Reduce expenses by looking closely at what you spend on bills and what you spend for fun. While no one likes to pull back on “fun,” it is critical to look at expenses and reduce by a percentage goal (we usually recommend you begin with working to reduce your spending by 10 – 15 % (this includes going after all the companies that bill you and working to get a reduction of 10 – 15 % directly from these companies).
How else can you “naturally” boost savings by reducing what you spend?
1. Buy used. Become friends with ebay and craigslist. Seek out ways to purchased used for a LOT less and be open to barter. Remember: The cash you save could be your own.
2. Purchase generic whenever possible across categories. In other words, buy generic everything. Why? Because often the generics are actually made by the manufacturers you are purchasing because of their brand name. The money you save can be substantial.
3. Use coupons and coupon codes, but only use them on purchases you already make regularly or things you actually need. This goes hand in hand with making your list before you go shopping. Don’t depend on the coupons to tell you what to purchase (that’s marketing). Figure out what you need and then search for the right coupons or coupon codes (Join our free Facebook group “Coupons & Coupon Codes” to see more coupons on a regular basis).
4. Watch out for fees of any kind and be committed to removing them. This means you should not pay fees on credit cards or in banking. Remember: big business depends on you NOT to read the fine print. DO READ THE FINE PRINT and save, save, save.
5. Make a list in advance every single time you go “shopping” and stick to the list without question. No impulse purchases. Remember – marketing is everywhere and there are a lot of temptations. Remove the temptation to buy more by sticking to a specific list written in advance.
6. Always review your insurance once a year. If you don’t, you will lose money. Don’t be afraid to switch. You should focus on lowering costs and make sure you keep your coverage the same. Insurance companies love for you to get lazy about this so they can jack your rates. Stay on top of it and you will save more than you think.
7. Track usage of the services you pay for. If you are not watching all those cable channels, guess what? You are paying too much. If you have a gym membership but don’t go, you are paying too much. Watch what you actually do vs. what you actually pay for. These are tips on where you can cut spending.
Check out our “1% Savings Plan” in previous blog entries or at http://www.middleclassmoney.com to find additional ways to boost your savings. Always focus on the percentage of your after tax income that you are saving. Don’t focus on dollar amounts. This will allow you to set very meaningful goals and really establish patterns in savings that mean more over time.
Always remember that YOU are in charge. You can do this!
Make sure every single penny you save goes to actual savings and really does come out of checking. Add these totals up and make it a new “payment” each month that goes toward savings. Make sure this is the first “bill” you pay each month.
HELPING YOUR KIDS GET AHEAD
If you think I was born saving money, you are wrong. My family is filled with hillbillies from Louisiana. There are members of my family that don’t believe in 401ks or IRAs. I was not brought up to save and invest regularly and I have made every mistake you can think about when it comes to money. I have had to learn the absolute hard way how to get savings on track and make it a part of your life without killing your lifestyle. I have had to learn the hard way how companies mislead with marketing. It is my mission to share what I have learned about regularly saving with my own children and also share it with you. That’s why we have a lot of “free” (blogs like http://www.boostmywealth.wordpress.com and http://www.stickyasset.com/blog and groups on Facebook like “Coupons & Coupon Codes”)!
In this country we don’t do enough to teach our children about money, managing money, saving regularly (and automatically), compound interest and steady investing for a long-term future. As a parent, we are always concerned that they get a good education and go to a good college so they can make a lot of money or have a valued career path. The truth is that we could do our children the biggest favor and one of the best things by sharing with them sound saving and investing principles.
You can join our free Facebook group (or have your children do it, too) by searching in the Facebook bar on your “wall” for “Live The Lifestyle Your Family Deserves.” Click on “become a fan.” It’s free and it ties our free blogs into that group.
If you want to give your children the same information we are giving ours, you can purchase the only thing we sell on any of our blogs or groups. It’s called “How To Survive Any Financial Crisis” and you can get it for only $4.95 at http://www.middleclassmoney.com.
This blog needs your help. Please use the share button on your Facebook wall to share this blog on your wall with friends and family. If you have other ways to share this blog, please do so. The only way we can spread real influence is with the help of people like yourself. You can influence others to save more and truly get ahead – even in this economy.
Thank you for reading our blog and good luck!
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“Coupons & Coupon Codes”