If you have a specific savings goal, you may want to consider a specialty savings account.

For example, you can have a specialty savings account for Christmas, health, kids, college, and more. These accounts can be great for their very specific purposes. 

 

 

What is a Specialty Savings Account? 

A specialty savings account isn’t just one account; it’s a catch-all phrase for a savings account with a specific purpose.

It’s an account that doesn’t fit into the five larger types of saving accounts - traditional, high yield, certificate of deposit, money market, and cash management.

Specialty savings accounts usually have a very specific purpose for them. They are a specific type of account for a very specific savings goal. 

 

 

What Are the Types of Specialty Savings Accounts? 

If you have children or plan to have children, there are specialty savings accounts specifically for this.

For example, there are kid’s savings accounts, custodial savings accounts, student savings accounts, and a 529 college saving account. All of these accounts are great to help your child learn to save or ways that you can save specifically for your children’s future. 

There are also other specialty savings accounts for other goals.

For example, there are:

These three examples are great to see the diversity of specialty savings accounts. So, whatever your goal is, from Christmas gifts to having money for a home, you can find an account to help you reach your goal. 

Some retirement accounts are also considered to be specialty savings accounts.

For example, a Traditional and Roth Individual Retirement Account (Also known as an IRA) are specialty savings accounts. These accounts have stipulations around them and are more of a retirement account and other savings, but it is essentially savings for a specific goal - retirement. 

 

 

What to Consider When Choosing a Specialty Savings Account?

When choosing a specialty savings account, consider your financial goals.

Do you have children?

If you do, do you want to set them up for college or for their own savings account? You may want to open a kid’s savings account or a 529.

If you are working, do you have the ability to open up an HSA, or do you want to start planning for your retirement by opening up an IRA? Look at your life and goals to see if there might be a specialty savings account that you would benefit from. 

Once you know what account you want, research the different banks that offer these accounts. Then, just like other accounts, find an account with a low or no minimum balance required and low or no maintained fees.

Also, find out what withdrawals look like for this account and any other special considerations. 

 

Pros 

A specialty savings account is great if you have a specific financial goal or person you plan to save money for. They are very specific, so you know exactly what this money will be used for in the future. 

Like other savings accounts, your money will earn interest in a specialty account. This is a safe place to save your money. Most specialty savings accounts have low or no monthly mainlanders fees, which is always a plus. 

 

Cons

Some specialty savings accounts, like IRA’s, HSA’s, and 529’s, have very strict withdrawal rules. These accounts can only be used for specific things and may not allow you to withdraw until a certain age or for a specific use. Make sure you know the rules of these accounts before opening one up. 

While specialty savings accounts do earn some interest, they are not the highest interest-bearing accounts you can get. A high-yield savings account will have one of the higher interest rates. If interest isn’t a huge issue for you, then specialty savings may be a good option. 

Specialty savings accounts can also have restrictions on who can open these accounts. Do your research on this. For a Roth IRA, you cannot make over a certain income. For an HSA, you need high deductible insurance to have this account. 

 

 

Final Thoughts 

A specialty savings account is a great option if you have specific financial goals that need a special savings account. There are accounts for children, health, retirement, and even Christmas savings. Each account is unique and can help you reach your goals. However, since they are unique, each account has different rules regarding who can open this account and how you can withdraw your money; always do research before opening an account.

When you start earning income, one piece of advice you will constantly come across in your career journey is saving/investing towards a goal.

This could be down payment for a house, your kid's college, retirement or a business. 

There are a plethora of options that you can explore to grow your retirement fund rather, than just stashing your cash in a savings account. 

Investing in target-date funds is a low-risk strategy to growing and compounding your savings towards a goal.

In this article, we take a deep dive into what target-date funds are, including their pros and cons so that you can make an informed decision that would suit your retirement goals.

 

 

What is a Target-date Fund?

Also referred to as life-cycle funds, target-date funds are a set-it-and-forget approach to investing towards a 'target'. 

This investment vehicle offers a structured long-term investment growth over a set period towards a target date.

