70% of americans in 2010 live paycheck to paycheck!
What side of the pie are you on?
WOW….that is a huge number! There are many things you could do to stretch your paycheck a little further. Most people are so set in their spending habits and think that they have already cut as much as they can. Even if this is true, it is always a good idea to periodically evaluate your spending habits to see what changes can be made. It is important to find a few things that might work for you to help limit the amount of monthly money you spend. Sacrifice is never easy and many times people think “it’s only a couple of dollars, it won’t change the big picture.” The idea is a few small changes could add up to big savings.
THINK OLD SCHOOL AT THE GROCERY STORE: Many times we buy individual size snacks, pre-packaged salads, already grated cheese, or on the go meals because they are quick and easy. You could save up to 75% by preparing your own food. Buy regular or bulk size items and make your own snacks, grate your own cheese, cut your own lettuce, and bake your own pastries. Buying food that is in season and discounted will also help (see my post from 02-02-11 FRUITS AND VEGETABLE HARVEST SCHEDULE.) Start growing your own garden.
BE PATIENT: It is a documented fact that prices come down considerably once new products have been on the market for a while. Whether it is a new tech gadget, a car, the hottest toy or a new clothing trend, be patient. Waiting allows time for other companies to release competitive products, the supply catches up with the demand, or for the surplus to go on sale.
WATCH WHAT YOU DRINK: Drinking soda, coffee and energy drinks is not great for your body or your wallet. Water is always the best choice. With over 2/3 of the world covered in water, this is another way to stretch your paycheck. It is really easy to purchase a bottle of water on the go, but $1-2 each day can add up. Purchasing a re-usable bottle and taking your water from home is an easy way to save. If you must have soda or energy drinks, buy in bulk and try not to purchase just one at the store. If you can’t get through the day without coffee, try to make it at home. Buying a pound of gourmet coffee and making it at home could cost you about 20 cents……how much did you pay for your coffee today?
DON’T BE LATE: Paying late fees, overdraft fees, or bank fees can drain your bank account fast. Paying a credit card late can cost you additional money each month, try to set up automatic payments for your bills to avoid late fees. Keep an eye on your bank statement and avoid overspending. Overdraft fees can add up really fast. Avoid Non Bank ATM machines. ATM convenience fees cost $2.00 and in most cases your bank will tack on an additional $2.50 charge making your $20 withdrawal cost up to $4.50. These fees can add up and in most cases you can get cash back for free from places like the grocery stores, etc. Plan in advance to avoid “convenience” machine traps.
WHAT’S IN A NAME: With most items there is really no difference between high price name bands and the cheaper version besides packaging and price. Look for the less expensive brand of the things you use like shampoo, soap, paper towels, food, clothes, etc. Buying off brand items when they are on sale could save you a load of money. If it looks, tastes, smells, or works the same give it a try.
ENTERTAIN YOUR WALLET: Try to avoid entertainment pitfalls. Wether you enjoy seeing a movie, reading books or listing to music, try to think cheaper. Instead of taking the family to the local movie theatre with high price tickets and food, try to stay in. Using on-demand, Netflicks, or redbox could cost you only a couple bucks for the same movie a month later. Avoid buying new music Cd’s and try to download individual songs you like. Instead of buying a new best-selling novel, visit your local library and check out books for free.
Practical ways to spend your money, how to pay bills on time, and more still to come…..