Looks like the young whippersnappers can teach a few of us old folks about saving money!
A recent poll of more than 1,000 Americans conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International (PSRAI) finds millennials are doing a great job saving money.
Saving money is a generational thing — but not in the way you think
Millennials are a financially maligned generation. We’ve all heard the wisecracks about them being over-educated and underemployed. And how millennials still live at home in the basement. And how their brains are too addled by social media to make any smart long-term financial decisions.
But maybe it’s time to rethink the bum rap.
The PSRAI research, which was commissioned by BankRate, shows that a full 31% of those age 18 to 26 have between three to five months of living expenses squirreled away.
As a segment of the population, millennials tend to be debt averse and more focused on experiences than amassing belongings. Despite persistent misconceptions, they also unintentionally had the idea of saving for a rainy day ingrained by watching their parents struggle during the Great Recession.
The numbers certainly bear out that harsh financial truth. And in contrast to millennials, the BankRate survey finds 32% of Americans age 53 to 62 report having no savings at all.
As for Generation X, they’re only doing nominally better than their elders. Some 28% of those in their late 30s to mid 50s report they have some savings, but they haven’t managed to save enough to cover three months of living expenses.
Savings is one of those things that you don’t have to do, but not getting the job done means living a very lean lifestyle down the road. And not a lot of people relish that thought, no matter their age!
Here are a few ways to make the job of saving money a little bit easier
Develop a zero-based budget
This kind of budget is all about pre-planning. Each week when you get paid, you’ll already know exactly where every dollar is going when you have a zero-based budget. It’s a great way to seal up the kind of budget leaks that can derail financial success. Here’s how you start developing your own zero-based budget.
Use your pay schedule to squeeze out a couple extra paychecks worth of savings!
This ingenious trick works if you’re paid every two weeks, rather than twice a month.
Here’s how you can stash the paychecks that come during the two months of the year when you’ll get three paychecks instead of two!
Join a warehouse club and save big buying in bulk
Costco Wholesale, Sam’s Club and BJ’s Wholesale Club offer amazing deals on everything from soup to nuts and tires to socks! Here are 12 money-saving hacks you can use to save even more at the three warehouse club chains.
Lower the price of your pay TV bill
Numbers from Leichtman Research Group, Inc. show $106 is the mean reported monthly spending on pay TV. That’s $1,272 each year, but some people pay a lot more!
Thankfully, there are a lot of opportunities in the market to reduce that monthly bill and still get the great content you love. Here’s a list of the latest choices updated for 2018.
Locate missing and unclaimed money in your name
Simply go to MissingMoney.com and punch in your name to do a database search of available unclaimed funds across all states that participate.
If you live in a state that doesn’t participate with this free site, there’s one more option for you: Unclaimed.org. This website is a clearinghouse for the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators.
Finally, maybe a grandparent bought you a savings bond when you were born and it’s been lost over the years. Here’s how you can track down lost savings bonds and get your money!
Lower your student loan payment
Student loans are a burden for many people both young and old. Fortunately, there are ways to refinance your student loans, get on a better repayment plan or even possibly qualify for student loan forgiveness based on your choice of career!
Choose a cheaper cell plan
It seems like every week there’s a new price point being set in the telecommunications world. Make the switch to a low-cost carrier and you can still get all the data you need!
Read more: Best cell phone plans and deals for 2018
Reduce your withholding
Do you get a tax refund every year? That means you’ve made an interest-free loan to the government and your money has been working for them — not you — all year-long.
People try to justify their tax refunds by saying it’s a way to force themselves to save money. Truth is, there may be a better way to accomplish the goal: Let’s say you typically get a refund of $1,200 every year. Try reducing your withholding at work by $100 a month and have your bank or credit union automatically transfer that $100 each month into a savings account.
You never see the money, so you never miss it. But the end result is that you’ll build your savings and earn interest all year-long. Use the IRS Withholding Calculator to avoid having too much or too little federal income tax withheld from your pay. Then talk to your HR department at work to put your plan in action.
Raise the deductible on your insurance
The typical auto insurance customer can save up to $500 a year by bumping the policy deductible up from $250 to $500. That savings jumps on average to $1,000 annually if you make the leap to a $1,000 deductible or higher.
By raising your deductible, you’ll pay less in premiums, but more importantly, you’ll reduce the risk that your insurer will cancel your coverage because of too many claims. In particular, homeowners insurance can be used only in the case of a catastrophic loss. It’s a “use it and lose it” proposition.
One final word about car insurance. If you have an old car that’s of little value, it may be time to have liability only (not collision and comprehensive) on your policy if the cost of full coverage is greater than 10% annually of the car’s value. You can determine your vehicle’s value at KBB.com, NADA.com or Edmunds.com.
Stop paying for insurance you don’t need
You can get insurance on almost anything — computers, phones, trips, your identity, your credit and even home warranties! But should you?
Identity theft insurance, mortgage life and disability insurance and home wiring insurance just scratch the surface of policies that aren’t worth the price!
Check all of your monthly statements line-by-line
Too often, people just get bills of all kinds charged to their credit card and never see a statement. Don’t be one of them! Get hold of those monthly statements and scrutinize them line-by-line.
Cell phone bills can be almost impossible to understand, making phony cram charges a real possibility. Look for line items with deceptive terms such as “Premium Content” or “Direct Bill Charge” (sometimes referred to as “DBC” on your bill.) If it’s something you didn’t agree to, call up your provider and get your money back.