Whether it be purchasing a home, saving for school, or simply wanting to travel more we all have goals that drive us. Little else stands in our way more than money. The good news is, it doesn’t have to. The key is to ensure we are using today’s resources wisely. Are we investing to to get closer to our goals or are we using it frivolously on today’s desires?
Let’s take a look at a few areas that generally can be tweaked to ensure we are keeping the most of our hard-earned cash!
Lets face it, shopping has evolved into such a mindless task that we don’t even have to put pants on to do it. You can sit on the sofa and with the click of a button your items will show up at your door step in the matter of days. Heck, you don’t even have to have cash because they will extend you credit just to shop with them!
We are clicking at such a feverish pace that our homes are filled to overflowing with these “treasures” that will take us years to pay for. Depending on the balance it could take up to 21 if you are paying the minimum. Check your statement, your creditor is obligated to provide this information.
Don’t get me wrong, if used properly, this can be an extremely beneficial service. Just make sure you are not adding yourself to the masses left with nothing but debt over the course of time.
Take these steps to take to use these services more wisely:
Prevent impulse purchases
- As you run out of items you truly need, add it to an ongoing list. You will have an automatic store list and it will prevent you from randomly picking up miscellaneous items you don’t need .
- Do not buy anything on impulse. Set yourself some guidelines. This can be something as simple as waiting five days before making a purchase that is not on the list. Oftentimes we no longer feel the need to buy it once the wait is over.
- If you don’t have the cash for it, don’t buy it. It is not going to be a deal if you are financing it.
- Avoid the temptation to keep up with the Jones’. Why try to keep up with someone else? Be unique! You have set your own goals, go after them! Stop wasting your money living someone else’s dreams.
We are human, we makes mistakes. Just realize if you have run up consumer debt, the quicker you pay it off the better. Calculate the amount you are paying in interest rates, that should be a great motivator!
We all have to eat, so there are many opportunities to be frugal when it comes to our food budget. Here are just a few:
Make a menu plan
Have a game plan for the week. Spending time to putting this together will be beneficial in multiple ways.
- It eliminates the need for take out or delivery. Any time you prevent dining out you are saving money.
- Planning ahead ensures you have your ingredients on hand. Last-minute trips to the market never end up with you leaving the store with just that item.
- You can make extra dinner portions that can be used for lunches the next day.
Try these steps while you are menu planning to get the most from your efforts:
- Shop from your pantry! Use items you already have on hand to plan your menu
- Use the weekly sales circular to maximize savings on the rest of meals.
- Cook from scratch whenever possible. It’s not only cheaper but healthier.
- Determine the items on your plan you can prepare ahead of time. This will save money as well as time!
Stop Buying Coffee Drinks
Every time you are tempted to stop and get a coffee drink, you should visualize the so-called “coffee goddess” reaching down and snatching 5 bucks out of your pocket. Avoid these while you are in your savings phase. You don’t have to give them up forever but they are definitely an expense that can be eliminated or at least reduced temporarily. Even your regular coffee is going to add up over time. Make it at home and take it with you.
MAKE THE INTERNET WORK FOR YOU
Instead of using the internet for online shopping, find ways it can help you get closer to your goals.
- Learn what can be homemade instead of store-bought. This can be anything from body scrubs to cleaning supplies. The list is practically limitless.
- Research what you can do yourself instead of paying someone else. Articles abound on everything from repairing drywall to doing your own mani or pedi.
- Utilize services like Netflix or Hulu to eliminate the need for pricey cable bills. This will not only save you money but you can watch exactly what you want instead of reruns full of commercials urging you spend your goal money to buy more stuff.
- Capitalize on your expertise using sites like Fiverr
- Sell unwanted items utilizing Ebay, Etsy, and Facebook Market Place
Countless dollars are spent on the single pursuit of entertaining ourselves. We are constantly throwing cash at what we think is going to bring fulfillment to us in some way. Find ways to spend your time that are free or at least cost-effective. There are countless activities that fall into this category. Here are a few:
Instead surrounding yourself with temptation to spend, learn to be content to at home. Enjoy making a nice dinner together, followed by a movie. Have friends over for a game night. There are plenty of things to do. Be creative.
Find Free Entertainment
If you are going to leave the house make a plan and stick with it. There are countless activities that are not only fun but free. Whether it’s a free concerts at the park or a nice hike in the woods. Try searching on Facebook or in the local paper. Chances are there are plenty of local events that you can do free or next to nothing.
Have a Staycation
When it comes to entertaining oneself, vacations are usually one of the most expensive ways to do. Have a Staycation instead. Enjoy day trips to do some sight-seeing near your home. Chances are there are multiple within driving distance of your home. This is not only a fun way to spend time together while exploring your community, it could literally save you thousands.
Lastly, take steps to keep you moving towards your goals!
Watch your savings grow!
Put savings into an account, preferably one that accumulates interest. Many online banking sites allow you to set up automatic deposits to your savings. Check with your institution to see if this is an option. Figure out what you can commit to and add to your account with each pay period. Watch you balance grow!
Focus on your goal
Remember, this is not an exercise in self deprivation. It is just a means to make sure you are on the course to where you truly want to go. You don’t have to deprive yourself of your caffeinated, sugary, goodness in a cup for the rest of your life or sit at home watching Netflix forever. Just make sure your spending is not going to be your roadblock to your higher goals!
Perhaps you have found some strategies that would be beneficial to others. I would love to hear from you!