Though it is usually associated with retirement investing, it can also be used if you want to meet a financial goal within a time frame.

Keeping your target date in focus, the funds automatically rebalances your portfolio with the right mix of stocks, bonds, and money market accounts.

Early in your investment journey, a target-date fund focuses on growth, by having a much larger slice of your portfolio in risk assets like stocks that have high growth potential. As you approach your proposed target date, the fund gradually adjusts your portfolio to safer assets like bonds, mutual funds, etc. 

The premise of target-date funds is to take on higher risk when your date is far off, then take a conservative approach as you get closer to the target date.

As such, target-date funds try to find a balance between the risk necessary to build wealth and safer bets to protect a growing nest egg. 

 

Example of a Target-date Fund

Let's say your kids will be going to college in 10 years, and you want to start investing towards it.

This ensures that your funds grow over time while adjusting the risk to protect your portfolio. This adjustment from risk assets to relatively safer ones is known as a glide path.

 

 

Why Invest in Target-date Funds?

What makes target-date funds appealing is their hands-off approach and simplicity.

When you invest in a target-date fund, you do not need to worry about how to constantly adjust your portfolio, or find the right mix of assets. This plug-and-play method to investing is suitable if you do not have the necessary financial know-how to choose the right investment, or the time to conduct the research. 

It also prevents you from the emotional reactions that come with investing, especially when the market is volatile.

Most investors lose money because they can't control their emotions or reactions to market swings. This forces them to make knee-jerk reactions and chase markets, leading to losses. Target-date funds, on the other hand, take away the emotional pressures that usually accompany twist and turns.

Target date funds offer you a diversified portfolio which helps in managing risk. Spreading your investment across assets enables you to hedge against market cycles and downfalls. 

 

 

Why You May Not Want to Invest in Target-date Funds

Expensive.

Some target-date funds are more expensive than other options. Management fees could eat deep into your returns, thus making them a bad investment choice. 

Since each is a fund of funds, the portfolio you buy into consists of multiple underlying mutual funds, each of which has an expense ratio.

For example, a fund manager may charge 0.31% of assets under management (AUM) while another may charge twice or three times as much. As such, it is important to keep management fees in perspective when you are considering target-date funds to choose from. 

 

All funds are not the same.

You would think that all target-date funds have the same weightings.

However, this is not so. The holdings, as well as the weighing of each target fund, are different.  These different compositions have implications for your portfolio returns. 

 

May not be suited to your needs.

Also, you may find that the fund does not suit your needs. You may want more exposure to stocks and bonds, but the constituents of the fund may be different from what you have in mind. 

 

Underlying funds offered by the same fund manager.

Another factor to consider when investing in target-date funds is that the underlying funds are also offered by the same fund company. 

For example, when you buy a Vanguard target-date fund, your portfolio would be made of other Vanguard funds. The same goes for other fund managers.

This means you are trusting all of your investment to a single fund manager. Given the rising incidences of corporate scandals, you could be taking a huge risk investing with a single fund manager. 

 

 

How Target-date Funds Work

Target-date funds may be a quick-meal approach to portfolio management, but recipes and ingredients can vary widely across your menu of offerings.

An important question to ask when choosing among target-date funds:

The philosophy of “through” funds is that life (hopefully) doesn’t stop at retirement. You still may have 20 years or more of living expenses, and the glide path toward safer investments should reflect that.

Different “through” target-date funds may extend the glide path 10, 15, or 20 years past retirement, so choose one that’s right for your retirement goals.

 

 

How to Invest in Target-date Funds

401(k)

Target-date funds are the default choice for a 401(k).

So if you have a 401(k) and have never changed what's in it, there’s a good chance you already have a target-date fund without even knowing it. 

 

Brokerage account

Another way is to open a brokerage account with a fund manager or an online broker.

The minimum initial investment needed to open a brokerage account varies by fund manager. You have to keep in mind expense ratios.

 

Know the fund's holdings

Comparing funds' holdings to see if they are suited to your investment goals.

If you are a conservative, you would want a target-date fund that has low-risk assets like bond funds and mutual funds in its holdings. 

