Let’s do a quick self-evaluation. On a scale of one to ten, how good do you consider yourself with money?
There’s a lot of different criteria that could go into your answer. If you really think hard about it and try to answer honestly, it might take some time to come to a conclusion. If we’re honest with ourselves, most of us have weaknesses when it comes to money management.
Some of us like to go out to eat a little too often. Or we have that one thing that we collect. Our hobbies and habits that we indulge in a little too much, and it adds up before we realize it.
As real estate investors, we all recognize the value in a little extra money lying around. We never know when we might need an extra cushion, and it’s always nice to have extra savings to go towards the next deal, a new renovation, or into our retirement fund.
But if our profits are maximized, where can we start to save?
Here are some key financial strategies to help you save money every week...without sacrificing your lifestyle (too much).
5 Proven Financial Strategies for Finding Extra Savings
Start Tracking All of Your Expenses (And Identify Overspending)
Expense tracking isn’t what it used to be. We don’t have to sit down and write it all down in the back of our checkbooks anymore (though you’re welcome to if you want to). There are more than enough apps and programs out there to help you automate and manage your expenses. Mint is one of the more popular apps, though there are certainly many to choose from.
In fact, we compiled a list of money management apps, some specifically designed
Tracking your expenses helps you see the money that’s really going out. It can be so easy to let eating out a few nights a week slip by. But when those few nights turn into a bill that’s over $100? It makes you pause! You’ll realize just how much you’re spending on foods, drinks, and things you just don’t really need, at least not so often.
If you’re not tracking your expenses, it’s something worth starting for the sake of your bank account.
Shop Around & Get Sweet Discounts
Discounts aren’t just for the 55 and older crowd. Get in the habit of shopping around and asking about discounts wherever you go. Many stores will match the prices of their competitors nowadays. And it’s always important to shop around! Can you get what you want cheaper somewhere else? Start looking!
It takes time to compare models, sites, stores, and sales, but it’s worth it if you can find savings. Start couponing. Grocery stories are making it easier than ever to coupon—many now let you upload their coupons directly to their rewards cards!
You can also utilize sites like Ebates that allow you to get cashback when you shop online. Using a browser extension, it notifies you when you can get a percent back while shopping. A few times a year, they’ll send you the amount you’ve earned in cashback through your online shopping. Why not?
Just get into the habit of looking and asking to find that better deal. It never, ever hurts.
Stick to Your Shopping List
How many of us walk into a store with a list and leave with twenty extra items? If we’re honest, we have trouble sticking to the list. Costco absolutley loves me and tells all of their team members to get out of the way when I start walking in because they know its going to be a good day! Even though I have a list of 3 items, I will walk out with 3 carts instead.
But it’s time to exercise some discipline. If you don’t need it—don’t buy it. It may be helpful to compose a master list across the various stores you visit regularly. And when you go, don’t stray from your list.
You’ll save so much money if you don’t add on extras!
Distinguish a Hierarchy of Wants and Needs
Straightening out your priorities helps so much when it comes to money management. Our wants often give us that instant gratification we crave. That’s why they throw a wrench into our financial plans so often. But our needs are what we need to be putting first, right?
Write down your financial goals, both long-term and short-term. Decide what you want to be working towards, and set real, tangible goals with the real numbers attached. Start deciding how you’re going to save for those goals. It will keep your eye on the prize so that you’ll be less tempted to spend on those impulse wants.
Invest in Ongoing Financial Education
One of the best things we can do for ourselves, as real estate investors or otherwise, is to invest in an ongoing financial education. Whether we’re reading books and articles or listening to podcasts, we need to be filling our minds with solid financial information and advice. Whether that’s specific to investing or just in general.
We’ve got a place to help you get started (yes, we made another list!)!
And that’s only one place to start. No matter how you like to learn, keep doing it. There’s always something more to know, a better way to manage your finances and investments, and a brighter future ahead.