Friday, January 14, 2011

The Skinny on Savings--Tackling Finances in 2011

by Social Media Working Girl

I'm not very good at saving money. Don't get me wrong--I try to save. It just seems next to impossible sometimes to save money as a 20-something Working Girl trying to get my career started and make ends meet.

Like many of you, I don't have tons of time to regularly stock up on grocery items and thus end up eating a lot of meals out. I tend to get sucked into sales at my favorite stores and boutiques. I always offer to drive whenever my friends or colleagues want to go somewhere. I enjoy going out and being social. I have lots of bills including rent, car payments, utilities and credit cards. And I always seem to ask myself, "Where did the money go?"

But with hopes for lots of excitement and new adventures in 2011, saving is a must. Thankfully, there are many online tools available that can help facilitate the process of saving money and making smarter financial decisions.

Mint - With more than 4 million users, Mint is one of the most popular and widely respected (and free) online budget planners. You simply plug in all of your data--credit cards, checking accounts, investments, loan information, etc.--and have the ability to set a budget and keep track of your personal financial goals.

One of the biggest perks of using Mint is the easy in use. I don't know about you, but I have a tendency to get confused with numbers. I'm a journalist by trade--not a mathematician. With Mint, you don't have to be a math whiz. Instead, it does all of the calculations on its own and you hold the reigns for setting goals and tracking success.

SmartyPig - Next up, I want to introduce you to SmartyPig. Think of SmartyPig as your free online piggy bank. Whether you're saving for a new car, your wedding, that great pair of shoes you've had your eye on, a gift for a friend or your dream vacation, this site is a great tool to help you save and reach your financial goals.

How does it work? All you do is create an account and set up automatic transfers from your existing checking or savings accounts. You can also have friends and family help you achieve your objectives by sharing your goals with others through social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter.

Wesabe - Lastly, let's take a look at Wesabe--a community-based online personal finance management site. In other words, you create an account and contribute to conversation, post questions and join groups regarding debt, savings, financial experiences and more. With Wesabe, it's about getting advice from people just like you.

This year, the focus must be on tackling my finances. I fully intend on using free online resources like Mint, SmartyPig and Wesabe to help me achieve my financial goals and save, save, save.

Do you have financial goals for 2011? What other online tools do you use to budget and save?

(Image via)


Small Budget, Big Style Chick said...

My financial goals for 2011 include paying down student loan debt, taking one international trip credit card free and increasing my emergency fund savings.

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Julie said...

Thanks for the great information! I am also in my twenties and will be graduating from college this May! Then it is time to go out into the "real world" and find a full-time job. Check out my blog: :)

Social Media Working Girl said...

Thanks for stopping by gals! Julie, congratulations on your soon-to-be graduation! Please keep us posted on any great tidbits of advice that other 20-something working girls might need to know!

Julie said...

Thank you! I will be sure to! :)

Sara said...

we just paid for our wedding and honeymoon this fall so our big financial goal is to build up our savings again. the plan is to start living on one income and saving the other in the hopes of watching our nest egg grow. we *love* mint! It's been a lifesaver.

Sofia Britts said...

If you find it hard to save money, try to limit yourself of social activities. I think it is one reason why your payday cheque does not last long in your hands. Do something productive, like see part time jobs online that will help you with your finances, so that you would not worry about your bills and loan. At this time, you should start saving and putting your money where your mouth is.

John Lair said...

If saving and meeting both ends seems impossible for you, then try having part-time jobs, or search the web for some home-based jobs. It will open you to more receivable financing than the usual. And try to cook for yourself sometimes. Dining out is not a good investment, it will only lead you to serious sickness. I'm not telling you not to dine out for the rest of your life, just limit yourself from restaurant. Loans will be a lot easier to manage if you have a lot of money resources. Try it and tell me how it changed your savings account, later.

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