Living paycheck to paycheck is never a desirable circumstance. Sure, we should always be grateful for what we have, and if we can support our lives and families with each paycheck – even if it leaves little extra – then that is more satisfactory than some rather unfortunate alternatives. However, these days it’s never been easier to spend money. You do not even need to leave your house to make your wallet smaller. In fact, you could spend your whole paycheck from your phone if you wanted to. It’s no secret that we, as Americans, spend more than we should and often live outside of our means, and yet many of us complain that we do not have enough money. Being smart with your money will not only give you additional saving opportunities for things like education, vacation, or a house, but it will also help you get out of debt, or better yet, stay out of debt in the first place. Here are some simple suggestions everyone can follow to put a little extra cash in their pocket and their bank accounts:
Save Loose Change
Anyone who has filled up a large jar of loose change can tell you that it usually adds up to more than you may think. Just give it a try; it may come in handy on a rainy day.
Eliminate Impulse Purchases
We all love to spoil ourselves from time to time, but do you often find yourself buying items that get used once, if that? Next time you’re tempted to buy something on impulse, turn around and drive home. Sleep on it, and if you still feel you need, deserve, or want that item after 24 hours, then you may consider buying it. An even better principle is to wait a full month before deciding on that impulse buy. If the desire for the item is gone, then you’ve just saved yourself from buyer’s remorse. Multiply this one occurrence by many, and well….you’ve got quite the little savings started, don’t you?
Be Smart and Conscious of Credit Card Purchases
Racking up credit card debt is never a good idea. The interest rates can just kill and ultimately prolong or altogether prevent your ability to pay off the balance. Try sticking to purchases that you KNOW you can quickly pay off at the end of the month.
This one is a no-brainer, and you do not need to be an accountant to figure it out. You know what you need for groceries, gas, car payments, mortgage or rent payments, and other bills. At the beginning of each month, plan accordingly how much you will spend for each necessity. The leftovers can be put immediately into savings.
Is It Worth It?
Sometimes, even a good sale is hard to pass up. A $100 pair of sunglasses marked down from $150 is a great deal, right? Well, before you shell out the dough, stop and think about how hard you worked for that $100. Say you make $10/hour…that means you worked 10 hours to buy those sunglasses, and that’s assuming you didn’t have any taxes deducted. Are those name brand sunglasses still worth it? Or will a $25 pair suffice?
Create Shopping Lists
Make a list before you leave for the store, and then stick to it! Also, if you’re going grocery shopping, it might be a good idea to go on a full stomach. You’re actually less likely to purchase things you normally wouldn’t buy.
Invite Friends Over
Whether you are single or married looking for a night out with friends, try inviting them over every now and then. Make them a meal, or try all making a meal together. Play games, watch a movie, or just talk and catch up. Do you know how much it costs just to go to dinner and a movie for two people? If we’re being generous, you will spend at least $30 for two people. More realistically, if you go to a restaurant that isn’t fast food, you’re looking at spending $50 once you factor in movie tickets. Go to a nicer restaurant, and well you can easily spend $100, and that’s just for dinner and a movie!
Inexpensive Entertainment For Kids
Children’s toys can become ridiculously expensive. While every child should have some toys of their own, they do not need to be expensive to be enjoyable. Try inventing fun games with your kids, or have them make things out of everyday items with their own creative minds. The greatest toy a child can have is their parents’ attention. Play with them yourselves. Show them how fun it can be just using your imagination.
You Don’t Need The Latest And Greatest
You buy the latest tablet, phone, TV, car, or computer, and within 3-6 months there is something even better. You don’t need it. You may not even need the “older” version of whatever device you want. Service providers always want you to get the best, to bundle and “save”, and upgrade. None of it is really necessary. With TV, phone, and internet, you do not need the greatest ultimate package available. Shop around, look at the different packages, and make your decision based on what is affordable and necessary. Don’t worry that your neighbors and coworkers may have something better than you. If you’re saving more money, that’s far more important.
There are so many other small ways that can save you more money than you realize. Even if you abide by only a couple of these suggestions, you are sure to notice the difference. Challenge yourself to cut back on areas where you are overindulging. There may be some unforeseen benefits aside from the monetary ones.