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Finance expert shares advice on saving money on a reduced income

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Posted at 6:29 PM, May 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-20 19:29:11-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Many people are trying to move money around to make ends meet.

Alec Bethurum, senior portfolio manager at Sterneck Capital Management, said there are quite a few ways for people on a reduced income to cut spending.

"You'd be surprised if you looked how much you spend on entertainment and restaurants and food," Bethurum said. "You cut those out and you actually have some decent size incremental savings."

He suggested cutting out a streaming subscription like Hulu or Netflix that is not frequently being used or considering moving from wired cable to wireless cable.

Bethurum recommended people take advantage of money saving programs on their mortgage, utilities and insurance.

"It might make sense if you haven't had some kind of rainy day or emergency fund to reach out to all of your providers," Bethurum said. "Some utility companies say you can defer, they're not going to do turn-offs or we've also seen insurance companies providing rebates."

For people coming into the pandemic with credit card debt, Bethurum recommended reaching out to their credit card provider and ask for a lower interest rate.

Kansas City, Missouri resident Lindsey Wright said money has been extremely tight since she was laid off in March.

"Every purchase has been 'Is this an absolute necessity?'" Wright said.

Wright has been waiting on Kansas unemployment benefits for the last two months.

"It's very, very stressful, I would say it's caused a lot of anxiety," Wright said.

Wright said she finally received her stimulus check Wednesday. She said she plans to use some of it to get her car fixed and will save the rest.

Bethurum said times like these serve as an example of the importance of savings. He said a good goal to reach for is about two months of liquid income set aside in the bank.

"We like to use the 50-30-20 rule," Bethurum said. "50 percent of your income going to your needs, your mortgage or rent and food, 30 is your wants and that doesn't have to be for today but maybe for a vacation you're saving for, and 20 would really be your savings."

Bethurum said the first priority for the 20 percent part of the rule should be paying off any long-term, high-interest debt.

He also recommended increasing your retirement contributions if you have the means.

"You really want to try to increase those contributions during periods like this because your expected returns are going to be a lot better if you're able to buy at lower prices," Bethurum said.