If you're a regular reader, you know that I'm almost always trying to make my money work harder. Sometimes I have personal stories about my quest for a cheap smartphone plan and other times I have more generic tips on how to save save money. Despite all this, I'm not immune to falling into common spending traps. From shop front specials, to deals at the grocery store retailers have mastered the art of tricking our minds into wasting money. I say it is time to fight back. As G.I. Joe would say, knowing is half the battle. So let's wage our war with a few tips to follow that will help you save you money and avoid these traps.
- Make a budget - It may sound redundant but making, and sticking to a budget you can help save yourself a huge amount of money of the course of time. Plus, didn't you know that Budgets Are Sexy? They are. I suggest looking at some of these free budget spreadsheets and choose one that works best for you. I like to focus on the necessary, like mortgage/rent, food, and utilities. After that, I try to hide money from myself by having a set amount go into savings each month. I play a game, trying to increase that number gradually. The higher I get that, the more "points", I score. What I have left is used for extras like entertainment.
- Review your debts - If you watch the news, you can't seem to avoid a story about people being in debt. From high interest credit cards to loans these small expenditures can turn into big problems down the road. Pay attention to your interest rates, and pay off anything that is collecting high interest as fast as possible.
- Cut down on bills - There are tons of ways to help cut down on bill costs. Turning out lights, shutting off heaters when you head out, and taking shorter showers all help in the long run. A few dollars less on the bills may not seem like much, but over the course of the year these small reductions add up to big savings. And if you passed by previous mention, let me remind you, I have plenty of these tips to save you money.
- Track your spending - If you are like me, you can sign up for Mint and let them analyze your credit cards. If you are more of a cash person, it might be a little more work. I wouldn't look forward to saving those receipts and reviewing them end of the month. Looking for patterns in them would drive me crazy, but too each their own.
What G.I. Joe didn't tell you was the other half of the battle. That is taking action. I may be Lazy, but there are times when lazy simply doesn't pay. I hope these tips help you control your spending. By experimenting and research some spending strategies you can save yourself more money than you realize with very little inconvenience.
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