I love this topic! So many people do not. It causes heart palpitations and night sweats if you are dealing with debt or more bills than paycheck. The good news is that there is always a solution! Plenty of solutions! You and I are going to make this fun and easy. You just have to be willing. You may have to make enormous changes…or just tweak a thing or two.
First, let’s becoming willing to do whatever we have to in order to get out of this tight situation. Let’s get creative and decide to have fun with this no matter what. This is a new game we are about to play and if you go about it with a sense of playful challenge…you will survive it and overcome!
The first thing we need to do is see where we are financially right now. What you will need is:
- Bank statements for a few months
- Pens, pencils, Highlighters of various colors (one color will do also).
- Notepad. Make this notepad just for this activity. You will use it for weeks and months.
- A strong drink (just kidding). A pot of coffee.
- Your spouse or partner.
Now let’s get started!
Where you are right now:
On your notepad you will make a few categories:
- Insurances: Life, medical, car
- Going out: meals out, movies, bars, coffee drinks
- Fun Shopping
- School supplies and clothes
- Gas for car(s)
- Maintenance for cars
- Commuting cost: Bus, train, bridge toll.
- Beauty cost: hair, nails, makeup.
There may be other things too. List it. Then highlight on your bank statements all the money going out to each category. This is so important because once we really see how much we spend on going out, eating out, buying lattes, shopping sprees…it can be a big wake up call. Just a $1.50 coffee 5 days a week on your commute can add up to $30 month and if it’s a latte $3.65 in a month can be $73. If we are talking beer, wine, and/or cigarettes…that can add up to hundreds if not an easy thousand dollars a month.
Find out what you are spending in each category each month and then figure out the monthly average.
Now that you know where that money is going…time to start cutting things out and trimming. This is the hard part. You’ll have to decide how much debt you have or how broke you are each month. Say your paychecks aren’t stretching the month and you just want to make it to the end of the month with ease and maybe save $50 too. You ask yourself and spouse/partner what you are all willing to do without. Maybe you can switch out the cable for a great HDTV antenna and get all the local channels? Maybe you only need a home phone or cell, but not both. How about getting rid of a car and walking or biking everywhere.
Then there are the big issues. If you are really in dire straights and need huge relief, then you may need to up and move from the palace to a studio. You may need to move close to everything so you can walk or bike to work and the stores and just get rid of all the cars.
These sound extreme, but when you get tired of suffering…
Reduce the electric and water, take your own garbage to the dump and cancel the garbage. You can get money if you recycle everything. Get cheaper plans on internet and cells. Get a less expensive Life insurance and other insurances if it works.
Cut out all outside spending for a while until you have it all in order. This is a temporary situation to get your finances healthy. Until then, cook all meals from home, brown bag all lunches, put that dusty coffee pot to use in the mornings. No more shopping sprees and if that is just too painful than learn to shop at thrift stores, garage sales, and Dollar stores or other discount stores for a bit.
Get commuter ticket discounts. Get whatever discounts you can get anywhere and everywhere. Cup coupons. When grocery shopping only buy produce in season and everything else on sale. Cut out the junk food and snacks. Cook from scratch. Drink water (I would never ask you to give up coffee). Buy in bulk. Go vegetarian (we do 50% of the time only, but it helps). If you love meat, use whole chickens, you can use them in 3 different dishes and make a chicken last a week. Cook from scratch. It’s healthier and package, convenience meals are expensive.
Love your library. You can get all kinds of books, CD’s, even movies. Go to the local community center and find out all the local, free events offered in your town. There are usually concerts in the park for free and festivals. Join a Church. Lot’s of free community and spiritual fun there!
There are hundreds of little and big things to save money and cut cost. I have been doing it for years being that we live off one little income (it’s bigger now, but was tiny at one time). I want to stay home forever so I’ve learned everything I could. I have condensed it all into a few books.
Find me on amazon.