Another important point to note is that no two funds are the same, even though they may have the same target dates. The differences depend on the asset-allocation strategy of the fund manager.

 

Don't set and forget

While the set-and-forget nature of target-date funds is a key feature, it is important that you keep tabs on the fund’s performance to ensure it is still on track to achieving your pre-defined investment goals.

You can do a quarterly, bi-annual, or annual check-up on your target-date portfolio. You must keep in mind that all investments carry risks, and target-date funds are no exception. So while you may set and forget, it is important to do regular check-ups.

Photo by Enikő Tóth

If you are looking for a savings account that gives you some of the highest interest rates, you might want to consider a high yield savings account.

This savings account can give you some of the best interest rates for a savings account with low to no fees, no minimum required to open, and 24/7 online support. 

 

 

What is a High Yield Savings Account? 

A high yield savings account is similar to a savings account, except it pays a higher interest rate.

A high yield savings account will pay about 20-25 higher interest rates compared to a traditional savings account

High yield savings accounts are typically with online banks. Online banks have lower expenses since they don't have to pay bills associated with a physical location. Because of their lower expenses, they can give higher interest rates. 

 

 

Pros of High Yield Savings Accounts

The most obvious positive about a high yield savings account is that they have some of the highest interest rates for this type of account.

So not only will your money be safe in this account, but it will grow slightly more than in a traditional savings account. 

Most high yield savings accounts do not have a minimum requirement to open an account or monthly maintain employer fees. This allows for the barrier of entry to be much easier for people who are just starting to save money.

However, it can be a huge deterrent for people who want to start to save but don't have enough money to open a traditional savings account. Not having fees is also important since you can keep more of your money and have a good account. 

 

 

Cons of High Yield Savings Accounts

One of the biggest drawbacks of a high yield savings account is that the interest rate paid on your savings can fluctuate often.

For example, some banks have gone from 2.2% interest to 0.5% very quickly. Of course, this all reflects on the current rates set, but there can be a high fluctuation of interest rates. 

Since most high yield savings accounts are mostly through online banks, it can make banking more challenging if you need liquid cash quickly.

You will need to either use an ATM (where fees would be waived) or transfer from your high yield account to your checking account, then go to your physical bank to withdraw your cash.

If you don't want to wait for that transfer, you can go to an ATM, but sometimes it can be challenging to find which ATM is in your approved list of waived fee options. 

Lastly, if you want to have all of your banking needs in one spot, you may not be able to have a high yield savings account with a bank you are currently using.

Likewise, if you want to only work with one bank, you may not be able to have a high yield savings account, or you will have to have two banks. 

 

 

Picking a High Yield Savings Account

If you are looking to open a high yield savings account, there are a few things to consider when choosing the right bank for you.

1. Always consider fees, initial deposit, interest rates, withdrawal limits, and app/website. 

2. Find an account that has no initial deposit requirements or a low initial deposit requirement.

This will ensure that you can open this account with any amount that you have, even just $1.

3. Look into any fees this account may have just for saving money with this bank.

Most high yield savings accounts will have no fees, but confirm that there are none. If there are fees, ask how these can be waived. You may be able to have the fees waived if you have a certain amount in this account or if you are a student. 

4. Ensure that you are getting the highest interest rate possible when opening up a high yield savings account.

This will ensure that you can get the most out of this type of account. You may have to go online and find each bank's interest rates to compare. 

5. Do your research on withdrawal limits as well.

This can really impact how you use this account. Like a traditional savings account, a high yield savings account will have a withdrawal limit. Most are six withdrawals a month, and if you go over, there will be a penalty.

If you anticipate you will need more withdrawal limits, find a bank that has more. Ideally, you should be planning your withdrawals to make sure you are within their limits. 

You will also want to ensure their mobile website and app perform how you want them to since most high yield savings accounts are with online-only banks.

If you cannot physically go into this bank, you want to ensure all of your banking needs are met with the app and website. 

Always make sure the bank you use is FDIC insured because this will protect your money. Even online banks are FDIC insured, so don't worry about a fully digital bank losing your money.

