NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Small Steps to Wealth

Small Steps to Wealth


                Winning the lottery and becoming suddenly wealthy maybe a dream of many but in reality it is the small things that add up in our checking accounts. Check out some of the following small steps to a healthier bank balance.

                1. Move bank accounts to take advantage of perks and earn more interest.  If you’re paying a monthly fee for your checking or savings account, you would benefit from researching some of newest banking offers out there. Not only do some of the best banks offer sign-up bonuses simply for opening an account and setting up direct deposit, but some offer attractive interest rates to new customers as well.  It’s true that interest rates are not what they once were, but it’s still worth a look..

                2. Stop collecting, and start selling.  There was a time when people thought their collections would bring them riches. Beanie Babies were a big fad at one time, as were Longaberger baskets. Now you can find those items on resale sites like Craigslist and at garage sales for a fraction of their initial cost, leaving many people who sunk thousands of dollars into their “investments” wondering what happened.  If you want to avoid that situation, don’t collect items of questionable value. And if you want to recoup some of the money you’ve already spent on collectible items, you can start selling them now and use those funds for any number of worthy financial goals.

                3. Sign up for every free customer rewards program you can.  No matter where you live, you’ll find plenty of retailers who are willing to reward you for shopping at their store. Here’s the basic game plan for maximizing these programs: create a Gmail or Yahoo address just for these mailings, collect every card you can, and then check that account for extra coupons whenever you’re ready to shop.

                4.  Make your own gifts instead of buying stuff from the store.

If you want to save money while also giving generously, creating your own homemade gifts is one way to accomplish both goals. You can make food mixes, candles, fresh-baked bread or cookies, soap, and all kinds of other things at home quite easily and inexpensively. These make spectacular gifts for others because they involve your personal touch — something you can’t buy from a store

.               5.  Master the 30-day rule. Avoiding instant gratification is one of the most important rules of personal finance, and waiting 30 days to decide on a purchase is an excellent way to implement that rule. Quite often, after a month has passed, you’ll find that the urge to buy has passed as well, and you’ll have saved yourself some money simply by waiting.

                6.  Write a list before you go shopping – and stick to it.  One of the easiest ways to save money is to only shop when you have a list. Because when you’re without one, you typically end up making impulse buys and unplanned purchases – all things that cost money.  Creating a list before you go to the grocery store is especially important as it help you buy items that fit with your meal plan and also  help you avoid buying food you might waste.

                7.  Negotiate rates with your credit card company or complete a balance transfer. If you’re paying a lot of interest on your credit cards, it’s important to know that you do have some power as long as you’ve been making your payments. Not only do you have the right to negotiate your current interest rate with your credit card issuer, but you have the right to transfer your balance to an entirely different card as well.  Start by calling your card issuer at the number on the back of your card and explaining your request.

                8.  Drink more water.  Not only does drinking plenty of water have great health benefits —it has financial benefits, too.   Drinking more water — whether in a refillable bottle or at restaurants — means spending less money on beverages like soda, juice, and tea. Remember: Tap water is not only just as clean as bottled water, it’s also free.

                9.  Make a quadruple batch of a casserole.   We all know that casseroles are nice, easy dishes to prepare. The next time you make a casserole, make four batches of it and put the other three in the freezer. Then, when you need a quick meal for the family, you can grab one of those ready-made casseroles and just heat it up.

                10. Install a programmable thermostat.  Installing a programmable thermostat is a sure fire method  if you want to cut down on energy usage while you’re not at home, or simply regulate the temperature in your home. By setting it to heat or cool your home at certain times, you can ensure that your utilities aren’t being wasted while you’re at work or asleep – and save money in the process.


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