a larger amount such as when you receive a raise or have other forms of incoming income.

Automatic transfer from checking to savings: Many financial institutions offer the ability to automatically transfer funds between your checking account and savings account each time you use your debit card. If your bank does not offer this opportunity there are apps for your phone that can easily connect to your online bank accounts and do the work for you. It’s a great way to save a small amount of money each time you swipe your card. And depending on how often you use your debit card, those savings could add up quickly. For example, you spend $25.33 at the grocery store and use your debit card to pay. Your bank (or app) will round that number up to $26.00 and transfer .67 into your account of choice. It’s too easy not to participate!

There are many other ways to be a better saver, but it’s best to start simple and small. Overwhelming yourself with how much you need/want to save and with many ways of saving, might cause the opposite to happen. Remember, you have a house to pay for and all the other expenses that come with it. Be conscious of your financial situation and be diligent with your savings strategy and you’ll be on the road to being a savings master.

Preparing For Unexpected Homeowner Expenses

Whether you call it a “rainy day fund” or a “financial cushion”, having some money set aside for emergencies or unexpected expenses can help keep life on an even keel.

Although health insurance and a homeowners’ policy can provide a measure of protection, insurance deductibles can take a large bite out of your bank account.

In addition to all the predictable expenses that accompany home ownership, mechanical systems like furnaces, hot water heaters, and air conditioning units have a way of breaking down at the most inopportune times. Another crisis that many people aren’t prepared for is the potential loss of a job. When families don’t have money set aside to weather the storm of an unplanned income loss, then there’s no “safety net” to cushion the fall.

Strategies For Saving Money

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to build up financial reserves, but it often requires self discipline, a new set of habits, and the intention to make it happen. One of the first steps to putting some money aside for a rainy day is to open up a separate bank account. If you put extra money in your regular account — or (even worse) keep it around the house — chances are it will get spent pretty quickly. However, if it’s deposited into a separate account that’s designated for emergencies, unexpected household expenses, or even a college fund, then it’ll stand a greater chance of being left alone until it’s needed. Putting money aside does take some doing, but it can contribute to your family’s financial security and ability to do things that are important to you.

If you have a tight budget, you’re probably wondering where this extra money is going to come from! Sometimes, the very act of developing a written budget can provide you with clues and ideas for reducing your expenses. You’d also be amazed at how much the savings can add up when you comparison shop, buy in bulk, use coupons, negotiate lower interest charges on your credit cards, quit smoking, car pool to work, cut back on restaurant food, and make up your mind to live just a little more frugally.

Depending on how committed you are to creating a financial cushion, you could also make the fund grow faster by depositing a percentage of Christmas bonuses, tax refunds, manufacturer rebates, salary increases (raises), and other sources of extra income. Additional ways to beef up your financial safety net could include getting a part-time job, doing freelance work, holding a garage sale, or selling unwanted items through ads or flyers. When you pay off credit cards, car loans, or other debts, you could also redirect some or all of those monthly payments into your “future needs fund.”

Whatever you decide to call it, it’s nice to know that there’s some extra money on hand for unexpected expenses, emergencies, potential job losses, college tuition, weddings, family vacations, home renovations, nursing home costs, or even retirement.

Strategies For Saving Money at the Supermarket

As you may have noticed, your family’s grocery bill accounts for a big chunk of your monthly household budget. Fortunately, there are many ways to prevent your food bill from spiraling out of control! Some money-saving strategies are obvious, such as using discount coupons and not shopping when you’re hungry, while others are not as widely known.

If you habitually buy more expensive name-brand products without having a specific reason for doing so, it might pay to experiment with generic or store-brand grocery items. When you compare the prices, the savings can really add up! In some cases, there is a noticeable difference in quality, but in countless other instances, the store-brand products are on par with the well-known name brands.

One question to ask yourself is this: “Why pay substantially more for name-brand products when all you’re really doing is helping huge corporations pay for their immense advertising budgets?” Your challenge — and this can be worth the effort — is to determine which store-brand products are comparable in quality and which ones are not worth the savings. In many cases, the difference in quality is negligible (or non existent), but the total savings from comparing prices can easily add up to $5 or $10 per shopping trip — and who amongst us would voluntarily throw away a ten-dollar bill every time we went grocery shopping!

It’s also interesting to note that many supermarkets tend to stock their more expensive products at eye level. By shifting your glance to the higher or lower shelves at the store, you can often spot money-saving bargains that would have otherwise escaped your notice. While you’re at it, it also pays to check out the expiration date on products so you don’t end up wasting money on items that have been sitting around for a while. A big frustration that we’ve all experienced is getting home and realizing that a perishable item we picked up at the grocery store expires tomorrow — or even worse, yesterday!

Here’s a money-saving tip that not everybody thinks of: If an advertised sale item has been sold out, you can often get a “rain check” issued to you, which will entitle you to the discount price — even after the sale is officially over. You may have to get it from the customer service desk or a manager, but if you’re determined to be a savvy grocery shopper, it’s worth the extra few minutes.

One of the easiest, most automatic ways to save money at the food store is to join your supermarket’s “loyalty program”. It goes by different names at different places, but once you sign up, the discounts, coupons, and special offers keep coming your way! Taking a few minutes to glance over your grocery store’s weekly newspaper insert can also point you in the direction of worthwhile savings opportunities.

Saving with Coupons – Beyond the Grocery Store

Everyone knows about coupons for everyday products we buy but did you know there are ways to save at places like the home improvement store, clothing stores and restaurants? Beyond the sales and promotions that these places have from time to time, there are websites that have extra savings waiting for you!

Many of the couponing websites have daily or weekly emails you can subscribe to that have links of the best deals on the web. From coupons to restaurants, to online offers at places like Shutterfly, there is always something waiting for you to save on. Two great emails with valuable resources are the ones from www.couponmom.com and www.coupondivas.com. Check them out!

There are variety of websites out there that can help you save on the web. www.slickdeals.net has any item you can imagine for some great prices; www.nomorerack.com has everything from clothing to jewelry to home furnishings, all at insane prices; and www.shopathome.com has coupon codes you can use for online shopping to save just like you had a coupon in store.

One of the best ways to get emails full of savings is to sign up with your favorite store’s website. You will not only be notified with the latest sale, but you will get exclusive coupon savings. Even some places, like Target, have weekly texts with coupons you can use on a variety of items, as well as coupons you can print from their website.

Finally, using your reward points from those credits cards can help cut down on costs as well. Since most awards you get get with your points take tens of thousands of points, why not redeem your points for a gift card instead? They usually start out at 2,000 points and can help you cut the cost of that new sweater or Saturday night date night.

Paying full price on purchases is not a necessity. No matter that your favorite store is, or how you like to shop, with all the options out there to save, what are you waiting for?!