Shift Your Money Into Savings

Tina Haapala |

“Save more money.” You hear me and others say that all the time. But life, being what it is, often gets in the way. So how do you save already allocated money?
If you are married this is easy. Husbands, just stop buying things your wife thinks are silly. Wives, stop buying things your husband thinks are silly. Okay, the only easy part of that is typing it. Let’s not mess with an established spending truce: don’t mess with my stuff and I won’t mess with yours. Let’s find some other options.
One of the simplest ways to find extra money is during financial changes. Did you pay off a car? Use that monthly car payment for the next car’s down payment or to pay off other loans. Get a raise at work? Direct half of it to your 401(k).  Are your children moving from full-time daycare to spending most of the day at school? Shift that cost savings to a college fund. Have they graduated college? Take whatever you were spending for their scholastic needsand use it to shore up your neglected IRAs. 
Look at your budget: what do you do with categories that don’t get spent? For instance, if you were anticipating your summer water bill to go up to $150 per month, but with the restrictions you only spent $130, that $20 can be shifted to a savings category. This assumes you already have a balanced budget that doesn’t allocate more money than you take in. And, of course, this also assumes you’ve created and track your budget.
Save double when you save. Let’s say that you were planning on spending $600 on a new refrigerator. But as luck would have it the appliance store was having a sale and you saved $150. Now you can save that savings by writing yourself a check for the difference and moving that money into your emergency fund or to help with that washer that’s making funny sounds.
Cut the cable cord and save around $100-$150 per month. Don’t panic, you won’t miss your favorite shows. Buy a $50 outdoor antenna (they are about the size of a ream of paper now - not the old lightning rods) to watch regular channels for free and pay $7.99 per month for Netflix and $7.99 for Hulu (must have Internet for these, but who doesn't anymore?) to watch various television shows and movies. 
Shop your electricity rate. Go to and compare prices and terms of service. Depending on your current cost per kwh, you could save substantially.
Call everybody and ask for discounts. Contact your cable, internet, cell phone providers, even your insurance agent. Make sure you have the best deal and aren’t overpaying. 
And of course, clip those coupons! Don’t think you have the time? An employee of mine decided to measure the amount of time couponing took her recently and reported back. She spent 20 minutes with her Sunday newspaper (clipping only the coupons she would use), 10 minutes looking through her previously clipped coupons, and another 20 minutes perusing the ads to find sales, often receiving a bonus when something she had a coupon for was on sale already. For her hour of work, she saved $47.64 on her groceries. A little time and planning. That’s how you save more money.

This article was published in the Wichita Falls Times Record News