I know you have seen this like a million times, but hey if its going to help one more person get their finances straight, then believe me its worth it. Saving is one of the most important pillars in financial planning, as it will determine the kind of lifestyle you will have some time in the future. I have read a lot of articles and books explaining on how to go about it, and frankly speaking if you do not practice it on a daily basis, then all that valuable information is useless to you. So I hope the following article from real estate articles will be worth your time and success.
It does not take a Master’s Degree to figure out how to master your finances. You simply need to become organized, and determine which areas need correction. The area of debt will be the one you’ll want to address first. Below are ten easy steps to reduce, and do away with your debt:
Before you can even start working on any other area of your finances, a budget is critical. Although, it is a very big deal, it doesn’t take that much effort to put one together. The difficult part will be exercising self-control. Check to see if your computer software came with money management software. If not, you can simply use Excel, or some other simple software to capture your data. You’ll want to note all income, and all expenses from the first of the month to the end of the month. Note everything, even that latte you get occasionally on the way to work.
2. Pay Off Debt
What’s left over at the end of the month from your budget is going to be used to pay off your debt. Organize your credit cards from lowest balance to highest. You’re going to take what’s left over to pay on the lowest balance first. When this is paid off, work on the next debt. Do this until all your debts are paid off. Then, don’t accrue anymore debt!
3. Reduce Expenses
Your first strategy will be to eliminate any expense that you can do without. Scrutinize your expenses carefully. Talk it over with your family. Include them in the discussions, and see where everyone can cut out, at least, 20% of your monthly spending.
You’ve probably heard this over and over again, but here it is again. Use coupons, especially in stores that will double your coupons. Call around to see which stores will do it. Price matching is another great way to save tons. Gather your weekly store ads. Note items in the sale ads that are on your grocery list. Visit the cheapest store in your area that does price matching, and buy your groceries there.
5. Video Purchases/Rentals
If you currently purchase movies, stop it. Or, at least, limit your DVD purchases to one a month. Also, ditch your DirecTV, and Dish Network pay-per-view for more economical rentals. Blockbuster, and Netflix are great online alternatives. The membership is nominal, and you get the same great movies for less delivered to your door. Do you have a Redbox near you? Redbox is an even cheaper way to save on DVD rentals. They cost only $1.00 per day plus tax to rent. That’s it. Find out if you have a Redbox near you at Redbox.com.
Reduce your entertainment with some clever alternatives. Instead of a big night out to dinner and the movies, plan for an evening in. Do a theme night, like Mexican mariachi night, Chinese cuisine night, or pizza pizzazz night. Name it, so everyone can associate it with a family memory. You can play games afterward or watch a movie you rented from Redbox. Pop the popcorn and watch family memories, and your savings grow.
7. Online Memberships
There are many online memberships you can enroll in that can save you money on items you have already bought. MyPoints.com is a great way to earn points, and buy at a discount items you already purchase.
This includes electricity, gas and phone. Turn off your lights when you leave a room. Turn down your temperature at night, and when you’re not home at night. Turn off anything when you’re not using or watching – e.g., TV, computer. Replace your incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs. You may even want to revisit your home phone service. Are there services you can do without? You may even want to do away with your home phone service altogether, if you have cable. You could use your cell phone as your sole source for calls. There are cell companies with unlimited calling plans for as low as $25 a month. Cricket is a good example.
Consolidate your trips. Taking little Sarah to her soccer game? Include a trip to the store on the way home. You may also want to drop off your water payment, too, if it’s on the way.
If you find that you have very little at the end of the month after cutting out all the expenses possible, you may want to consider looking for a new job. Yes, the economy is in turmoil. Some, however, have found that it is a cloud with a silver lining. Although, the jobless rate is staggering, there are many opportunities for those who have the qualifications. Post your resume on online job boards. Do a search on the web, and it’ll turn up more than you’d want to know about. Make sure to refresh your resume daily on these sites. Hiring managers look for newly posted resumes, and you’ll keep yours in the running if it appears fresh daily.