In these days of economic hardship, many families are discovering they need to go without many of the products and services they’ve accepted as necessities. But foreclosed homes and loss of job income promise a future of yet more austerity measures.
To survive in today’s economic climate, everyone needs to save more and cut back. While cutting back on expensive jewelry and trendy fashions are the first to go, most of financial hardships comes from things we take for granted.
The average family carries upwards of 17 credit cards. This amounts to a great deal of debt. While interest rates have not gone down with the slowdown of the economy, few families today can afford to carry this many cards. The interest alone can make purchases far more expenses than the sticker price. The main purpose of a credit card is to pay for emergencies and items that can be paid off in full when the bill arrives. To save more, your best bet is to keep the low interest cards and cut up the rest. Better still is to go on debit and forget credit altogether.
It’s not necessary to go to the movies every other day or eat out every day. The additional expenses of taxes, alcohol, gratuities, popcorn and candy can be considerable for a family of five. Renting videos are a better alternative since most homeowners now possess big screen television. Netflix and other online video rentals make it possible to see movies online. If your expenses are overwhelming, you can always bring home a free movie from the library. Dining out should be reserved to special occasions.
Burning Holes into Your Pockets
It never seems worthwhile to carry small change. But spending a dollar or two can add up to big expenses over the course of a month. You can survive without that daily cafe latte from Starbucks or the daily paper unless you’re a business executive. In many cases you can listen to the radio for your fix of news. Keep tabs of that loose change and where it goes.
The Sins of Habit
Smoking is one item you should eliminate altogether. It’s one habit that can translate to a healthier you once you’ve quit. Given the price of alcohol, most people will do well by cutting down their alcohol consumption.
Habits often translate into impulse buying, a habit that few consider. Today’s teens are compelled by their group think to get into financial difficulty by getting the latest iphones, computers, video games and ipads. Many adults, likewise, feel it necessary to purchase new furniture and appliances when the old ones work fine.
A telephone is a useful communication tool. But few people need the extra calling features. If you have a cell phone, your telephone can be eliminated altogether. You don’t need to dry clean your clothes every day. A second car is often unnecessary. Taking the bus, car pooling or even taking a bike to work are good methods to saving on fuel costs. A bigger house takes a great deal to heat and is costly when insurance, property taxes and maintenance are factored in.
When you take a closer look at your lifestyle, you’ll discover several ways you can be frugal and still maintain your standard of living. All it takes is some discipline to eliminate wasteful spending habits. Today’s economic climate promises to get worse, so acting now can help you survive through the years of austerity ahead.