Ok guys, we are going back to basics! I thought I would revisit some of the main topics I used to always focus on; the tried and true ways that anyone can save money!
First up is the number one rule when it comes to saving money and living a frugal life: don’t spend more money than you make.
Simple right? Not always! It takes self discipline. You need to monitor your spending. You sometimes even need to say no to people and things.
This is a hard lesson for so many people, and I find that it is getting worse each year. We are getting to used to instant gratification: think of all the delivery systems for food and grocery and even things like Amazon Prime. You want it now? Ok, it’ll be on your door step right away! You want to watch a show? An exact episode, commercial free too! Consider it done! We don’t have to wait for anything anymore, and so people don’t want to wait until they have enough money either. My husband and I are very much of the “save up for it” group. We will save money for a vacation, or a large purchase, or we will find a way to increase our income to make something happen. We don’t go out and spend spend spend with the plans to figure it out later.
More and more people are living with large amounts of debt, increasing every year, instead of decreasing. We have been working very hard over the last 10 years to decrease our debt, while we see everyone around us increasing theirs! From increasing and refinancing mortgages, to expensive landscaping or other home improvements, to fancy vacations and constant shopping and new cars. If you have the money to do these things, that is great! But I’m sure most of us don’t have that much disposable income at the end of every month.
I’m not against taking out small loans or lines of credit, because home repairs and cars are expensive. We have of course had car loans in the past, and still have a mortgage. But we have also made sure to sign agreements that allow us to increase payments without penalty, so that we can pay it off much faster than the original term we sign on for. Have an extra $100 one month? Add that to your car loan! Did you get an income tax refund or do you or your spouse get an annual bonus from your employer? Put that on your mortgage, or use it to pay for the new deck or bathroom remodel. Planning ahead a little can make a world of difference! After all, you don’t want your hard earned money paying interest on a loan for the rest of your life!
Maybe you are living above your means and it isn’t even because of extravagant purchases. If money is just that tight each month, you probably need to sit down and really go over where your money is going, and make some hard decisions. Maybe that car you drive, that you need, is costing you too much in insurance, and something less flashy would be better. Maybe buying your coffee or lunch at work isn’t something you can afford right now. Maybe your phone plan is too much, and you just can’t afford a large data package. It isn’t easy making changes, and seeing people on social media living what seem to be perfect lives, doesn’t make it easier cutting things out of your own. There were many many years that my husband and I went without: no new clothes, no smart phones, no takeout and certainly no vacations. It wasn’t easy watching everyone around us enjoying these things, but you know what, it paid off in the long run. Not everything can happen instantly, especially when it comes to money.
So this month, I challenge you to do a little spring cleaning of your finances. Sit down and go over your bank statements and your credit card bills. See if you are spending more or less than you make. If you are spending less, that’s fantastic! Even if it’s just by a few dollars, less is less! If you’ve got more than a few bucks left at the end of the month, open a new savings account and start planning for something fun, or put that extra money onto an existing loan. If you discover you are spending more than you make, take a look at why. Where exactly is your money going, and what can be cut out or cut back on to help each month.
Let me know in the comments, or on social media how you make sure you spend less than you make each month! How do you save money each month?