When you’re living paycheck to paycheck it’s so easy to become engulfed with financial stress. Trust me, I know what you’re going through. I’ve been there before.
But if you’re deliberate in your actions, the way you’re both earning and spending your money, then it is possible to get one month ahead and eliminate that stress.
Here’s what I did and it will work for you, too.
First, Optimize Your Expenses
Your first step, if you haven’t already done this, is to optimize your expenses. Cut back in every single place that you can.
If you’re living paycheck to paycheck is the cable package really worth it? How about the nice cell phone plan or WAY too big of a car payment? You’ve got to get rid of all that stuff.
If you’re not willing to make the necessary changes you’re never going to get ahead!
Second, Earn More Money
There are some of you who are living on a bare bones budget. Cutting expenses back isn’t going to do much for you.
That’s how I was. My expenses literally could not be reduced any further than what they were unless I stopped eating altogether! In this situation you’ve got to find extra work. There’s no way around it.
As crappy as it sounds, you might need to get a second job. If you don’t like that idea then you should work every extra hour of overtime you can or find odd jobs to increase your income.
And remember, this is only temporary. You won’t have to work 60 hours or more a week until you die, only until you get caught up!
Third, Save the Difference
Once you have your expenses lowered and are bringing in more money, you need to save the difference. Every last penny of it.
You should be able to accumulate an extra months’ worth of living expenses in less than three months. Once you do that you will officially be one month ahead and won’t be so anxious about money anymore!
Fourth, Save Some More
If you really want to create financial stability then you need to keep saving. I personally feel comfortable with a minimum of six months’ worth of living expenses saved. You might feel different.
Find the number that works for you and don’t stop until you reach it. In the end you’ll be so happy you reached your goal.
A Couple Things to Remember
It IS possible for you to get ahead. If you live in the U.S. the opportunities in front of you are unlimited. You have to keep the right attitude and understand how important it is to make short term sacrifices.
If you’re willing to do the work you can build financial stability for you and your family and eliminate unnecessary financial stress.
Making improvements to the inside and the outside of your home to enhance its aesthetic and market value can be an expensive exercise. More often than not, surprising and necessary expenses for renovations will see you go well over budget if particular attention is not paid to finding cost effective strategies. Additionally, in a market place increasingly interested in environmentally friendly features, it is important to find sustainable solutions when embarking upon home improvements. Fortunately, you don’t always need to spend thousands of dollars on renovations to increase the value of your home. Consider these three cost-effective and environmentally friendly solutions.
Painting your home is an inexpensive option for increasing its value if done right – it’s more costly in terms of time and energy than it is in financial terms. Give the walls inside your home a touch up or even consider repainting the outside of your house. It’s not difficult to do it yourself with the help of a couple of friends, and you’ll find the aesthetic appeal of your home increases exponentially.
Many house paints contain a range of dangerous toxins and poisons, so choose an environmentally friendly paint. Natural paints can be a great alternative to traditional paint for some surfaces and won’t cost you the world. For interior walls, go for a low VOC paint.
If time is on your side then the best way to increase the value of your home is to plant trees in your front and backyard. Not only are they a sustainable way to make your property look spectacular, when properly placed they also have the additional benefit of creating shade areas and cutting down on your cooling costs. Once the plants have grown then they will naturally benefit the local ecosystem by supporting local wildlife.
Decking is one of the first features of an outdoor area to receive an overhaul, and for good reason. For people who love using outdoor areas for entertaining, play and recreation, quality decking enables more space to enjoy. Decking has the effect of providing a natural extension to the living space of any home, and also contributes to the aesthetic value of a property where the boundaries between inside and outside living become effectively blurred.
Composite decking solutions available for home improvements are increasingly making use of a range of timber, providing viable, flexible options for home improvement. Where conventional timber solutions often require costly maintenance, composite decking is made from a whole range of recycled products and it’s quality is, for the most part, preserved naturally. There are a whole range of advantages to using composite decking, including the fact it is resistant to bugs and insects as well as natural damage caused by water and use. It is also far less slippery than conventional timber and resists against decay, splits and scratches. To find out more about top quality home improvement solutions that will enhance the value of your property, check out the range of environmentally-friendly composite decking solutions available through Futurewood.
We’ve talked about what living minimally can do for your finances but I think it’s worth talking about again.
The truth is, when you stop trying to keep up with the Joneses and instead start spending your time and money according to your values your entire life improves.
What is Living Minimally?
Living minimally is simply finding the things you love the most and getting rid of the rest. These “things” aren’t necessarily material objects either.
What I value is family. I also like my work and I like spending time outdoors. These are the things that make me the happiest and consequently take priority in my life. Your values could be completely different.
Once you figure what you want to wrap your life around your next step is to eliminate the other things.
Here’s how this improves your life.
There’s no need to surround yourself with material items if you’re living your life according to your core values. Does this mean that you need to get rid of everything you own and live out of a bag? No.
For instance, if having a beautiful house is one thing that makes you happy then you might spend money on things like wall décor, furniture, and accessories. If you’re the total opposite and find comfort in a clean house with nothing on the wall then those things won’t matter to you.
The whole point is to get rid of all of the stuff that is not bringing you any happiness and instead focus on what is. This means spending less and owning less stuff. (Which also means you spend less time taking care of that stuff!)
