Each day, you probably consult a common item that can save you a lot of money. It’s probably sitting right there on your desk, wall, or conveniently on your phone or laptop.
If you haven’t figured this out yet, I’m referring to the trusty Calendar.
We all have them on hand, whether they are in the form of the old-fashioned paper copy or an app that can be edited and shared. Without a calendar, you wouldn’t be able to remember deadlines, important meetings, or social functions. But, besides making our lives more organized and productive, we can also use calendars to help save more of our hard-earned money.
Use Your Calendar to Create a Budget
Do you put together a monthly budget? If you don’t, you’re not alone. A survey by The Penny Hoarder shows that over 55% of Americans do not manage their money with a budget.
But, it’s never too late to budget. And, thanks to your online Calendar, this has never been easier. After all, when you use an online calendar for budgeting, you track your spending, schedule savings reminders, stay motivated with milestones. So, for example, if you planned to save $1,000 in six months, you could book an affordable weekend getaway to reach that goal.
If you want to buy a new car or eliminate debt, then budgeting is how to do it. And, thanks to the Calendar app — it can help you budget like a pro.
To get started, create a repeating event for the first of the month. Then, make sure you check your expenses against the targets you set to see if everything is still intact. If not, don’t be afraid to revise your targets – or spending – if they’re too low or too high.
Put Due Dates on Your Calendar
According to a report from several years ago, about one in five credit card accounts incurs late fees. That cost is added to the amounts in 170 million accounts. According to this astounding statistic — $11.4 billion is going to credit card companies instead of your pocket.
However, while past-due credit card debt rose during the pandemic, 30-day delinquencies declined to an all-time low in early 2021. Still, that doesn’t negate the fact that missing any type of payment could have serious ramifications.
Usually, this is a late fee charge of around $25 to $45. That’s not a lot. But, when you’re trying to save more money, every dollar counts. More problematic, though, is that late payments can increase your interest rate, decrease your credit score, and show up on your credit score for up to seven years.
When it comes to recurring bills, whether if you’re manual or automatic payments, never be taken by surprise. Place these due dates into your Calendar and set reminders to ensure that these payments go through without a hitch.
Schedule “No Spend” Days
There are days when you don’t spend a dime, don’t you? Shocking, I know. But let’s say that you’re working from home all day since you’re fortunate enough to have a hybrid work schedule. Because of this, you aren’t spending money on gas, Starbucks, or ordering takeout for lunch. Instead, you brew your own coffee and make a salad from the items you have in your fridge.
Of course, that’s not the daily day for most of us. Even if you aren’t going to the workplace, you still might be spending a ton of money online — probably on stuff you really don’t need. The average American drops $18,000 a year on non-essentials.
To balance this out, consider imposing “no-spend” days.
Your online Calendar should contain and maximize both types of days. For example, if you need to get out of the house, then block out Friday afternoons for grocery shopping, dinner, and maybe a movie. However, on Thursday and Saturday, put the brakes on your spending and look for free activities, like going for a hike and making your meals at home. I
Set Reminders for Free or Reduced Days
Many locations offer certain popular family attractions for free on certain days of the week, such as museums and aquariums. And, on certain days, like Tuesdays or Wednesdays, movie theaters offer cheaper tickets and snacks.
In addition, you can usually save money at your favorite restaurants during the midweek period. On Tuesdays, for instance, you might find $1 tacos at your favorite Mexican restaurant. But, what could is that going to do you on Wednesday when you’re craving a taco?
To make sure that you can take advantage of these deals, mark them down in your Calendar. Of course, you don’t have to partake every. But, at least it gives you options when trying to save money.
Add To-Do-List Items to Your Calendar
In addition to recurring bill payment dates, you should also mark the due dates of your personal federal and state taxes for the upcoming year on your Calendar. Adding a reminder to yourself to prepare your taxes sooner is better than waiting until the last minute.
