Sure, saving money sounds totally doable in theory. But when you think about where your dough goes every month — from those daily iced nonfat vanilla lattes at Starbucks to that premium cable package (gotta be up-to-date on "Big Little Lies") — it's enough to make you give up before you even start. Luckily, there are some simple strategies you can use to whip your financials into shape this season. Consider this guide spring cleaning for your bank account.
1. Pay with cash Instead of card
"If you use a credit or debit card, you're more likely to spend more than you would with cash," says Tiffany 'The Budgetnista' Aliche, a financial educator. After all, when you're not physically handing over money, it doesn't actually feel like you're doling out anything, right? "Credit cards can be the instrument of the devil because you're unaware of how much you're spending," says Jonathan Murray, managing director of UBS Services in Hunt Valley, Md.
Case in point: For a well-known 2001 study done at MIT, researchers gave participants the opportunity to buy tix to a sold-out pro basketball game. Those who were told they could pay with credit card were willing to spend more than double than those who were told they would have to pay with dolla dolla bills.
Need a reason to quit your cards? In March, the Federal Reserve moved to raise interest rates, which will likely bump up your credit card's annual percentage rate. "You have to know yourself," says Aliche. "If you know you're not going to be able to pay off a card every month, it's best to use cash." Still stuck with a balance? Murray suggests calling your credit company to see if you can lower your interest rate.