I’m sure we’ve all felt the effects of the current economic crisis; I know I have. Between my commute to work, the standard bills, and the want to have a normal life, my bank account is rarely flourishing with funds. More like, depleting drastically. People are losing jobs, industries are crumbling, and, lord knows, if you have any money in stock – well, let’s hope you have something extra stashed away beneath your mattress.
All that being said, life must go on, right?
So, how do we tighten the belt without living like a hermit? Here are some tips:
Budget: Set your spending limits on a weekly basis. And stick. to. it. Review your receipts at night to make sure you are staying on track, and be honest about what you are spending. This will keep your bank account in the green.
Save on Gas: Carpool with your friends or co-workers. If you need to do some errands, combine them all into one day, and make a route that will hit each stop, in one circle…versus going back and forth in all different directions.
If you live in a city, eliminate your cab usage. I know it is so much easier to hail a cab on those late, drunken evenings, but if you take some public transportation you’ll spend $2.00 versus $15. Or, trying hoofing it; you will burn those drinks away and have some extra wiggle room for a late night snack.
Make your own coffee: Think about it – while we all love those Starbucks Vanilla Lattes, at $4 a pop, that’s $20 a week (for your Mon – Fri coffee kick), $80 a month, and roughly $1,000 a year. I know it may not seem like a lot, but it adds up. Bonus: when you make it yourself, you know you will get it exactly how you want it.
Bring your lunch: Go grocery shopping (which will save you money on a day to day basis) and stock up on lunchmeats, salad fixins’ and yummy snacks. You never realize how quickly those $7 lunches add up and how easy it is to save by brown baggin’ it.
Stop shopping: I am at fault for this myself, especially at the start of a new season and new trends, but instead of spending money on things you can’t really afford, reinvent your old clothes by changing up the accessories or gettin’ a little Project Runway on your wardrobe. Or, try swapping with some of your friends. If you really can’t hold back – shop thrift. The clothes are cheap, cute and vintage; all majorly hot trends this season.
Stop the giving: I’m not saying to stop being a good person, but for the upcoming holidays, decide to do something nice with friends and family, instead of spending money on clothes, electronics and other wants. After all, gifting isn’t what the holidays are really about; spending QT with people is.
Make a Spending Limit: Even though I’m telling you to budget, I’m not telling you to give up all of life’s luxuries: i.e., nights out with your friends. However, what I will say is to leave your credit cards at home (yes ladies, no more drunken “drinks on me!” $50 charges the next morning). Protect yourself and your moolah by bringing a cash limit (be it $20, $40, or whatever you can spend) and bring ONLY that. If you run out of money, simply find someone else to but you some drinks.
Save: Even if it’s $10 a paycheck, open a basic savings plan and throw in extra cash (even spare change) whenever you can. Save it for a rainy day or whatever else you need…like Christmas shopping…
(Photo courtesy of squidoo.com)