1. Make Positive Changes Last. Many surveys show that Americans are shifting their priorities in profound ways. Today many families say they consider spending time with family more important than ever. Families are finding fun, low or cost activities around the city. Many workers are now skipping going out for lunch to save money. For example the average worker eat out for lunch three days a week, fours weeks a month, averaging $9 (without a beverage). After a month they have spent $108 on just lunch! Ouch! This could be redirected for a family outing, reducing debt, or better yet to your savings account! Once you adopt these changes, it's a good idea to continue them even when the economy gets better.
2. Pay With Cash or Checks. Have you used your debit card and said "I'll balance it out my check book later", and then forgot? Maybe you used your credit card and said "I'll pay it off when the bill comes, then the bill arrives" and you suddenly have temporary amnesia wondering why your balance is so high? Don't worry it happens to the best of us, however, you can avoid these pitfalls by putting plastic away for good. One way to get into the habit of using cash for everyday purchases is to set up a budget and use a cash envelope system with one envelope for groceries, one for entertainment, etc.
3. Earn Extra Money. Have you ever had more month than you had money? For example, it's the 15th of the month, your tire goes out, you need groceries and pay day isn't until the 1st. What do you do? We are in time where we have to stretch a dollar in more ways that we could ever imagine. Starting a part-time business or working a few hours a week at a second job could help to beef up a college savings, reduce debt or a retirement savings account. Find great ways to do something enjoyable while earning extra money each month. We keep a spare tire in the trunk of the car. Why not have a spare career or opportunity? While you can't control rising costs, unemployment, and budget cuts, changing a few habits can help you hold onto more of your cash! Begin today to commit to making small steps, and you will begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
[Kardia Pinckney is a licensed financial professional who works with families to help them save and live a better life. You may contact Kardia Pinckney @ 818.239.0808]