 

 

Wrap Up 

When it comes to saving money, there are a lot of things to consider.

Choosing the right type of savings account and bank are important decisions to make to help you reach your financial goals.

If you want to keep your money in a safe, accessible place with a higher interest rate, then a high yield savings account could be the right option for you.

Photo by Dziana Hasanbekava

Libraries are a frugal person's happy place. You can use free Wifi, browse for a book, and take it home for free! You just have to make sure you bring back that book, so someone else can use it.

Libraries are more than just a place for physical books. You can download ebooks straight to your Kindle for free. You can download an audiobook on your phone for free. 

 

The Physical Library 

It wouldn't be fair to talk about the library without talking about the physical space itself.

Libraries are filled with amazing technology and spaces. You can find automated checkout machines and a conveyor belt to return books. They have spaces that you can reserve for small or large meetings to use for free. Libraries also have a huge collection of kid's books, teen books, adult fiction novels, and nonfiction books.

You can find CDs and DVDs at libraries too. Some of your favorite movies can be found at the library to check out. You can attend the library's story times, teen activities, and writing support groups.

Some libraries even have laptop checkout machines to rent a laptop! If you haven't been to a library since you were a kid, you'll be surprised by how much has changed. Not to mention, the current trend is to go "fine free," so you don't have to pay a fine for a late return, but you still have to pay for the book if you don't bring it back. 

 

 

Ebooks and Audiobooks 

Most library systems have some sort of online library.

Here you can find databases and another fun website. One of the best parts of the online library is the ebook and audiobook rentals. Two major apps to find and download books to your phone are Hoopla and Libby.

Some library systems have both, and some just have one. Many popular and classic books can be downloaded to your Kindle and phone to read or listen to. In addition, the public library has expanded its borrowing capabilities beyond its physical walls. 

Audiobooks and ebooks can be very costly. Most books are $30 a book. If you are reading or listening to books once a week, that is $1,560 a year on books. Most readers are always buying books to put on their "to read" shelf, but with the downloadable books, you can add these to a list and rent when you are ready to read. 

 

 

Branches and Inter-Library Loan 

If you are looking for a book at your home branch library and they do not have a copy, you can see if another branch in the system has it.

You can request for books to be sent from one branch to your home branch for you to pick up. If a system does not have a book, your library system may be part of Inter-Library Loan, ILL, which gives you access to books across the US and even the world!

Some branches charge $1 to get the book. If you are a university student, you may have ILL included in your tuition! 

 

 

Save Money on Required Reading for School 

If you have a student in school or are a college student, check your local library for required reading or textbooks.

Most public libraries will have classic books that students read. Colleges libraries have programs where you can rent textbooks for a few hours, and some you can even check out long-term. This really helps reduce the costs of school materials. 

 

 

Final Thoughts 

A library is a great place and has so many things to offer its users!

It can help reduce your spending on books and gives you access to a vast system of books, databases, classes, and more. It should be the first place you look for anything educational because, most likely, a library will have it.

Photo by Ksenia Chernaya

 

What are the financial problems that affect most people today?

Fortunately, Bankrate conducted a study asking almost this exact question. The study delved into the relationship people manage between their finances and their mental health. Specifically, respondents gave answers on a list of issues that “cause a negative impact on [their] mental health.”

The results are interesting but mostly unsurprising. In this article, we will go over the financial difficulties that concern the most people. We will then go over how each of these financial problems can be mitigated or tackled.

 

 

People are Struggling With These 8 Financial Problems 

1. Insufficient savings - 57%

Insufficient emergency savings came in as the most widely experienced financial difficulty that people have.

The fear of being unprepared for an emergency is widespread, and this problem has been well-known for some time now. We’ve covered the issue of emergency savings here before.

In addition, we’ve often cited the infamous Fed poll that revealed how 40% of Americans don’t have $400 saved for an emergency. This figure has been fairly consistent since 2017.

Emergency savings is a critical area of finance that should typically be handled before moving on to long-term investments or other financial goals.

