Frugal

Three New Year’s Resolutions for the Fiscally Minded

Three New Year’s Resolutions for the Fiscally Minded

Tis the season my friends… At this time of year it’s customary to eat as much turkey as is physically possible, lavish each other with expensive gifts, drink large quantities of whatever happens to be left in your drinks cabinet (normally something horrible like Cointreau) and then 6 days later repent everything and promise that this year will be the year you sort your life out and get back to the gym.

With Christmas soon to be here and gone it’s time to set out your agenda for 2012 and start formulating those all important New Year’s resolutions. Most people tend to stick with the same old mantras of ‘I will go to the gym at least once a week’, or ‘I’ll eat salad at least once a week’. As 2012 is looking like it’s going to be another difficult year financially, it’s time to sprinkle a little frugality and pragmatism into those New Year resolutions – after all, a healthy bank balance leads to a healthy peace of mind…

I will not impulse buy on a whim and a prayer.

Everyone is guilty of doing this on occasion, for most of us it happens just around payday. You may decide to go out on your lunch-break, or into town on a Saturday, and then all of a sudden you find yourself attracted to a shiny object and BHAM! You’re at the till handing over your credit card and buying something you don’t really need. Avoid impulse buying in 2012. If you need an item then that’s justifiable, but if you can live without it then don’t buy it – you’ll save lots in the long run by keeping your impulses in check.

I will keep a spreadsheet of all my outgoing and incoming. I will budget like a responsible adult.

OK so let’s be honest, spreadsheets aren’t cool or sexy, but if used correctly, they can be immensely helpful, especially for those living on a budget. Having lived in a shared house for many years I understand the pain of having to keep track of all the bills, as well as the individual debts that build up over time. Believe me, keeping a household account is a lot easier than fretting about how much that bill was, or who owes who what. It also allows you to work out the average monthly/annual cost of certain bills, helping you to budget for the future with a little more ease. Keeping a spreadsheet or a household account is all about sticking to a routine and being ordered. Keep your financial info up to date and stick with it.

I will set aside something every month for a rainy day

Let’s face up to reality here, the western global economy and its’ particular brand of consumer capitalism is unlikely to make a healthy recovery back to the affluent levels of 1996 anytime soon. Even the most optimistic outlook on the global economy suggests that most western economies will either stay stagnant or experience only slight growth throughout 2012. With that in mind it makes sense, if you haven’t already, to start planning for a rainy day. Setting up a standing order or using an online system to filter away a few dollars here and there is simple. Even if you only manage to save a few bucks each month it can still make all the difference for when that rainy day eventually arrives.

Keeping an eye on your finances is relatively easy – sticking to your budget is much harder. It takes a lot of willpower to keep things on track, but savings a little bit here and there, as well as being more fiscally responsible will pay dividends in the long run.


How to Keep Money in Your Pocket

How to Keep Money in Your Pocket

The economy is forcing people to pay more attention to spending. Deciding if an item is a need or a want is hard, but necessary. Nobody likes to have to choose between paying a bill or buying a collectible, it’s just a sign of the times, so to speak. Follow these plans to keep the most money you can in your pocket!

1. Plan Your Day
Taking a few minutes to plan a shopping trip can save money on gas. Decide what stores you really need to visit. If you have another appointment in the same town, try to schedule them the same day. Plan out your route to limit the amount of traveling between points.

2. Check Ads
Coupons are a major craze today. Clippers accumulate dozens of the small slips of paper each week. While it seems 50 cents off a loaf of bread seems hardly worth the effort, some stores double the value.
Gathering several coupons for multiple items can add up to great savings. There are coupons for nearly everything you buy, from food to clothing to oil changes for your car. Always keeping an eye out for sales and coupons can help you cut your retail and grocery budget by a large chunk.

3. Cook What You Have
Cooking at home is a great way to save money. Eating out is quick and convenient after a long day of
work or school, but what most people don’t realize is, that by the time they spend $20 at the drive-thru window, they could buy all the ingredients for a delicious quick homemade meal at a fraction of the price. Making dinner at home not only saves money, it gives you time with your family and is healthier!

4. Make Small Repairs ASAP
Make sure there are no water leaks around the house. Just two leaky faucets that drip once a minute
waste approximately sixty-nine gallons of water each year. Check the faucet knobs – make sure they are still turning all the way off. Sometimes the rubber washers wear out inside the knob, allowing for loose fits and letting water drip, costing you money.

5. Turn off the Lights!
Check for lights, radios and televisions left on around the house. Any plugged-in item adds an amount to your power bill each month. As with other things, the small amounts aren’t visible alone, but when kept under control, you will see the difference.

6. Impulse Buys are Evil!
While waiting for the line to move, you pick up a tabloid from the rack, see an article you want to finish and next thing, it’s in the cart. These items are placed to catch your attention at the very end of your shopping trip. Retailers know that you will have to stand in line at some point. There, the temptations begin. News about celebrities you read once and throw away. That’s costly trash. Other items are placed there to capture your attention in hopes that you will pick them up as well. To keep money in your wallet, resist the urge!

7. Simple is Key
Saving money isn’t always easy, but it can be done with careful planning, good decision making and priorities. Coupons, eating at home and avoiding impulse buys can help you keep that money in your pocket for a rainy day.


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