One thing we all have in common, whether we’re wealthy or just scraping by, is that we want to save money. With the holidays right around the corner, many of us start thinking of ways to save during these last few months of the year. Believe it or not, four months of savings can REALLY add up.
Here are some tips for saving your hard earned cash provided by ChicagoHealers.com Practitioner Julie Murphy Casserly, CLU, ChFC, CFP®:
Make Sure a Sale is a Sale
· With back-to-school shopping season in full swing, many retailers will be promoting and advertising sales. Make sure to do price research before heading to the store. Be certain the sale really is a sale and not the store’s creative marketing strategy to encourage you to spend your money without thinking.
· “Buy one get one free” and “50% off”, will only help save money if the actual price paid is lower than what would be paid somewhere else for exactly the same product.
· Set a budget and shopping list before leaving for the store. This helps to keep the focus on buying necessities and spending within the allotted budget.
· Use Less
· In a society where consumption and waste is a huge problem, it can be difficult to keep in mind the importance of maintaining the environment.
· Consider using less shampoo when washing hair, turning the air conditioning off, or cooking in bulk and freezing the left-over’s rather than throwing them out.
· Turn off lights, the TV and the computer when not in use.
· If possible, consider walking or biking to the store or to work rather than using more gas. Each of these efforts will help save on utility bills, which leaves that extra money for savings.
· Plan Tax Savings Now
· Consider itemizing taxes and start thinking about ways to save on your 2010 tax bill now. Wait until April and it could be too late to take advantage of tax-saving maneuvers.
· Make a donation to a favorite charity. Donations made to qualified charities before the year’s end can result in some serious tax savings, and good feelings to boot.
· Check with employers to see if they offer a flexible spending account (FSA) and inquire about enrollment. Under a flexible account program, funds are taken from the paycheck on a pretax basis, which reduces taxable income. Refunds are given when the appropriate claim forms are submitted to the benefits department.
Julie Murphy Casserly, CLU, ChFC, CFP® is a 15-year veteran of the financial services industry, founder of JMC Wealth Management in Chicago and author of the award-winning book, “The Emotion Behind Money.” Julie helps people understand how their emotional attitudes and behaviors affect how they earn, spend and save. For more information, please visit http://www.juliemurphycasserly.com.