If you’ve ever lost sleep over the state of your finances, you’re not alone. Most Americans can relate to it because they’re walking around like sleep-deprived zombies or they can relate to it from past experiences. Either way, there are financial moves you can make right now that will have you feeling more hopeful for the future. Take a look –
So Much “New and Improved”
Trust us – that new smart phone or new generation this or that doesn’t have a complete revamp and there’s no rush on being first in line. Stick with the model that came out two weeks ago. Trust us, this time next month, there will have been five more generations and if you spend all your time and money keeping up, you’ll not only lose your money but your sanity too. Making that one decisions can mean a few extra hundred dollars in the bank for paying down that pesky credit card debt. That’s a lullaby waiting to be sung.
Do Your Homework
If you’re looking for a new credit card that will allow you to move over that high interest balance on the card you now have, be sure to do your comparison shopping. Many consumers make the wrong assumption that each offer will mirror any others they qualify for and that’s just not so. Even a quarter point difference can means several hundreds or even thousands of dollars not spent on finance charges. Not only that, but the annual fees vary as do rewards programs. Do your due diligence!
From a Generic Standpoint
Often, when you buy name brand products, you’re giving the company up to 25 or even 30 percent more than what its identical generic counterpart costs. That’s right – read the labels and opt for store brands instead. At a minimum, you should at least try it. That too can leave a few extra dollars in your pocket by the time you leave the supermarket.
Share and Share Alike
There is a growing trend in this country: bartering. Neighbors are coming together and working as a team in way not seen since World War II. Folks are sharing costs on bulk items, yard equipment and even their vegetable gardens. Everyone’s busy these days, but knowing there’s someone else on your side (and you theirs) makes it much easier to rest at night. Folks are better positioned to pay down credit card debt or focus on securing better financial futures.
No Hoarder Here
Make a plan to have a yard sale, especially if you’re wanting to buy that new flat screen TV. What you don’t sell at your yard sale, donate it all to charity. This clears your home of items no longer being used and the money earned from your sale can be applied to that big ticket item, which, of course, means you’re not charging as much on your credit card.
Too busy for a yard sale? List it on Craig’s List or other similar sites.
Save Some More
Log in to your bank account and up the amount of your direct deposit that goes into your savings account. This is a great way to ensure you’re prepared for unexpected expenses which always happen and you’re also earning more interest. One thing to consider: if you’re carrying a lot of credit card debt, you might want to pay it down first. That allows your money to pull double duty: you’re no longer paying interest in card balances and instead, earning interest on what you’re saving.
Pull the family in. Make a commitment to skip Starbucks twice a week and then hear those sacrifices your family might be willing to make. If you’re thinking a few dollars a week is pocket change, consider this. If you skip the java shop twice a week and if you generally spend $10 each time you walk through the door, that equates to around $80 a month. Now think about your monthly expenses – odds are, you have a monthly obligation that’s similar to the money you’re saving. Approaching it from that perspective allows you to really hone in on those “few dollars a week”.
How many receivers are you paying for each month to your satellite provider? All those additional features on your phone home that were once important have likely long since been forgotten since the family started using cells as their only source of communication? Take a look at those modern conveniences and see if there are any extra features you’re paying for but aren’t using.
When I moved into my home four years ago, I had the satellite company hook up receivers in all three bedrooms and the living room. I’d completely forgotten about the guest room having satellite access. Considering I’ve yet to have guests spend the night, I figured it was about time I discontinued that receiver. Saved me more than a few dollars a month,
says one consumer we spoke to. The best part is you might be able to make those changes online, thereby skipping the long wait times when you make a phone call.
Remember – never make the mistake of thinking “a few dollars won’t make or break me”. It might not, but when you start pulling a few dollars here and a few more there, it can add up fast.