Your Decisions Become Easier
When you center your life on your values making decisions is easy. If you’re committed to spending as much time as possible with your family and you’re offered a job that would eat into that saying no will become easy.
Also, if you’ve pared down your closet to only the clothes that you absolutely love, it’ll take less time for you to get ready in the morning.
The easier it is for you to make decisions the less stressful your life will be.
You’ll Be Aware of Your Spending
Living minimally is amazing for your personal finances. Instead of randomly making purchases that you’ll soon forget about you’ll be extremely aware of where your money is going.
Your money will be spent on the things that matter and it will be so much easier to work toward your goals.
Less Mental Clutter
As you can see there are a ton of benefits to living a minimalist lifestyle. You’ll not only save money, have less stuff to take care of, and have better decision making capabilities, but you’ll have less mental clutter in general.
You’ll be able to focus on the things that truly matter and will become a much happier person in the process.
Do you live minimally?
Coupons and promotional codes have been around for decades, helping people shop in a smart and cost-effective manner without making any compromise in terms of product quality. Why buy fewer products or focus on the cheapest ones, when couponing can help you save a lot of time, money and headaches? It only takes a few minutes to find coupon codes at Discountrue that help you save up to 30% on any item, and the good news is that you can nowadays find a coupon for everything, from household items and gardening tools to designer bags and shoes.
Statistically speaking, Americans manage to save billions with coupons every year, and coupon enthusiasts spend as much as 60 hours a week searching for discounts and promotional codes that they can use. Although this may seem like a daunting and time-consuming task, the same statistics have revealed that one hour spent couponing is worth up to $100, therefore you might want to think twice before rendering it useless.
Nowadays, most brands offer their loyal customers a discount, especially if they buy in bulk or if their shopping cart exceeds a certain sum of money. However, the good news is that you can easily be eligible for the same generous discounts when shopping online, without having to reach a certain threshold when you checkout – almost 100 million people have used online coupons at least once last year, and there is absolutely no reason why you should not give it a try, too.
Online Coupons And How To Make The Best Of Them
If you have decided to become a “professional couponer”, then here are several useful tips and hints that will help you save several thousand dollars a year when shopping for your favorite items:
- Never Stick To Just One Coupon Website
One of the biggest mistakes rookie couponers tend to make these days is that they only bookmark one website like Retailmenot.com, when instead they should diversify their search. As a tip, make sure to use the coupon comparison engines: in a nutshell, these are websites that automatically gather and compare discounts offered by other websites, thus providing you with the best deal and saving you a lot of time. They have the same mechanism of action as plane fare comparison websites, the sole difference is that they focus entirely on discounts and promotions.
- Buy In Bulk
Some coupons allow you to get a fixed discount, such as $10 or $20 on each shopping session, while others apply to all the products you purchase during that shopping session, this is why it is highly recommended to buy in bulk. This way, a 10% discount on a $1000 order can help you save $100!
- Stick To The Things You Need
While it is true that couponing is a very important part of shopping intelligently, it would not benefit you too much if you bought unnecessary items simply because they are on sale that day. Having said that, make sure to stick to the things you need.
- Forget About Brand Loyalty – The Coupon Is The Real Deal
Brand loyalty programs may come in handy sometimes, but do not let yourself be fooled by them – as catchy as they may be, couponing may help you save even more money, therefore don’t stick to a certain brand just because it features a nice brand loyalty program. Keep an open mind a generous discount somewhere else!
A private health insurance bill can provide you with tremendous relief in case of a medical emergency, but it’s no secret that premium plans can be a bit expensive. If you’ve held a private medical coverage policy for some time, you likely know how beneficial it can be, but that certainly doesn’t make a high-caliber plan any easier to pay for. Fortunately, there are ways to trim the cost without necessarily affecting the quality of coverage.
Choose a High-Deductible Plan
A deductible is your contribution to the cost of your healthcare services, and it must be satisfied before your health insurance provider pays its share. For this reason, plans with higher deductibles become progressively less expensive over time as the minimum figure increases, and so switching to a policy with a higher deductible level is a simple way to save on premiums month after month.
The drawback to a high deductible health insurance plan is that if you do end up having to use your medical coverage on a large expense, you’ll foot a much larger share of the bill than with a more expensive policy. If you visit the doctor infrequently or are not on a regular prescription medication, this trade-off may prove worthwhile, but those with more ongoing medical needs may find that this is an unsuitable solution.
Evaluate Your Plan
HBF private health cover offers a range of premium options that allow policyholders to build the ideal coverage solution for their individual scenario, and even frequently offer bundles that combine a number of policy options into a discounted package. However, the sheer number of options can lead to policyholders paying for unnecessary features, and this can quickly add up over time.
To prevent wasting money on policy options that are unlikely to be used, you should re-evaluate your policy and its options on a yearly basis to ensure that you’re still getting utility from your investment. For example, if your eyewear prescription has not changed for some time, you may consider lowering or removing your vision coverage. Performing this kind of invoice maintenance helps ensure that only as many of your resources as necessary are committed to health insurance, and that the investments you do make are used to the best effect.
Insurance premiums on customized private health insurance plans can quickly spiral out of control, but with some savvy management, it is possible to save money while still getting all the coverage you need. After all, wasting money on unnecessary coverage is the same as wasting it on anything else.