Finding a way to spend less than you actually earn is a common goal for most people. In a world full of credit, it is far too easy to get consumed by it, and find yourself in insurmountable debt. Few people purchase things the hard way, savings for large purchases such as, appliances, vehicles, and homes, and put everything possible on credit. This not only leads people to purchase things that they can’t afford, but the finance charges alone can end up costing you more than the price of the original purchase.
Stay away from credit
Although many people may scoff at shying away from credit, this is a must if you are trying to spend less than you earn, especially if you are already in debt. It is acceptable to keep a credit card for emergencies, but try not make a habit out of using it regularly. Although this is true, don’t cancel all your credit cards. This can negatively affect your credit score. So, what do you do if you need make a large purchase? Try doing it the old fashioned way. You can open up a savings account strictly for this purpose and start saving. It will feel like a great accomplishment once you have finished saving and can finally purchase your item. Also, there won’t be any debt attached to the purchase.
A proper budget will help keep your finances on track. Creating a budget can be as simple as opening a spreadsheet, or you may want to use an online service such as Mint.com or Quicken.com. The most important part is that you see where you money is going and to learn how to prevent overspending. Don’t forget about annual expenses such as birthdays, holidays, and vehicle registration. A good idea is to track your spending for three months before committing to your new budget. This way, you will see where your money is actually going and what you can cut back on.
Cut Out Extra Expenses
Daily trips to a coffee shop, fast food for lunch, frequent stops at the grocery store, and purchasing water bottles by the individual bottle are all expenses that add up quickly. It is far cheaper to make coffee and put it in a disposable or reusable travel mug each morning, than to stop at a coffee shop each morning. Like iced coffee? Simply brew your coffee (or tea), sweeten while hot, and store it in the refrigerator until ready to use. Then, pour in a cup over ice and add milk or cream to taste. It is cheaper to purchase cups at a local commercial supplier such as, Smart & Final, and make these drinks at home, than to head stop on the way to work and spend $3 per drink!
Time is a commodity that people often take for granted. People say that they never have time to prepare or make things at home, but when you factor in the time that you spend stopping at fast food places, watching TV, and on other mindless activities, there is always time to save yourself some cash. If you are committed to spending less than you earn, a little time and effort goes a long way.