These tips and Windows Phone apps will help you save money—whether it’s to buy a house, establish a “rainy day” fund, or pay for your dream vacation.
How much money have you saved? Is it enough?
Financial experts recommend you sock away least 20 percent of your income to cover emergencies, beef up retirement savings, and pay for life-changing purchases such as a new home.
People in some countries save a lot—India is a nation of savers, with a personal savings rate of about 30 percent. But Americans only save 5.8 percent of their income, while Brits save 4.9 percent overall, according to government studies.
Put more money in your piggy bank with these five tips. We’ve also highlighted a couple of financial-management apps you should have on your Lumia or other Windows Phone to better track where all your hard-earned money is going.
1. Track your monthly spending. How else will you know how much money to save if you don’t know how much disposable income you have? Create a simple Excel spreadsheet that tracks recurring costs such as rent/mortgage, transportation, food, and credit cards. You can pin this spreadsheet to your Lumia’s Start screen for easy access.
2. Get rid of high-interest credit-card debt. Don’t just pay the minimum amount—that’s akin to giving free money to your credit-card company. Make it a top priority to pay off this debt, then use lower-interest credit cards—and pay off the balance every month so you won’t incur fees.
3. Sock it away before you spend it. Many banks let you automatically transfer a portion of your earnings into an online savings account. For instance, a friend of mine set up a “vacation savings” account into which $300 from her checking account is automatically transferred on the first of every month.
4. Don’t keep up with the Joneses. It’s not important to have a flashy car or a big house just because some of your friends or acquaintances do. Many people live beyond their means—don’t be one of them. A recent Bankrate survey found that 32 percent of Americans aged 30-49 had more credit-card debt than savings.
5. Wait 24 hours before making a flashy purchase. To help you avoid impulse buying, wait at least one day for every $100 you plan to spend on a non-essential item. Of course, this tip doesn’t apply to a home or appliances, but do you really need that designer leather jacket or weekend trip to Vegas?
Here are two recently updated financial-management apps for Windows Phone that will help you save money.
The Mint app is a free password-protected app that helps you manage and your money, track financial investments, and more. The app connects to your bank accounts to give you a holistic picture of your financial health.
Budget Buddy is an expense-tracking app that integrates the photo capabilities of your phone to help manage your money. Just take a photo of a receipt or bill to record an expense, and the app’s Live Tile feature tells you exactly how much you’ve spent and how much is left in your monthly budget.
Are you on track with your savings? What are you saving up for? Let us know in the comments below.