When I first started tracking my spending I found it challenging because my wallet was so disorganized. It was overstuffed, held multiple credit cards, tons of receipts and other random stuff. Whenever I needed to pay for something it was like going on a scavenger hunt to find what I needed. I was constantly losing important receipts and letting coupons expire because I didn’t have a good system. Now, I’ve implemented a few simple wallet hacks, to ensure I stay on budget.
Minimize your plastic choices. No matter how organized of a person you are, it’s still difficult to keep tabs on multiple credit or debit cards. You have to know the balance on each card, the payment due date, as well as all the transactions and statements. Minimize your plastic down to only one or two cards that you use on a regular basis, and put the others away in a safe place. This tactic works well because you’re limiting your choices which lowers the risk of added fees, overages and excess spending.
Keep a picture of your goal as inspiration. It takes a lot of willpower to stick to a budget and reduce your spending. Try giving yourself a boost by keeping a photo or picture in your wallet, of something that inspires you. When you have the urge to pull out your cards or cash to buy something non-essential, seeing the picture will remind you of the goal you’re working towards. Some people find inspiration from their families or children and carry photos of them around to stay on target.
Clean out your wallet regularly. On several occasions when I cleaned out my wallet, I found an expired coupon, a rebate I forgot to send in or a survey I could have done to get a discount. By cleaning out your wallet or purse on a regular basis, you’ll be less likely to miss important coupons, rebates and sales. This means more money in your pocket to spend on more important things.
Say NO to paper receipts, use an app instead. One of my biggest annoyances is the tons of little white papers and receipts randomly thrown in my wallet. But with all the phone and web apps available you don’t have to keep the paper copies of your receipts anymore. Apps like Lemon or Shoeboxed will capture photos of your receipts using your mobile phone. This makes it easy to save and process the transactions into expense reports. It will also save hours of time (and money if you hire help) during tax season, as well as get the maximum deductions you qualify for.
Combine your loyalty and shopping cards. If you’re like me, at any given time, you probably have more rewards and loyalty cards in your wallet than you can handle. With the help of sites like Key Ring Thing or Just One Card Club you can combine your shopping, club and loyalty cards onto one card. You still get all the great promotions and discounts without having to fumble around in your wallet or purse looking for that stores’ card. It will help save time at the checkout as well as make sure you get every discount available.
Invest in a really good wallet. Owning a quality wallet is essential to keeping everything in order. It can be very hard to locate all your receipts and cards if your wallet is too worn out or unable to hold your money properly. You want to be able to open your wallet, and know exactly where everything is. You’ll end up paying less over time for a really good wallet than a cheap one, thus saving yourself a bit of time and money.
Streamline your payment methods. Some people prefer to use cash only, while others prefer to use plastic. Whatever your preferred method is, limit yourself to one so everything is simple and easy to track. I like to use my cash back debit card for all my purchases, so I can monitor all my transactions and expenses from one account. There’s less confusion which means less opportunity for mistakes. This is especially helpful if you have kids or a spouse, to have everyone using one streamlined method of payment.
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Consider using a virtual wallet. If you’re a tech lover, you might consider doing away with the physical wallet entirely and opt for a virtual one instead. Thanks to some of the latest technology, you can make many of your payments using your smartphone or email address. For example, Home Depot offers customers the ability to checkout using Paypal with a PIN combination – no wallet or plastic required. Everything is done electronically with all of your accounts in one place, therefore it’s much more secure, and leaves a digital trail for quick referencing.
By applying a few of these wallet hacks, you will know where your money is being spent and optimize your savings with coupons and receipts. You will be able to spend your time and money on more important things, than rummaging through your wallet to find what you need. It’s simple advice, but can make a big difference in your day-to-day life.
This article is part of our Budgeting Tips Resource Center. If you’re looking for additional information about budgeting tips, be sure to pay a visit!
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