10 Easy Tips to Get in Great Financial Shape

by Tracy · 1 comment

Even if you’re not one of the millions of people who are unemployed or underemployed, the current economy has probably convinced you that it’s time to learn how to live a more frugal lifestyle and start putting some money away for hard times.

People are finally realizing that buy now, pay later comes with serious consequences and the only way to feel financially secure is to live below your means now so that you have the funds to weather any storm.

Learning to live on 80% of your income will pay off in the long run. Not only will you be able to increase your savings, you’ll also be better prepared to live off less if the worst happens. Living paycheck to paycheck is a recipe for disaster.

1. Track your expenses. The best way to get started is to figure out exactly where your money is going. Chances are you’ll be a little shocked and maybe even appalled at how much you are frittering away on things like eating out, entertainment and items you buy on whim but never use.

Some of your expenses, like your mortgage, will be fixed and not easily reduced but chances are good that you’ll find lots of painless ways to cut back.

2. Buying drinks and snacks on the go can add up quickly. Learn to get in the habit of carrying water and healthy snacks with you and eating before you leave the house. This isn’t only a good way to save money, it can also help you lose weight and eat a more healthy diet.

3. Smoking and excess drinking are also expensive, unhealthy habits. Check to see if your insurance company will help you pay for smoking cessation aids and classes. Even if they don’t, it’s still worth paying out of pocket since smoking can cost thousands of dollars a year. If you choose to drink alcohol, practice moderation as it’s healthier for your body and pocketbook.

4. Brown bag it! Again, it’s amazing how many frugal habits can also be healthy habits. You’ll also be able to enjoy your lunch hour more as you’re not rushing to get your food and eat it before you need to get back to the office. Sandwiches, salads and leftovers are all easy lunches that take minutes to prepare.

5. Learn to cook from scratch. Ingredients for meals might cost more upfront, but you’ll be able to make many meals from staples like eggs, flour and spices. You can cook big batches of soups, stews and casseroles and freeze them to make your own homemade convenience foods.

6. Make water your primary beverage. It’s practically free from the tap and a much better choice for your health than sodas or other sugary drinks. If your tap water doesn’t taste great, you can get a water filter or buy filtered water in large jugs instead of relying on individual sized bottles of water.

7. Learn to plan your meals based on what’s on sale and in season that week. Being flexible about what you buy and eat can save you a lot of money and give you a wider variety of meals. Coupons can also be huge money savers, but always compare prices and don’t buy anything you normally wouldn’t just because you have a coupon.

8. Delay gratification. Give yourself a mandatory cooling off period before making any purchase. Chances are good that once you’re outside the store, whatever it is will seem much less appealing.

9. Pay yourself first.
Treat your savings like a bill and pay it as soon as you are paid, rather than waiting until the end of the month to save what is leftover.

10. Discontinue any unnecessary services. Do you need cable and Netflix? Do you really need a data plan for your phone? How often do you read the paper?

These small savings can add up to a healthy bank balance and a greater sense of financial security. It’s worth the relatively minor sacrifices to know that you’ll be able to make it if you lose your job or experience an emergency.

Bonus Tip:

Another way to save on your monthly Internet and TV costs is to find a current ATT U-Verse coupon code or at least a promotion to knock down your home service bill.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

jean nutson April 20, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Thanks very much david, for your tips it’s on financial issues and that is exactly what is very urgent to me now alongside my revenge.What i will be very glad most for you to tip me on is this,in the tips you stated that paying with credit card is not so favoured nowadays by the merchants so kindly tip me on the most effective way to get my cash to me very quickly since i already have a credit card here with me but want cash very urgently as well since it’s the most preferred especially in developing countries for payment.Thanks.

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