How to Be Dollar-Smart

imageIt’s not much fun when you’re not able to afford something you really want. Just breaking even is okay for now but everyone wants a little extra cash for a rainy day. Here are four easy ways to start saving money and get ahead in the money game.

Pig Power

Piggybanks aren’t what they used to be. Not only do they hold your cash, they can help serve as money motivators. Choose a glass piggybank so you can see your pocket change accumulate. Or pick up a chalkboard pig so you can write your cash goals on it. Next time you’re tempted to raid it, you’ll remember your goal to save up for your spring break trip to Florida.

Bills, Bills, Bills

Keep all money for bills and necessities in a separate account. It’s easy to dip a little too much into your checking account when there seems to be just enough cash for another leather satchel. Having a separate account will allow you the freedom to spend what’s left without spending everything. Set it up so the money is automatically deposited every month so you can take that worry off your mind and spend more time with friends.

Thrift Shop

Thrift shops are not just for getting those awesome grandpa sweaters. Check out your local consignment shops to see if they’re accepting more merchandise to unload clothes, furniture and other things you don’t use anymore. Try to unload anything you haven’t often used in the last six months. Then you’ll be feeding your wallet with the extra cash and getting ready for the new things you’ll buy later.

Get in the Know

Penn State offers FIN 108, a personal finance course that teaches everything from estate planning to credit cards. Even if you’re not in the position to be thinking about 401(k)s and mortgages, it’s helpful to already have an idea for when you do get to that point. Take advantage of other classes and seminars in the area or visit a local financial advisor for advice about loans and debt.

These aren’t ways to make it rain per se but with just a little more effort, you can be a money-savvy person. Then you can be the Suze Orman in your group of friends.

Photo by Orhan Yilnaz

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