Everyday folks ask me how to live cheaply? Well the answer lies in everyday actions and thoughts about the money you have.
Anytime the need to spend money comes up a few questions need to be ask. I do Need this? Can I do without? Can it be got a lot cheaper else where? Will it save time but mainly money? Do I need it right now?
Many times I have found not taking a few minutes taking a deep breath, counting to 50 more or less..Then making these kind of money choices.
One issue is paying for “things” on credit. Say in a short period of time you bought $80,000 of “stuff” on credit cards. Before I start I want to say most of the time the payment last a lot longer than the “Stuff”. So with this said the credit card payments would come to over $3000 per month. If the minimum payments of three grand was made for three years(36 months) a grand total of $108,000 paid out. Not bad? My math says most would still owe over $70,000.
So the first thing to do is rid yourself from the credit cycle and pay off debt ASAP..or soon as possible. The very first thing that needs to be done is start a budget. To control the money you need to see exactly where it has went. I find most people really don’t or even maybe don’t want to know where the money went. It is just so much easier to sit there and wine.
Take the log you kept for a month and study it. Maybe if you smoke you’ll See this very large expense.I’m not going to tell you to quit but maybe smoke half as many packs as you do now.It could be some other bad spending habit like a five to ten dollar a day coffee/donut thing going on..Make the coffee at home and find something else at a grocery store to have at the house for this morning delight.When you see what was spent our bad money habit show up in the numbers.
I’ve been frugal most of my life and at 55 I still find places to cut corners..Things sometimes like work long hard hours can take your mind from being frugal. Here is one example:working 60 plus hours per week and I tend to eat-out instead of making something at home.I find for what I spend on a couple days of eating out we can buy enough food for the whole week!
But at some point you have to get something that YOU want..I’m not saying live like a monk. Live life and enjoy while still frugal living as part of it. Don’t let money control YOU but You it.This spring comes to mind when I wanted to go to the Auto Show downtown.My dear wife said why don’t we save the fifty dollars and stay home? This just one of a few things that I love to do. Here is the kicker,while there Ford had a promotion to test drive a new Ford at a dealer and get a $50.00 gift card. So this year it was free plus all the other little junk we brought home.
I find the best way to save is to cut back on things the repeat over and over again. That coffee from the gas station, turning off lights/computers, Keeping the house too cold in the summer/too hot in the winter, family taking way too long hot showers(till the hot water runs out), and unplugging things not in use like that old freezer/refrig in the garage or basement. Just cutting back $20/month on the electric bill can save $240/year.. When I see a number like this I look at what I clear a pay and compare the percentage of one pay check..Say I clear $1000 every two weeks..then take $240 I see it worth almost 25% of one pay check. To me this is a lot of money..
One or two times a year I get numorous insurance quotes for home, car, and business. These large companies are always fighting for YOUR business..Over the last few years I have cut 100′s off these bills.. again if I saved $500 it would be half a paycheck.There again same product for less.
Other than my house payment food and gasoline seen to be my biggest overall expenses. Food can be one of the easiest places to save.First before I tell how to shop the one place to save big is with a thought menu..We waste way too much food ( I think I read it is 15-20%)..Eat left overs don’t buy fresh stuff unless you have the time to cook it. Stay away for fast-food/restaurants for what we spend in two meals pays for a weeks worth the food at home.Do Not grocery shop hungry ,but instead go right after you ate..This we help cut down on the impulse shopping.Look at the ads often so you learn what a good deal versus a great deal is. Clip coupons if you can or go on the WEB to print what coupons you think you might need.
Don’t be afraid to stock pile the really smart deals.Say jello is a thing the family likes and it usually one dollar a box nowadays.It is on sale and you have coupons which make twenty five cents a box..Buy 100 boxes if you can..You now have a enough Jello for twice a week for a year.Remember not to buy stuff that will expire..You can’t buy a years worth the milk/yogurt because it will spoil in a few weeks.
Now the other item is gasoline..If purchasing a car/truck fugue in the MPG(Mile Per Gallon) that this purchase will get. But no need to buy a car unless you drive a insane amount of mile.Combine trips. By maybe doing all errands at once like banking , shopping and paying bills. Are you a Mom with kids that are active? Try to find other Mom who you can take turns transporting the children. Car pooling to work can save a ton of gas. Like I said before saving on the things everyday is how to save the most.If driving cost you $15 a day in gas, sharing this with just one other driver will save $37.50 a week. Over a year this is $1875 and that is almost like getting a extra monthly paycheck if you clear $1000 every two weeks..
Hope I was A Help So Please come back and visit again, Mr Frugal Frank