Financial Tips For the Freakishly Frugal
In today’s financial climate, it’s harder than ever to get ahead and stay ahead. Every time you think you’ve finally managed to get your head above the water in financial terms, it seems that some unforeseen expense crops up and robs you of your hard earned capital. Whether it’s car trouble or an increase in your monthly rent, it often feels like every dollar you make ends up slipping through your fingers before you get your next paycheck.
Yes, it can seem nigh impossible to make ends meet and have enough left at the end of the month to invest or deposit into your savings account. Today’s world is one in which only the most meticulously frugal individual can manage to stay afloat financially, and these individuals are few and far between.
But what if you become one of these individuals? Do you have what it takes to deny yourself impulse buys and little luxuries that eat away at your finances and leave you scrounging for coins in the couch cushions two days before payday? If you think you fit the bill, then listen up: today we’re talking about money. Specifically, how to keep as much of it as possible!
Now, you might be wondering why exactly one should consider putting money away. “After all” you may say, “we’ve got credit cards and payday loans; what’s the point of scrimping and saving in the first place?” If this is what was running through your head, don’t stop reading! There are actually a lot of good reasons to save up!
For one, borrowed money is generally a terrible investment, unless you actually invest it in something with a rate of return greater than the interest rate on the loan. If you’re using your borrowed money to flip houses or invest in an index fund, you might be onto something; if that money is only being invested in sneakers and PS5 games, then you’re probably not.
Another great reason to save instead of borrow is the long term. As a young person, the shiny new consumer goods that borrowed money can seem too good to wait for, but in reality they’re usually not. If you save consistently, you can buy those things in time; if you buy them with borrowed money, you’ll wish you hadn’t. Your credit score will tank, your credit cards will default, and before you know it you’ll be struggling to pay off thousands of dollars in debt.
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Getting in the right frame of mind
If you want to have any hope of getting your finances in line, you’re going to need to be in the right headspace. Today more than ever, saving up money requires a lot of self control, a strong sense of commitment and a whole lot of hard work. There’s no two ways about it; the life of someone who puts money in their savings account every month is not particularly glamorous.
One of the most important steps towards this goal is reigning in your impulse buying. With advertising plastered across every piece of media, highway median, bus and webpage in sight, the urge to buy things you’ve been conditioned to believe you need likely accounts for a lot of needless expenditures. If you want to start saving up, you’ll need to assess the extent to which impulse buying is a part of your monthly routine.
When trying to control spending and save up money, another important factor is commitment. If you’re going to be getting your finances in line, you need to be committed to that goal above all else. No exceptions, no excuses, just steady finance management from day to day. The changes you make don’t have to be drastic, but they need to be consistent.
Now, if you’re not willing to get a second job or take overtime, you’re going to need to learn to work with the cash flow that you currently have. It may not seem like a lot, but we guarantee you that there are things you can do to make it stretch further and leave more room for putting money in a savings account at the end of the month.
First of all, you need to know how much you’re spending each month. Sit down at your computer and open a spreadsheet, then start cataloguing your monthly expenses. Save your receipts, separate them into general categories, and start keeping track of how much you spend and what you spend it on. Once you start doing this, you’ll know where your money is going.
There are a lot of things that need to be accounted for when budgeting. For starters, one month is seldom a long enough period of time to provide you with a completely accurate picture of what happens to your money once you cash your paycheck. It might be enough to draw basic assumptions from, but budgeting is something you’ll want to continue to do if you plan on staying in the black financially.
Cutting back on spending
Once you know what you’re spending your money on, it’s time for the hard part: cutting out unnecessary expenditures. This is a lifelong process for those who value their money, as you continuously identify and eliminate the areas of your financial life where you’re spending too much or putting away too little.
This isn’t something that has to be done all at once; it can be a gradual process, as long as it’s consistent. For a start you can try getting rid of one or two recurring expenses. These can be small expenditures, such as a subscription to a streaming service or a regular trip to a pricey coffee shop. It may not be much, but by doing this you’ll have more money to put away at the end of each month.
As time goes on and you get more comfortable with the idea of spending less, you’ll find other ways to eliminate unnecessary spending. You’ll start cooking at home instead of eating out, and you’ll walk when you can instead of taking your car. Little by little, this money saved will start to add up; before you know it, you’ll be putting a substantial amount away each month!
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Now that you’ve started to get your finances under control, you’ll have more disposable income to invest more wisely than you might have in the past. Who knows what you’ll do? Maybe you’ll find a real estate agent and buy a home, or browse the classifieds for that Gibson Gold Top you’ve always wanted. This is the beauty of frugal financial planning; investing your money instead of wasting it!