If you’re still living paycheck to paycheck, it’s time to stop and take a good look at what’s really happening to your money. There’s obviously a leak somewhere — but where is it, and how can you plug it up and stop the spending?
By following these tips and using a few online financial tools, you can identify where your money is going and, with a bit of effort and discipline, get control of your finances again.
Create a Realistic Budget
Start by making an honest account of how much money is coming in and going out each month, categorizing areas such as credit card bills, utility payments, cable/Internet/phone services, food, etc. Then, create an ideal budget of what you should be spending each month and identify areas where you can reduce costs. For example, by making a simple phone call, you can tap into cable/Internet/phone promotions that could save you hundreds of dollars a year.
Once you’ve pared down expenses, use the savings to pay off credit cards or go into a savings account. Likewise, if you need to make a specific purchase but it’s not urgent, budget for it with the money you’re saving by cutting expenses.
Track Your Expenses
Once you’ve created your budget, you’ll need to stick to it — and the best way to do that is to track every expense on a daily basis. Thanks to smart technology, there are plenty of user-friendly phone and computer apps with tools to help you easily track expenses so you’ll know exactly how much money is going out — and where you need to stop the spending.
Pay Off Your Credit Cards
You’re probably already aware of how much you’re paying in credit card interest, so imagine being able to put that money in the bank. The good news is that you can, if you work at paying off your credit cards. Start with your highest-interest card and pay extra on it each month until it’s paid off, then focus on your next highest-interest card. By working your way down from your highest-interest to your lowest-interest cards, you’ll be amazed at how much money you can save each month.
Get Bargains at Yard Sales
You can save a lot of money buying second-hand clothing and household goods, and nearly every community has weekend yard sales. If you’re asking, “How do I find yard sales near me?” the answer couldn’t be simpler — check ClassifiedAds.com where you’ll find listings of yard sales in your area. If there’s a large community sale being held, it’s worth driving a few extra miles because of the bargains you can potentially find.
Declutter Your Home and Sell Items Online
ClassifiedAds.com is a great online selling venue for everything from clothing and jewelry to musical gear, electronics, vehicles and just about anything else imaginable. Best of all, you can post your ad for free — and it can potentially be seen by thousands of people. The money you make from selling your items on ClassifiedAds.com can be put in a savings account for college, retirement or even a new house, or can be used to pay off your credit cards.
In addition, ClassifiedAds.com is also a great place to find new and used items at a discount, so you don’t have to pay full price for something you need.
Buy Groceries in Bulk
Warehouse type stores and restaurant food supply stores (such as Gordon Food Service) sell groceries in bulk-size quantities. You can save a lot of money by buying in bulk — so much so, it would actually be worthwhile investing in an extra freezer or roller-style pantry for storing bulk-sized containers.
By creating a budget and sticking to it, getting out of credit card debt and spending more wisely, you can get out of the trap of living from paycheck to paycheck. It won’t be easy, but the time, effort and sacrifices you’ll make will be worth it when you start seeing money in your bank account — money you can start putting toward your children’s education or toward your retirement.