But the reality is that many people are living paycheck to paycheck due to high costs of living, bad budgeting, or both. When a serious emergency strikes, you don’t want to incur the fees associated with early withdrawals from retirement accounts or end up selling a car or a house.

As with many financial challenges, the only remedy is budgeting. Building an emergency fund requires stricter budgeting until you’ve saved up enough to cease working for at least 3 months.

 

2. Unable to afford everyday expenses - 56%

If you’re having trouble keeping up with your bills and regular, necessary expenses, you are in good company.

The majority of Americans share this challenge with you.

Being unable to afford everyday expenses puts you in a dangerous situation. You run the risk of entering a debt spiral or needing to pawn/sell your belongings just to make it by.

There are a few ways you can try to get your finances back in order. One extreme option would be personal zero-based budgeting. You can and should also take advantage of other budgeting strategies to reduce your spending as well. The US Government would recommend that you:

 

3. Being in debt - 48%

This situation that affects almost half of Americans is similar in nature to simply being unable to afford everyday expenses.

However, it’s a more serious and developed version of the same problem. Too much debt also becomes dangerous, stretching your budget and causing your overall financial situation to deteriorate.

There are some resources from non-profits that you can take advantage of, such as free consultation. However, you can always start with some personal steps, such as a new debt reduction plan.

 

4. Not enough discretionary spending – 46%

“Discretionary spending” refers to money that you can spend at your own discretion.

It’s your “entertainment money”, and you can spend it whenever and on whatever you like.

This problem is just one step above not being able to afford everyday expenses. Some people can afford what they need, but don’t seem to have anything left over to spend on what they want, but don’t need. That means no costly hobbies, no vacations, no nights out, and no guilty pleasures.

Again, the only remedy to this problem is a serious change to your budget. Either your income must rise or your expenses in other areas must drop.

Because this isn’t your top financial priority, that can be hard. Sometimes, downsizing may be the solution. Moving to a less expensive apartment, for example, may free up some money that you can then spend frivolously, so you can live a little and not just be scraping by.

 

5. Being unprepared for retirement - 39%

Many people are unprepared for retirement.

With the costs of basic living going up so fast, it’s understandable that 39% of Americans may not be able to prioritize long-term savings.

Most of the remedies for this problem are the same as the remedies for other personal financial challenges. Read our article on the topic here.

 

6. Paying for housing - 38%

Property values are at an all-time high and have been rising especially quickly during the last few years.

At the same time, rent prices have risen similarly. Overall, housing now takes up a much larger portion of peoples’ personal budgets.

This isn’t a problem that can be easily avoided. Renters can perhaps downgrade their lifestyles and move to a cheaper rental. Homeowners can similarly sell their current houses and use the proceeds to buy a cheaper one, using the difference for other expenses. There are also FHA loans for homeowners.

 

7. Not having a stable income - 33%

About one-third of Americans report challenges that arise from having an unstable income.

The “gig economy” encompasses a larger share of US workers than in the past. Likewise, many jobs are seasonal, or perhaps hours worked will shift season by season.

If this general situation describes you, read our article on budgeting while living on an unstable income.

 

8. Investments - 17%

Well, we’ve gone through every major financial problem that over 1 in 5 Americans suffers with.

With all of those problems bogging so many people down, it’s likely no surprise that 17% cannot set aside enough money for their investments.

Not investing is not the most serious financial commitment to forgo, at least in the short term while you’re young. But failing to invest long-term can jeopardize your retirement comfort and your overall quality of life in the future.

 

 

Conclusions

These are the financial problems that most people reported having when taking the Bankrate survey.

As you can see, most of them follow a logical progression. Basic personal financial management can fall apart and get progressively worse. However, there are almost always changes you can make to make your situation at least slightly better.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska

Emergencies are bound to happen. Avoiding emergencies is hard, but you can prepare for them to the best of your abilities.

Most emergencies have some type of financial impact, from breaking your arm and paying the ER fee or needing to repair your roof due to a leak. Emergencies can be emotionally and physically draining, but they can also hurt your current finances if you don't have any savings to pay for them.

An emergency fund can help prevent a financial burden on top of everything else you have to do during an emergency. 

