I’ll be honest here – I am kinda lazy. But, I have managed to save money, maintain a good credit score, and live healthier.
1. When you make a dinner, make enough for 2-3. Ingredients are cheaper to buy in bulk, and if you are one to get tired of eating the same thing night after night, go ahead and freeze a meal so you can microwave it the next week or so. I know everyone’s heard this before, but buying and cooking your own food not only saves money, but keeps you healthy, because you know exactly what is going into your food. I’m also incredibly forgetful and get lazy after I eat, so right after I’m done cooking and before we sit down to eat, I put some food into containers and stick them into the freezer.
2. Use a rebate site if you are purchasing online. You’ll get back 3-6% of your total purchase (usually less shipping). If you don’t feel comfortable setting up an account, a simple online search can usually yield a coupon or two that helps cut costs.
3. Automate your bill paying. Trying to pay the bills on time monthly myself would drive me nuts. I have automated everything and it’s so simple – not only do we not have to pay stamp fees, but all the transactions download into Mint.com and we can track our budget
4. Automate your savings. Similar to automating bill payments, you should be automating savings as well! If you have a 401k, have a fixed amount direct deposited into the 401k, or if you have a Roth or regular savings, have it go to that account. That way, if you don’t see it, you don’t miss it.
5. Track your finances weekly, if not more often. While I can’t manage to pay the bills on time, I check the status of our finances almost daily. I know it woulds weird, but it gives me great comfort. I also know if we’ve overspent a little too much the first 2 weeks, and if we need to cut back to keep on track for the next week or two. You’d be surprised how little expenses add up, and how soon we forget them! I also check my credit score for free on sites like creditsesame.com and pull the free annual credit report for a more detailed view.
6. Credit card rewards. This can and can’t be a way to save money, but I think we have a way that makes it work. I used to be dead-set against using credit cards or maintaining any kind of debt, but after a friend ran the numbers and explained the rewards game, I think I can deal with this. I love expensive makeup, I think the products really look better and are of better quality. That said, paying $50+ for an eyeshadow gives me heartburn. So we put most of our expenses onto Amex, and every day or so, I’ll transfer the money we spent on the Amex into a checking account just for paying off credit cards. That way, the money is no longer in our account and not “available” any longer, but we gain the rewards. With our current spend, I can buy a nice new face cream or whatever and feel like a big spender without blowing the budget.
I’ve considered paying the mortgage on a credit card, but that’s a little more than I’m comfortable with for the moment.
What lazy tips do you have?