It’s tax season once again, the time to look for all of those receipts you promised yourself you would save at this time this year. You have to scrounge around for all sorts of paperwork, and spend hours trying to figure out the tax code which is longer than several novels. When all is said and done, you look at your 1040 form and sigh. “Did I really make that much?!” A lot of people look at their completed 1040 form only to realize that they made tens of thousands of dollars last year and really didn’t have much to show for it all. People realize that their spending is just out of control and something needs to change.
Here are ten ways that you can start spending less money this week:
1. Get rid of your car payment. Most of us have car payments that which are setting us back $200 or $300 a month. Sure we can make the payment, but when we’re putting out this much money every month for the rest of our life, it’s going to hurt over a long period of time. A good $2000 or $3000 car will drive just as well as a very expensive brand new one. Consider selling your over-priced vehicle and get into something more affordable.
2. Be smart at the grocery store. We could spend a lot less money each week at the grocery store if we put the effort into it. This means using coupons, buying generic brands, doing comparison shopping, going to different grocery stores, and the like. Make a list and only buy what you need, and only what’s on the list you bring. This will help prevent impulsive and un-necessary purchases.
3. Cut up your credit cards. Credit cards really don’t do anything for us but put us into debt. A Dunn and Bradstreet study stated that we’ll statistically spend more money when we pay with plastic versus cash. Close your credit card accounts, and you’ll be forced to only buy what you can afford.
4. Say Goodbye to Fast Food – We spend a lot of money at McDonalds, Burger King, and other fast food restaurants. It’s really one of the most expensive ways to buy food. We go to these places every week, and pay far too much for a meal. Limit yourself to going out to eat only once or twice a week, and don’ go past that.
5. Re-evaluate Your Insurances. – Every now and then we should all go back and look at the insurances that we have. Re-compare rates, make sure that you are getting the best deal, and make sure that you have the right kind of insurances. If you have life insurance when you don’t need it,
or some type of gimmick insurance, you’re just throwing cash out the window.
6. Turn The Library into the Rental Store – Quit buying books from Amazon and renting movies from Netflix or Blockbuster. You can get movies and books for free just by heading on down to your local library. If you don’t like their selection, chances are you have friends with huge movie collections, so borrow some from them.
7. Shop Online – Whenever you are going to make a purchase of over $50.00, take the time and check quick if you can get a comparable product on the internet for less. It’ll only take you a few minutes, and you can save quite a bit after a period of time.
8. Minimize your utility bills. There are a lot of simple fixes around the house that you can make which will cut down your utility bills dramatically. You can put a brick in the toilet, take shorter showers, un-plug devices that aren’t being used, make sure all your windows are sealed tight, drop the thermostat a few degrees and the like. With
9. Re-evaluate your phone plans. If you have a cell-phone and a landline, do you really need both? Are you wasting minutes on your cell-phone or getting beat up by too many text messaging charges? Make sure that you have the right cell-phone and long distance plans for you, and that you aren’t wasting money or getting hit by huge overages.
10. “No” is an acceptable answer. A lot of us have just forgotten that “no” is an acceptable answer. Sometimes we genuinely can’t afford what we want and we have to realize it. When we always let ourselves have what we want is what caused us to get in trouble in the first place, so practice out loud and tell yourself “no” when you have a want that you genuinely can’t afford.
Benjamin Franklin was right, “a penny saved is a penny earned.” Sometimes we aren’t making enough money, but a lot of times we’re just spending too much to begin with!