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(Family Features) Saving money – it’s one of the most challenging tasks people face month after month, year after year. However, a few simple rules and free personal finance apps can make it easier for you to stay on top of your spending and saving habits.
Consider these simple steps for building up your savings and net worth:
Track Your Spending Habits
If you think you’re spending more than you should but aren’t sure exactly where to start trimming expenses, it can be a good idea to self-audit and see exactly where your money is going. There are multiple websites that can help you connect your accounts in one place and track your spending.
Use Peer Pressure to Your Advantage
Contrary to conventional wisdom, peer pressure doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. In fact, according to research conducted by the University of Chicago and the University of Maryland, peer pressure can actually help you cut back on unnecessary spending. The researchers studied the spending habits of people using a personal finance website called Status Money and found that users who learned they were spending more than their peers reduced their spending by an average of 23 percent. Find more information at statusmoney.com.
Identify Problem Areas
Maybe the newest pair of sneakers on the market have to be yours, or perhaps dining out with friends is just too tantalizing. Once you’ve compared your spending with peers, you can find out if you’re splurging a little too much. Try not to completely deprive yourself of your favorite hobbies or activities, though. See what’s a reasonable budget for you then cut back on things you can live without.
Set a (Logical) Budget
While it sounds simple to create a budget for each month’s expenses, it can actually be pretty hard. Rather than expending time and effort aiming for a goal that isn’t realistic, use online tools to help set a benchmark that’s achievable month-to-month. For example, Status Money can help you set reasonable spending limits and automatically predict your future spending to alert you before you hit or exceed your budget.
Negotiate and Change Financial Providers
Always be open to deals and financial products that are better suited to your personal situation. Switching providers or negotiating prices can often save you money. You can bargain on everything from a cable bill to purchasing a vehicle – even small savings can add up over time.
Saving money can be a challenge for people in all walks of life, but creating a plan can help you change the outlook of your financial life for the better. Visit statusmoney.com to learn how much you can save.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (woman using calculator)