Manage your money a little more aggressively than you ever have
Is there anything worse that getting your latest credit card statement? I get anxious just seeing it appear in my inbox. You know, all this talk about raising the minimum wage to a “livable wage” of fifteen dollars an hour is ridiculous. Sounds good on paper, unless you’ve worked for years to achieve that rate of pay! But besides those politics, people are just so out of touch with us, the real working class, the ones that makes less than twenty dollars an hour. Sure this supposed proposed “living wage” could work out – if there were ZERO emergencies in life. If nothing ever came up like car problems, hospital bills or unfair judgments, then sure you could live on that much. But life is full of those surprises and that’s why most of us have credit card debt. We handle our affairs as best we can, but we struggle. We need to stretch that dollar, so here’s a few more ways to do that (beyond what we’re already doing):
Develop a consistent knowledge of your fluctuating bank balance. Have a firm grip on how much you’ll need to pay bills. Maintaining a hold of how much money you actually have to work with means the difference between Applebee’s or McDonalds, generic mouthwash or Scope. It’s always necessary to be honest about what you can’t afford. That’s the important first step to taking control and managing your money wisely. If you’re in debt, you need to find a way to make more than the minimum payment that is designed to keep you on the hook forever.
So how can we improve the shrewdness of our spending? First, you want to find the best deal on everything you buy. Coupons, clearance items, rebates and sales will enable you to get the lowest prices possible. It’s astounding how many discounts you can find online if you just look for it. If you find a particular deal that is unusually favorable, buy as many of that product as you can manage. If they’re unbeatable, join them!
You understand the philosophy of knowing what not to buy. Separating what you need from what you want. Learn to hold off on certain purchases until the price eventually comes down. There are even price trackers that will alert you when prices hit an all time low. Stop paying to have tasks done that you can do yourself – changing your oil, for instance. It’s a dirty job, but it’s easy, there is a tutorial video online for practically every make of car. Learn to do it, save money and increase your independence. And instead of buying trash bags, reuse your grocery bags. This will help you learn to recycle in other areas as well. Soon you’ll be repurposing for financial benefit like nobody’s business. You may even opt to repair your old torn clothes rather than buy new ones. That may be asking a bit much of yourself, but it’s all the means to an end – financial independence.
There’s a trap you don’t want to get stuck in – feeling sorry for yourself. You may feel sad that you have to live frugally to begin with, but you shouldn’t. When you consider that forty-five million Americans live in poverty, you can be absolutely proud that you are actually doing something about your situation, taking active measures to better yourself. You know what you ultimately want out of life and you are learning the ways to make it all happen. One day at a time.
Naturally you’ll need to devise a budget. You’ll do best if you actually write it all down. Have any non-essential expenses (like Starbucks EVERY day?) that are in fact wasting money? Cut them. In your budget paperwork list your goals. Be aware that the few dollars here and there do add up, and these are savings that provide you with more options. It’s all about how you work it. You’ve already demonstrated your intelligence by choosing to be frugal, imagine how smart you feel when it begins paying off.
Don’t be too proud to accept charity in the form of free samples. Go online and sign up for them. Soon you’ll learn just how abundant free things – with or without coupons – are. If you’re really assertive you could even find yourself eating for free from time to time.
Among the more overlooked free perks are those available from your local library. Besides the obvious – free entertainment in the form of book and movie rentals, they also have many fun events. These affairs often feature food, crafts, and even helpful seminars. Always be up to date and check out what’s going on at your local library.
When you start living frugally, you discover new ways to save money. Soon it all becomes second nature. From clipping those coupons to becoming an incessant do-it-yourselfer; from eating out less often to carpooling whenever possible; every time you turn a corner something new pops up to make you say, “I can’t believe I hadn’t thought about that!’
Please share your most effective means of saving money in the world of frugal living!