 

 

What is an Emergency Fund? 

An emergency fund is exactly what it sounds like - it's an amount of money you have saved for an emergency.

It can be used for several things, from covering the cost of rent, food, and transportation if you've lost your job to cover the cost of something you were not expecting.

Typically, an emergency fund is about three to six months of your monthly expenses. If you track your spending and know your Cost of Living number, then you should know exactly how much you'll need for your fund.  

 

 

Why do you need an Emergency Fund?

Having an emergency fund is crucial to having financial security.

Most financial experts will tell you to have one, but understanding why you need one can help motivate you to save three to six months of your monthly expenses. Some reasons may be extreme, such as a medical emergency, but other reasons are so that you can feel at peace knowing you have some money set aside. 

The most important reason to have an emergency fund is if you lose your job. If you don't have one, you may be unable to afford your essential monthly expenses.

In addition, having an emergency fund will be less stressful during this already stressful time. You can focus on finding a new job while knowing that your housing, food, and transportation needs are covered. 

An emergency fund can also help you stay out of debt. It can be used for any reason you need to pay for something that you cannot afford with your regular budget. Of course, you shouldn't dip into your fund for all purchases, but it can assist in staying out of debt. 

Emergency funds are also great to use as a rainy day fund if you have an emergency expense, repair, or medical emergency come up. These things can be costly, and it's good to know that if something happens, you can cover most or all of the expenses. However, things happen, and it's good to prepare for them. 

 

 

How much do you need in your Emergency Fund?

What stops many people from starting an emergency fund is that it can be challenging to know how much you need in an emergency fund. Knowing that you need about three to six months is a start, but knowing if you need three or six months is the challenging part. 

The first thing you need to know when calculating how much you need to save is to understand your current financial situation.

Next, you need to:

Doing these three things will allow you to know exactly how much you would need for a one-month emergency fund. 

Next, evaluate your family status and level of risk.

Every household will be different, but there are some general rules.

If you are single or have a one-income household, it is best to save six months of expenses for an emergency fund. Should you lose your job, you are at a higher risk and do not have additional financial support.

If you have a family with two incomes, save three months of expenses towards your emergency fund. With two incomes, you have more financial support if you lose your job. The one income should be able to support your life. 

You also need to decide if you have certain risks that may require you to tap into your emergency fund.

These risks can be owning a home. For example, you won't have to pay for household repairs if you rent a house. On the other hand, if you own a home, you will have to pay for all repairs and upgrades. You may want an extra month or two if you can anticipate specific emergencies that may occur one day. 

Finally, plan how you will save up for your emergency fund.

You may decide to cut back on spending in certain areas and use that money towards your emergency fund. You may add this to a line of your budget until you finish building your fund.

It's essential to make sure that you replenish your fund if you use it. 

 

 

Final Thoughts

Emergency funds are more than a suggestion; they are crucial if you want to have financial security.

While saving three to six months of your expenses may seem like a significant amount of money, it can help you from going into debt, paying off emergency medical expenses, or covering your household spending while you are searching for a new job.

It’s up to you how much you want your fund to be, but consider your household, income, and level of risks to determine how much to save. Then, start saving money monthly and putting it into your savings account for those rainy days. 

Photo by Karolina Grabowska

Groceries are one of the most expensive monthly expenses in American households, after housing and transportation.

And rightfully so! Food is, of course, a requirement for survival. However, even after brief periods of severe inflation, the average cost of most grocery goods has fallen over time when compared to average household income.

Even yet, the amount we spend on groceries at the local supermarket is difficult to take. 

The average American only goes to the grocery store once or twice a week. However, in this critical time characterized by high food prices, it is crucial to optimize your budget. Here are some grocery shopping suggestions to help you save money.

Related: Shrinkflation: What is It, 3 Reasons it Happens & 4 Ways to Beat it

 

 

9 Ways to Help You Keep Your Grocery Budget Low

1. Use a list.

If you have a shopping list with you, you will save a lot of money on your grocery budget.

