CHICAGO, IL -- (Marketwired) -- 04/25/13 -- As part of BMO Harris Bank's ongoing commitment to financial literacy and Making Money Make Sense, BMO Harris is providing weekly financial tips. This week's tip offers ways to get more for your money.
It used to be that "middle class" meant "comfortable." Yet today, some are finding that lifestyle is slipping away as they struggle to maintain their standard of living.
Today, the best way to maintain the lifestyle you're accustomed to is to become smarter with the money you do have.
BMO Harris Bank offers the following strategies to help maximize your money:
Budget for your specific needs. When every dollar counts, you can't afford to let anything slip through the cracks. That's where a budget comes in. Creating one -- and actually using it -- can help you take control of your money. Start by keeping a spending journal so you can see where your money's going. Next, subtract your fixed monthly costs (i.e. mortgage or rent, car payment, utilities, savings, etc.) from your monthly income. The remaining money is what you have left for variable expenses, such as groceries, entertainment, gas, etc. How you divide this money is up to you -- the only catch is you have to stay within your budget limits.
Plan ahead to avoid ATM fees. Avoiding this extra cost is as simple as planning ahead. Paying $3 here and there may not seem like a lot, but it adds up over time. For example, paying $3 at a non-bank ATM, four times a month adds up to $144 each year. That's money that could have been put away in savings or spent on other items.
Find a credit card that benefits you. Look for one that rewards you for the money you spend.
Save money on everything. With a bit of advance planning and research, you can save money on everything from groceries and gas to haircuts and entertainment. Many of these savings can be found online and through mobile apps. Follow your favorite businesses via social media to learn about exclusive discounts and sales. Mobile apps can help you find the lowest prices on gas and other items you use every day.
Put yourself in a comfortable place and get started with helpful steps.
The Learning Center is brought to you by BMO Harris Bank, WGN, CLTV, WGN AM 1070, Chicago Tribune, RedEye and Hoy.
About BMO Harris Bank
BMO Harris Bank provides a broad range of personal banking products and solutions through over 600 branches and approximately 1,300 ATMs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Nevada, Arizona and Florida. BMO Harris Bank's commercial banking team provides a combination of sector expertise, local knowledge and mid-market focus throughout the U.S. For more information about BMO Harris Bank, go to the company fact sheet. Deposit and loan products and services provided by BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC. BMO Harris Bank(SM) is a trade name used by BMO Harris Bank N.A. BMO Harris Bank is part of BMO Financial Group, a North American financial organization with approximately 1,600 branches, and $542 billion in assets (as of Jan. 31, 2013).
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