Moreover, you should also schedule the following household items into your Calendar;
- Appliance warranty dates. Note on your Calendar how long it is until the warranty expires. Let this serve as a reminder to take advantage of the warranty before it expires.
- Vehicle maintenance and inspection dates. Make sure those car maintenance and inspection dates are on your Calendar. Treating your car well can prevent expensive repairs, as well as tickets if you’re driving around with an expired inspection.
- Household repair and maintenance. Just like your car, add home maintenance reminders, like HVAC and gutter cleaning, to your Calendar to keep your home in tiptop shape.
- Insurance. Check all of your insurance policies, whether your home, auto, life, or renters. It doesn’t hurt to know about these dates in advance, even if you receive alerts from companies during the year.
Also, don’t forget to schedule doctor’s appointments and check-ups. Staying on top of your health could prevent costly medical bills down the road.
Note When Free Trials End or Set Reminders to Cancel Subscriptions
You may have taken advantage of Netflix’s free trial because you had to check out that new Ryan Reynolds flick. But, if you aren’t using Netflix after that trial ends, make a note to cancel it before you get charged.
Or, maybe you used to love going to the gym but now prefer to work out from home. Cancel your memberships instead of forking over this money each month.
Implement Savings Challenges
“Sure, everyone wants to have more money available for their needs and wants, but the process of actually doing it?” asks Lisa Rowan in Forbes. “It brings up images of depriving yourself of activities you enjoy or eating the same meal over and over to save a few bucks.”
“But changing your approach to saving money could motivate you to develop better habits as you watch your nest egg grow,” she adds. Making saving a game, even if it’s a brief one, can increase your chances of saving money.
Many money-saving challenges run over an extended period of time, like an entire year. However, if you set a resolution to save long after January 1, you can still start any of these saving challenges whenever you want. And to track your progress, you’ll also need to rely on your Calendar as well.
- 52-week challenge. As you save each week, you will put away $1 on week one, $2 on week two, and so on until you reach week 52: you will have saved $52.
- Dollar savings challenge. Set a goal of saving a dollar each day. You can keep this up throughout the entire year to build your savings fund in a manageable way.
- $20 savings challenge. Is saving $1 a day too easy for you? How about multiplying it? Put aside $20 each week for the year.
- The 26-week challenge. Those who get paid every other week, do this rather than the 52-week challenge. Savings will be the same over the year but adjusted according to your biweekly pay period.
- The 33.3 challenge. You only have 30 days to save $1,000. You might feel more able to achieve this if you think of it as $33.33 per day.
Schedule Meetings With Your Advisor
According to one poll, 44% of Americans without financial advisors said that major events in the United States in 2020 and their effects on their finances have made them realize the advantages of working with a professional. Of these, 54% are 18-to-34-year-olds, 58% are 35-to-44-year-olds, and 60% are Hispanic.
It will be a challenging job for advisors, as Americans have a variety of goals and priorities related to their money. In 2021, Americans with financial advisors (33%) and Americans without financial advisors (30%) both identified and prepared for long-term financial goals as their top priority in working with a financial advisor.
What are the top priorities among Americans without advisors? The creation of an emergency savings fund (28%) and paying off debt (26%)
Set up a regular meeting with your financial advisor of choice in your Calendar. A monthly meeting should suffice to start. But, depending on your preferences and needs, the frequency can be adjusted in the future. Be prepared to discuss your game plan with your advisor at each meeting by bringing your questions and thoughts.
A financial advisor will, for instance, ask you about your goals during your first meeting. Next, your advisor will outline a preliminary plan and provide risk management advice in the next step. Eventually, meetings can focus on specific assets or how you should spend a bonus, raise, or tax return.
Image Credit: Karolina Grabowska; Pexels; Thank you!
John Hall is the co-founder of Calendar a scheduling and time management app. He’s also a keynote speaker that you can book at http://www.johnhallspeaking.com.