It is critical to keep to the list and ensure that you have purchased everything on it. This will keep you from making impulse purchases and will save you from having to return to the store because you forgot something.

A trip to the store to get something you forgot generally results in the purchase of other products you don't require. 

A list can save you a lot of money and time. You can use paper and pen, or checklist apps like Trello, that are expressly designed for grocery shopping lists. Regardless, have your list ready and handy when you need it.

 

2. Plan your menus.

You may take advantage of promotions and bulk buying opportunities if you plan your dinners a week or a month in advance.

It will also keep you from going out to eat. You might find that you can prepare food and freeze the rest for later. On days when you don't feel like cooking, this will come in handy.

You can also organize your menus around your store's weekly circular, which will allow you to maximize the sale pricing. You can buy menu plans online if you don't want to plan your menu. Many of the programs are only $5.00 per month, but they will save you a lot of money at the grocery store.

 

3. Use coupons.

Coupons can help you save a significant amount of money on your grocery budget.

The simplest method to do this is to match the coupons to the things that are on sale. If you're diligent and only buy what you'll need and use, you can save a lot of money at the grocery store.

 

4. Switch brands.

Switching to store-brand items or purchasing the brand that is on sale might save you a lot of money.

You could be shocked by the quality of store-brand merchandise. Many of the items are manufactured and packaged in the same facilities and plants as major brands. Because the stores do not have huge advertising costs, they can pass the savings on to you.

 

5. Do bulk purchases.

Stores would be delighted to offer a discount to anyone purchasing in bulk.

It makes sense to buy in bulk if the savings are true as you utilize the product in your home, storing it so it doesn't go bad.

Otherwise, stay away from bulk purchases made solely for the sake of getting a good bargain. If you do not consume a lot of cereal, bulk purchasing will result in you spending money on something that will likely remain on your shelf until it goes bad or expires.

Most packaged and bagged things should be stored in cold, dark settings at home to extend the product's life. Freeze items like brown bananas (For baking), bread, butter, cookies, flour, grapes (They make a great snack), herbs, spices, nuts, and onions.

 

6. Pay with cash.

Carrying a certain amount of cash and just using it to buy groceries is the greatest approach to limit your spending.

You will not be able to spend more than your budget in this manner.

Many people are surprised to learn that whether they use a credit card, debit card, or prepaid card, they will overspend equally. When you buy something using plastic, you usually wind up overspending by 10% to 50%.

When you pay with cash, you must prioritize the foods you require rather than impulsively purchasing sweets, snacks, and other non-essential items.

This way, you come home with the stuff you intended to buy rather than the items you couldn't resist, which are normally available at the checkout counter or the snack counter. 

 

7. Avoid pre-prepped fruits and vegetables.

Stores would love to do all the hard work for you like cleaning up the salad leaves, chopping the veggies, peeling the fruits, and prepping it up for you.

Be aware, though, that there is a considerable cost behind it. The preparation of meals in delis, bakeries, and meat departments is where most grocery shops make their money.

Buying whole fruits and vegetables and preparing them at home when you need them may take a little longer, but it can help you save a lot of money on your monthly grocery bill. Skip the grocery store's pre-prepared areas.

 

8. Keep track of not only your expenses but also your time.

When you go grocery shopping, you are depleting a valuable and finite resource.

Aside from money, you must correctly arrange your time. Make a plan to spend a certain amount of time in the store and figure out how much you'll be charged for the items in your cart.

Unsurprisingly, the longer you stay at the grocery store, the more money you'll spend at the register. While you don't have to sprint through the aisles, don't expect to stroll or, worse, aimlessly across the aisles.

You might even set an alarm on your phone or watch to remind you to stay on track. You will become more sensitive to your spending and time management if you keep track of your expenses and time.

 

9. Keep the kids at home if you can.

When you take your kids to the grocery store, you'll immediately notice that your cart or basket is filled with items that they picked up in the aisles.

While you may want to be a good parent and get your children everything they desire, this will rapidly exceed your budget (and likely spoil your children).

Think about hiring a babysitter for an hour or two. The money you save on groceries usually more than covers the expense of the babysitter, plus you enjoy some peace while browsing the aisles.

