Saving money is not an easy task in this economy. Your dollar doesn’t go as far as it did even five years ago, and sometimes we all find ourselves falling a little short at the end – or the beginning – of the month. There are, of course, lots of ways to save money, and a few cents a day can add up to a lot of dollars over a short time. Some money-saving methods are tough to stick with, while others are so surprisingly easy, we wonder why we didn’t think of these before.
Let’s take a look at ways to save money in a general sense. What we mean is: ways you can put money aside or save that aren’t necessarily categorized as “home savings” or “automobile savings” or other such headings. Some of these take real discipline, but others don’t even require a second thought. We’ll start with what is probably the most important method:
A lot of people don’t like this word. To some, it brings with it the feeling of restriction, the inability to be spontaneous, or just the perception of being less than wealthy. After all, wealthy folks don’t need to budget, right? Actually, in many cases, this is part of how they became wealthy in the first place. In “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, a famous self-help book from a few years back, financial budgeting was one of the most common practices of individuals who made over fifty thousand dollars a year. Many successful people continue to operate under a financial budget long after they’ve attained wealth and success. This is due in part because budgeting helps discipline the mind, helps a person develop other good habits and practices. As My Money Coach explains: “Budgeting is the process of creating a plan to spend your money. Creating this spending plan allows you to determine in advance whether you will have enough money to do the things you need to do or would like to do.” We could easily devote an entire entry to the process of budgeting, and there are a lot of online tools dedicated to helping you manage your money (most of them free of charge, just use your search engine to find one that’s right for you), but you don’t even need to be computer savvy to operate a financial budget. Get yourself a pen, a piece of paper and a calculator. There’s probably a calculator function on your phone or computer. Write down what your monthly bills and expenditures are and add them up. Then write down what you earn each month and compare the numbers. Let’s assume you make just a few dollars more than you need to spend each month. Even if that number is a small amount, a budget will help you build up savings, or give you an idea where you can cut expenses, or just plain give you that much-needed feeling of control over your livelihood. Having these things written down on a monthly basis will allow you to continually adjust your expenditures and plan for the future, even for things like a vacation or improvements to your home. After a few months of doing this, you may find that budgeting becomes a habit, and it’s a good one to have. You might even find yourself budgeting other things like your time. Parsing out blocks of your time in order to use it wisely will pay off in lots of ways.
Take a Cut off the Top
While you’re budgeting, try this little trick: deduct five or ten percent of your earnings before you spend money on anything else and leave it in your checking account. If you make five hundred dollars a week, ten percent will net you two hundred dollars a month. Over the course of a year, that’s well over two thousand dollars! Of course, if your budget is tight, then try just five percent, which will net you twelve hundred dollars by the end of a year’s time. Treat the deduction as just another expense and don’t dwell on it. Simply deduct the figure from your records and pretend it’s not there. This will be difficult at first, but over the course of time, will become as much a habit as anything else you do on a regular basis. We think you’ll be pleased with the end result.
Here’s a fairly easy one. Get yourself a jar and put it on whatever surface you keep your wallet and keys. When you get home each day, take whatever change you were given as a result of any transactions and throw it in the jar. You’ll be surprised how quickly this adds up. Many people like to keep their change in their car or wallet in order to get rid of it when they purchase things. But some studies have shown a tendency in people to actually spend more when they engage in this practice. Instead, put any change you get back throughout the course of the day in your pocket and then into that jar. Next time you go to your grocery store, check to see if they have a coin sorting machine out front with the soda and snack machines. Many stores provide this service because they are often in need of change themselves; there are some machines that take your change and give back paper money. Otherwise, you can always take that jar to your bank and they will usually sort it for you. Just a dime a day into the jar adds up to three bucks a month. Doesn’t sound like much? That’s just the result of one dime every day. Imagine what a quarter and some other change every day can add up to. As a responsible lender, CASH 1 would like to encourage you to practice responsible money management. If for some reason you find yourself short of funds someday, come talk to us about personal loans for people with bad credit in Nevada or Arizona. We’ll help you get back to budgeting.
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