If you are having money problems or looking to start paying off your debt, you will be looking for ways to cut spending and save money. There are endless ways to save money and spend less but none of that can happen if you aren’t ready to take a hard look at your lifestyle. Saving money requires being honest with yourself and others. Stop trying to fool everyone with how rich you are when you are actually drowning in debt. Be real and create actual financial security for yourself and your family by examining where you are wasting money.
The first steps you need to change are stop living outside your means and stop putting consumables on credit cards. Living outside your means is a sure fire way to strap yourself with debt for the rest of your life. Anything you will shit out or throw out at the end of the day is a consumable. Food, gas, beer, cigarettes and the like are all consumables. If you don’t have it anymore and will still be paying the bill, guess what, you shouldn’t be charging it. This is stupid and you won’t ever have a sound financial future.
If You Don’t Need It, Cut it Out
If you do want to cut some spending out of your budget, take a look at what you don’t need. If you don’t watch much tv, consider dropping your cable and using Hulu or Netflix. These services offer an abundance of programming at a cost of about $10 per month. You may be able to save hundreds a month by cutting the cable bill. At the same time, review your internet and phone bills. Just last month, I was able to save $20 per month simply by calling my provider and getting a better rate. Consider if you still need a home phone, many people don’t, so drop it. Shop around for your cell phone service too. Cell phone companies are offering the most competitive rates right now. Switching your carrier could not only get you a much better rate but they may credit you the fees associated with canceling your old service. While we are talking about that, please don’t finance your cell phone – that’s ridiculous. Pick up a prepaid phone at the store or online for $100 or less and have it activated on your plan in place of that $750 piece of junk phone they want you to finance.
Save Money & Energy
Since it’s April and Earth Day is coming, let’s talk about saving energy in your home and vehicle. Do you pay attention to how much energy your family is using? Making a conscious effort to turn off lights and water when you aren’t using them is not only good for the planet but good for your pocketbook. Open your windows or use a ceiling fan instead of constantly blasting AC all summer long. In the winter, turn down your heat before bed or install a programmable thermostat. Compost food scraps to use for your garden and save on both your trash collection and grocery bill. Try carpooling or taking the bus to work or efficiently planning your trips outside the home to save you both gas and time. My husband carpools with a friend and I get all of my shopping done on Sunday so I neither of us has to drive everyday.
None of the above requires any real sacrifice but can save you a ton of money every year on your utilities. It’s just extra money in your pocket that you can use to pay off debts or to spend on family time activities. Moving on from utilities, consider your shopping habits. Plan family meals and take a list to the grocery store. Stop eating out at restaurants and fast food chains. The health effects alone for your family will be worth it. Pack a lunch instead of buying food at work. Take your coffee instead of buying Starbucks in the morning.
Save Money, Change Shopping Habits
Wait for great store sales before doing your seasonal shopping. Some retailers have frequent sales up to 30% off store wide several times a season. Buying everything you need for the season during the sale could save you hundreds. By the way, don’t charge it. Plan ahead, save the money and shop within your budget. There’s no point in shopping on credit, the interest will cost you more in the long run than the coupons saved you.
Come Christmas time, stop buying everyone you have come into contact with during the year a Christmas gift. You buy crap for your family, they buy crap for you and none of you want any of it. Tell them to save their money and spend it on their own kids. Unless you are buying cars for everyone you know, believe me they don’t want it. And if you could afford that, you wouldn’t be reading this post.
Stop spending your hard earned money on the neighbor’s kids fundraising. This crap isn’t for a good cause. You already pay your school taxes which gives them a shitty education for free. If their parents can’t afford their soccer, dance, and music lessons then they shouldn’t join them – it isn’t your problem or your responsibility. While they are using your donations to go on family vacations, you are suffering trying to pay your bills, screw them.
Lastly, I would like to explain a few things about “personal care” expenses. No one believes you are naturally, perfectly tanned in the middle of January. You are look orange and you are going to get skin cancer so stop buying unlimited tanning packages. In the summer, put on some sunscreen, go outside and take a walk. Play with your kids in the yard or sit down in the sunshine- you’ll get a tan. In the winter we don’t get tan, that’s life, deal with it. Think you can’t live without dying your hair and wearing fake nails? Seriously, fake nails? Paint your nails at home if you think you need to and stop biting them. You are probably nervous because you can’t afford to pay for those touch ups.
Save Money, Stupid
Let’s all stop being stupid about our financials. Get it under control. Stop wasting, charging and faking your lifestyle. Be real and buy what you can afford. The more you save money the better you’ll feel so afford your life if you want to be real.