 

 

Keeping Your Grocery Budget Low

Even these tiny grocery budget saving techniques can add up to significant savings in the long term.

Your savings may not seem significant, but when taken together, they can make a significant difference in your budget. Make it a habit to organize your grocery shopping, your budget, and your time. It will assist you in being a more conscious shopper the next time you go shopping.

Photo by Ivan Samkov

Looking to boost your savings? How much should you really have?

Experian released a guide to how much individuals should have in savings by certain ages.

To start, they suggest that you should have your exact annual salary saved when you hit 30. So, if you make $60,000 per year, you should have $60,000 in your savings account on your 30th birthday.

Of course, life throws all sorts of surprises at us. Even without any nasty surprises, savings often have to take a back seat to basic expenses, most of which have been rising quickly recently, outpacing inflation and average income changes.

Regardless of why you may not have the savings you feel you should at your age, it’s always important to reassess your finances and work with what you have. So, in this article, we will simply go over what you can do to boost your savings at certain ages if you have none.

 

 

No Savings at 30

There’s no point making a lecture out of any of the situations we are going over, starting with having no savings at 30.

Lots of people don’t have any money leftover in their 20s, and while 30 begins with a “3”, it isn’t a magical number that changes the reality of most young adults.

Entry-level salaries are normally low, and it’s normal to have less in the way of savings potential at 30. If you haven’t saved anything yet, there are a few things that finance experts broadly agree you should do:

As you earn more, all of the above will naturally become easier. But for now, you’re less than 20% of the way through the average American’s life as an adult and have relatively little to panic over.

 

 

No Savings at 40

It’s not time to go into a complete panic yet, but it’s time to become more prudent.

At 40, having no savings can be nerve-wracking, but there’s still plenty of time. If you have been working for the last 20 years, you’re likely starting to reach your lifetime peak income as well. In this case, view your 40s as a second chance or a new opportunity. You still have 27 years left to retirement…

If you haven’t, you should immediately create a budget. You need to start tracking where every single cent goes every month. For this, you can use a free budget app on your phone.

This makes it easy to record all your spending on the go. In the end, you’ll be left with the knowledge of how much and what percentage of your income goes where.

You will need to commit a reasonable part of the next couple of decades to aggressive savings. But it’s not all bad news…

If you can set aside just $500 per month for just 10 years, that’s $60,000.

If you invest it in an index fund that gets you a very modest 6% annual return, that’s $289,340.76 when you reach 67.

Of course, if you can do better in terms of investment amount and if you can get even half a percent higher in average returns, you can easily end up with far more.

 

 

No Retirement Savings at 50

At this point, you should be worried. But your worry should simply propel you into action, as it’s still well worth it to build up savings.

However, you will need to consider postponing retirement while you try to make the best of your situation:

 

 

No Retirement Savings at 65

If you have no retirement savings at 65, you will need to work longer. Beyond that, there are a few important steps to take:

  1. Maximize your government benefits
  2. Start contributing to retirement accounts
  3. Downsize

When you work longer, you can increase your social security payouts. If you don’t have any savings so far, social security will likely end up becoming the biggest part of your finances.

In fact, if you wait until 70 to start taking social security, you will benefit from delayed retirement credits.

You get delayed retirement credits for each month you delay filing for your social security benefits. The longer you wait, the more substantial those benefits become (and they are truly substantial).

When it comes to retirement accounts, you can contribute to a regular IRA until you are 70, and do a Roth IRA for the rest of your life.

However, even if you make these changes and all the changes we’ve discussed above, the reality is that you will probably have to downsize your retirement lifestyle.

So, you can make a budget that includes delayed social security benefits and a low retirement income.

 

 

Boost Your Savings at Any Age

It’s always best to take full advantage of the window of time you have between the present and your retirement.

However, there is always something more you can do to improve your situation. That’s true even when you’re well into your 60s without any retirement savings.

It certainly will be difficult and will almost certainly be quite uncomfortable, but it’s always worth it to take full advantage of the resources at your disposal as well.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska