Saving Money

     If you’re in a financial rut and wondering how to get out and back on your feet, it may be a lot easier than you know.  I have seen many people that get stressed over money, and why not?  Money is what makes this world go round, like it or not that is the reality of it.

     People seem to have a problem saving money when they see no big gain in their bank account.  I personally have a job that doesn’t pay the greatest but it is enough.  Many people have large amounts of cash flow, but just don’t see it.  At every payday I would look at my year to date income and think “wow where did all of that go.”  Here’s a tip, write it down.  Write every expense down, and in a months time you may be surprised, I know I was.  Recently I started putting most of money into a checking account, and I would use the debit card a lot more. The bank I go through has an online account viewer where you can manage all of your money right online.  One day I thought I should check out my money and realized that I had a lot less than I thought.  I hadn’t recently spend a large amount of money at any given place, and that’s where my problems came to light.

     I am sitting fine financially but I am not gaining, I am always just at an even nice balance and getting by with no complaints.  I seen through my account expenses, many very small dents from McDonalds and gas stations etc…  A cheeseburger at a time and a soda for a fill up landed me about $50!  Next time you go into the gas station and think hey, I should grab a snack, don’t!  Gas station snacks and beverages are always at an inflated price.  Take that same amount of money and place it somewhere in your vehicle, purse, or wallet.  Instead of fast food for lunch, go to the grocery store every payday and pick up some food that is equivalent to what you desire after working five hours.  I know what it’s like to be hungry and tired at work and all you want to do is grab a hot burger from the nearest fast food restaurant, but give it a half hour in the store and you will be satisfied for the week and money ahead.  Track your expenses for one month and you will see what I am talking about, live how you normally do, spend how you’d normally spend.  You work hard for your dollar, and you have every right to buy that Snickers bar, but you may be happier with a wad of cash at the end of your month than five minutes of chocolate, if that.

     Many people do not see the nonsense they throw their money at, it’s quite amazing.  Casinos for example is a form of entertainment where I am from, we don’t have much of anything else for a group of friends to do.  When we go to the casino I notice people will go in with wallets open and ready.  Slow it down!  Go in with a plan, an escape route if you will.  A casino isn’t in all a terrible place, but is when a flashy machine takes all of your hard earned cash.  Same goes for the movies, the mall, an amusement attraction, or any form of entertainment.  People want to have fun, and in order to do so you normally have to spend money, and that’s fine but always have that plan that fits your budget.

     I noticed a great power in something so little at my job two years back.  My friends and I would go to Taco Bell almost everyday, the driver complained about change, he hated it.  Me personally, loved it.  We would go everyday and get the same thing, an 80 cent burrito, we would all get our money out and hand it to the driver, when he got the change he would hand it back to me.  Almost everyday I got half my burrito back in change.  Not many people respect that jingle in their pocket.  I cleaned all my pockets and found all my change spots throughout the house and the car and came up with a heavy jug of that same jingle.  In one day I had $46 of what didn’t seem like a whole lot of change.  A lot of people have little change spots throughout, whether it be on your bedroom floor, the washer and dryer, your car cup holder, or the couch.  Eliminate all those spots and just have one from your pocket to a jar, and on payday when you go to the bank ask them to put the change into your savings. 

     When you start to save money don’t throw large amounts of your check into your savings because you will most likely have to withdraw a lot later for necessities.  Find an amount that you’re happy with, adjust for each check and your budget and you find a happy amount to save.  Keep goals in mind to further that drive to keep that money tucked away.  If you see a computer, t.v., gun, bow, boat, car, house, shoes, whatever it is keep it in mind and think “I could afford that”, after all do you really need it now?  It is a very good feeling to go and buy that expensive item with cash not credit, and truly own it. 

     Emergency funds are very necessary.  What if you lose your job tomorrow?  It would be nice to have some money in the bank to float on while finding another job.  It may be a drag to save money specifically for something that may never happen, but look at it as a way to keep you or your family on your feet just in case.  Save enough money that you would think will last two or three months jobless. 

     Never buy on credit unless completely crucial!  Credit looks and feels to be a great thing, you see an amazing deal on a car but don’t have the money, well the bank always does.  You will ALWAYS lose money on credit no matter how low the interest rate.  You really need a car though, nope you don’t, you have one that doesn’t look, smell, or sound the greatest but it’s going down the road right?  Just think you buy a car at $5,000, you get down to $2,000 and lose your job, with no money to feed the piggy bank, you lose the car that you had already paid $3,000.  Save until you can absolutely pay in full with cash.  This is the hardest and most difficult that most Americans face.  You want it and you want it now!  You don’t need it now, wait.  Trust me on this one.

     I hope I could help in some way.  Remember, you don’t need the candy bar, or that soda.  You really don’t need that flashy car right now, and you shouldn’t spend so much money on those go carts.  Save all your change, and plan always for an undesirable misfortune.