8 Best Tips to Save Money for the Long Term
In the post-coronavirus economy, U.S. households have done a better job of saving their money. For the first time since the Great Recession, Americans’ personal savings rate is in the double digits, peaking at nearly 34 percent. This signals the beginning of a fresh trend of Americans putting away more of their money.
Unfortunately, with interest rates as low as they are, consumers might get discouraged to set aside cash for a rainy day or their winter years. So, what measures should you employ to see better growth in your savings?
Here are the eight best tips to save money for the long term:
1. Automatic Savings Plan (ASP)
If you were never a great saver, trying to suddenly push yourself to sock away $25, $50, or $100 per month may be a hard habit to sustain. The best strategy is to enroll in an automatic savings plan (ASP) with your financial institution. It is both a simple and effective method of forced savings: every week or month, your bank deducts a specified amount from your checking account and transfers it to your savings.
2. Cut Back on Expenses
While the concept of sticking to a budget is simple enough, it always seems easier said than done.
From your mortgage to your utilities to your insurance to your groceries, you might not think that you have anywhere to cut. However, with a little more probing into your financial affairs, you will uncover some harsh truths. One of them is that you waste a lot of money on frivolous items.
The gym membership you never utilize, the Cadillac cable or smartphone package you rarely maximize, and the multiple subscription services you have signed up for over the last year. It may not seem like it, but the money you spend on these things add up over time and limits the amount that you can allocate towards your long-term savings plan.
Take a good hard look at your daily habits and see where you can make cost-conscious substitutions that will save you dollars and cents over time.
3. Reduce Debt ASAP
According to Experian’s 2019 Consumer Debt Study, total consumer debt in the United States is more than $14 trillion, with Americans carrying an average personal debt of approximately $90,000. And, of course, with the COVID-19 pandemic, this figure has possibly eclipsed $100,000.
Whether your debt is higher or lower, reducing your monthly debt payments is critical to help you save more over time. While interest rates are at current historic lows, they are still significant enough that you will notice the difference in your bank account. Becoming debt-free should be your top priority.
4. Open an All-In-One Checking and Investing Account
Let’s be honest: the funds lying dormant in your checking account is dead money. It is being eaten away slowly by inflation. Soon, your dollars and cents will be worth less due to currency erosion and a higher cost of living. You could always transfer it to a savings account to receive interest or buy investments, but there is also another route to take if you like the comfort of accessible money in your primary bank account.
An all-in-one checking and investing account is one of the best financial products available today. It functions as a conventional checking account, but it does two things: it automatically invests your balance into a personalized portfolio of ETFs and allows you to earn investment returns without transitioning to a separate outlet. Accessibility (liquidity) and growth, all in one place!
5. Put Your Credit Card on Ice
Unless you are excellent at credit management and maximize the rewards attached to your card, that piece of plastic might be costing you more than if you utilized cash at the store.
Credit cards carry some of the most egregious interest rates in the lending market today, even with rates at historic lows. You may get cash back or points for a vacation, but how much are you spending on interest and late payments if you carry a balance month to month?
6. Invest in Mutual Funds
Mutual funds are a great investment tool for anyone who wants to tap the financial markets without staring at the stock ticker on CNBC. A weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or quarterly purchase of units in a mutual fund of your choosing can be an effective way to save for the long-term and narrowly beat the rate of inflation. You will pay management fees since they are actively managed, but a portion of your dividend payments can cover the cost.
7. Buy Monthly Dividend ETFs
One of the best ways to continually save and stick to your savings plan is to a implement a reward.
Sure, you can be rewarded with a $100 sweater or a dinner out with the family. But an alternative would be money deposited into your bank account. How? An exchange-traded fund (ETF) that pays a monthly dividend can deliver you a financial reward to help your savings grow.
By now, you have likely realized that your savings account is paying you a pittance for your deposits. As a result, you need to turn to the market if you wish to achieve even a 2% return. An ETF is a great investment product for both growth and value. With a monthly payment, you feel more confident in your long-term savings goals.
Unsure what ETFs pay a monthly dividend? Here are a few that you can consider adding to your portfolio:
- iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF (AGG): 2.04 percent
- Global X NASDAQ 100 Covered Call ETF (QYLD): 11.53 percent
- PIMCO High Income Fund (PHK): 9.50 percent
- Invesco KBW Premium Yield Equity REIT ETF (KBWY): 11.15 percent
- First Trust Multi-Asset Diversified Income Index Fund (MDIV): 7.51 percent
Is saving fun? While it may not promise the instant gratification that comes from buying a $300 sweater or devouring those first few sips of foam on your Starbucks latte, your future self will thank you for prioritizing a long-term savings strategy.
(This article is authored by Finch Money based in USA offering an all-in-one checking and investing account)