It is the end of the month and you are wondering how comes your bills have soared that high or your paycheck doesn’t seem to make sense at all. Living from paycheck to paycheck is a habit most middle income families go through and it is draining to say the least. You may even have attended talks and lectures on financial management, but still you seem to get things wrong. Instead of cascading down the hill of financial failure, it is for your own benefit if you stop and smell the coffee because learning how to save money is a skill like any other which you can internalize and work it to your advantage.
Below are some tips that will stop you from dreaming and spring you into action as you do something about your finances today.
Build Better Relationships
Relationship building is the first step if you want to pull yourself from the financial quicksand and start a saving culture. There are several ways you can build these relationships amongst them are:
Talking to your bank – If you have loans or credit card debt, talking to your bankers particularly on the interest rates and your plans to pay off that debt can win you better deals and rates. Unless you talk to them, you may never know what is possible.
Make friends – Friendships are support systems that can help you live in frugality. For instance, instead of hanging out at expensive brunches and the movies, you can decide to go to a pack or explore a nearby town where none of you has spent time in.
Evolve Your Entertainment Options
Review your perspective of entertainment and if possible drop the expensive options in favor of the less costly ones. For instance, reading a book is cheaper and much more rewarding than going to the movies. If you have a cable subscription, analyze the number of channels that you watch and filter out what is not necessary so that you can downgrade and still enjoy your life.
Shop Smart and Eat Smart
Shopping takes a significant chunk of the family budget because somehow elicits excitement within us to go for things that we do not need or cannot afford. The best way to shop is to have a list that you follow carefully. If something is not in the list, it means it is not that important otherwise you would have remembered and included it while making the list. Instead of throwing out rotten or spoiled food, have a habit of regularly checking your fridge or pantry and pick out any stuff that is about to expire. Cook in bulk as this saves money and time. Compare prices in grocery stores, pay close attention to expiration dates when shopping, and forego expensive habits such as cigarette smoking and drinking.
Make Use of Technology to Your Advantage
Technology came so that tasks that would have taken us so much time to do or much effort to remember are lifted off our shoulders. When used wisely, technology can save you money. For instance, you can set up offers on your email account or invest in a programmable thermostat that saves you lots of energy. Subscribing to online banking can also save you money because you will be able to make your bill payments early enough to avoid penalties and take advantage of discounts.
If you are careful on the way you live, you can save lots of money which can be put into some other use. For instance, resting your dryer can save you on electricity and running ceiling fans counterclockwise in summer and in a clockwise direction in winter can save you lost of money in energy. You can also develop a habit of unplugging chargers and other devices when not in use because this tends to suck energy.
When it comes to saving, the devil is in the details. Looking at the small things that steal your cash from you and developing a strategy to tame them, can be the beginning of your robust saving culture.