Garanimals Blog

Archive for the ‘savings’ tag

August 4th, 2014 at 10:10 am

Organizing Your Finances

Managing Your Finances

Wouldn’t you like to stop worrying about your finances? Making a plan and getting organized will help you understand your financial situation and lower your stress. I am constantly amazed at how many people find a budget so difficult to manage. Even people with an endless income can use a budget to manage their money and keep track of their spending and saving.

Here are some ways to get organized in the money department:

Create a budget. List all the different categories that you may spend money on. I like to get more specific but others do well with general categories. Take control of your money and assign realistic amounts to each category. Pay attention to categories that you have some control over and can use coupons or specials savings on ~ Eating out, groceries, utilities, and clothing.

Set goals for your finances.  Think about what you want to accomplish over the next year, 5 years, or even more. Set up ways to save for those goals. It is great to get the kids involved in these ideas too.  Also think about retirement and what you want to accomplish savings wise.

Set up a way to keep track of your finances. This may be done online, through spreadsheets or apps, or with pen and paper in a finance journal. Find what way works best for you.

Search online for ways to save and organize. There are tons of coupons and saving strategies available on the Internet. Most companies have some sort of loyalty program, app, or newsletter signup where you can be alerted when there are savings available. When making a big purchase, do research online to find the best price possible. Buying pre-owned or used items such as furniture, cars, etc. can cut prices significantly. Create a “savings strategy” and stick to it. I.e. Every week you clip the newspaper coupons, do an online search and print, and organize your coupons in a booklet or folder so it’s readily available when you shop. Set up an email account just for savings, and have all your newsletters and coupon emails in one place.

Make sure your family is on board. Make sure everyone is part of this process. If you are the only one trying to save money, the other family members will still make trips out to eat, keep the lights on in unused rooms, and plan extravagant vacations.  If you are all on task, more money will appear in your savings and all your financial dreams will come true!

How do you manage your money?

Pin It

May 22nd, 2012 at 9:34 am

SmartyPig – A Virtual Piggy Bank

There’s something to be said about saving up for something and buying it outright. Remember when that was the norm? Today, it’s so darn easy to just put what you want on your credit card and pay it down later. Instant gratification but at a cost: interest. And for some, a hard to pay down balance that results from a little too much, and too easy, instant gratification.

When I was growing up, my mother was a big fan of Christmas clubs and she would religiously deposit her monthly allotment into an account that enabled her to provide abundant gifts for our family of 11 on a pretty meager household income. I learned alot from that but I will admit, the old credit card has gradually replaced my willpower to save with the ease of buying it right now.

So what if you want to save up for a family vacation, a new car, want to start a slush fund and you have trouble sticking to a regular savings plan, or aren’t good at tucking away cash in a cookie jar? Well of course there’s an app for that. It’s called SmartyPig and it enables you to save for your goal using the convenience of automatic bank withdrawals. If you’ve ever done this for a 401K, automatic investment or health savings plan you know that if you never see it in your account, you really don’t ever miss it. And how great is it when the money is there when you need it?

To get started, simply go to the SmartyPig website and set up an account for yourself or if you want, your kids. Start with at least a $25 deposit and set up a recurring transfer from your checking or savings account. While you’re saving, you’re earning interest and your account is FDIC insured. When you reach your goal you can either have the amount transferred back to your bank account, or take it in the form of a retailer gift card or a prepaid debit card that incidentally, has a cash back option on its purchases.

SmartyPig also has a social media feature which allows you to post your goals on Facebook or Twitter so you can share it with your network for possible contributions from your family and friends. Not sure I’m a big fan of this, but in this era of sharing just about everything, it’s only logical that the option would exist.

For those of us who may not have the discipline to put a little bit aside regularly for that big purchase, this is a pretty convenient app. It’s easy to set up and then let SmartyPig do the work. And for added convenience, there’s an Android and iPhone app so you can monitor your account activity on your phone. I’m a big fan of taking care of routine tasks automatically, so this one is appealing. I like the name too.

Would you consider an app like this?

You can also find Paula on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter @techsmart319. Feel free to reach out if you have questions.

Pin It