There are many ways to reduce expenses and manage money. Many are uncomplicated and do not make you feel as though you are living on an austerity budget. Simple solutions work best as they require less effort to maintain and are easy to remember.
Use A Budget Worksheet For Money Management
This may take a little work initially, but it is a sure-fire method of getting a handle on how your money is spent. Use either a computer spreadsheet or a simple notebook and pencil to track your income and expenses. Do this monthly to get an overview of your cash flow. With this simple worksheet, you can see where changes in your habits and lifestyle will reduce your expenses and increase your potential savings and debt reduction.
Pay Yourself First
Regardless of your indebtedness, it is important to maintain and grow a savings fund. Everyone needs savings for unforeseen emergencies and planned purchases. Make deposits to your savings account a compulsive requirement each and every payday. Even if it is only $10 or $20 dollars per pay period, it is important to have a reserve available for unforeseen expenses which always seem to happen when you can least afford it.
Track Cash Expenses
Miscellaneous cash purchases are a leech to any budget. Cash just disappears, almost magically. Resist the impulse to stop at an ATM for a cash withdrawal. Give yourself a weekly allowance and stick to it. Coffee, snacks, lunch, magazines or other casual purchases should all come out of your allowance. If necessary, leave the ATM card in a drawer at home to keep you from exceeding your weekly allowance.
Do Not Make Major Purchases Impulsively
If you are contemplating a major purchase, spend time researching the product and the potential savings that may be available through discounts, coupons or rebates. Scour the Internet for best price locations, the availability of coupons or rebates and the possibility of future sales events. To buy an item, only to find it a few weeks later on sale, is not only a big disappointment but also a lost opportunity to save even further.
Use Coupons And Discounts To Save Money
Look for coupons and discounts for everything. Restaurants routinely use coupons that are available in mailers, emails, websites and group purchasing websites. Discount retailers have advertised as well as unadvertised weekly specials. Chain retailers have various coupons available on an ongoing basis. Competition for your business is fierce in this economy. A consumer almost never has to pay full price if he is willing to do a little research for very few things.
Use Generic Substitutes
Try generic versions of branded products. Many items have generic counterparts that are very suitable substitutions. It’s a good idea to test an item before buying it in bulk. Generic tuna may be really poor in comparison to the name brand. A facial tissue may be scratchy and hard when compared to your preferred brand. However, many fine generic products are available. For the most part, you will be pleased with the quality and will definitely be happy with the savings you will see in your monthly expenses.
Bundle Services For Savings
Many service providers offer substantial saving for bundling a number of their products together. Research the companies you are currently using and compare them to alternative businesses providing the same services. Do not feel obligated to stick with the same insurance company just because you have used them for a long time. Brand loyalty is counterproductive to managing your finances. Go with the provider who can provide the best service for the least possible cost.
Cable TV, phone and Internet providers have savings plans based on the number of their services you bundle together. Insurance companies offer discounts for bundling home, auto and boat insurances together.
Using Bill Consolidation To Reduce Your Monthly Expenses
If your finances include multiple credit card companies or hospital and medical bills, for which you pay minimal or just-above-minimum payments, you should consider bill consolidation. Bill consolidation can reduce your indebtedness, drop your APR finance rate and lower your monthly payment. Finance rates keep many from significantly decreasing their debt, as finance charges accrue.
Call one of our experienced and qualified credit counselors to help you evaluate your current credit card obligations. Together, we can develop a plan for getting out of debt permanently and build your financial future. Make money management tips a thing you offer to others and not something you have to worry about for yourself.