Take An Honest Look At Your Finances
If you want to know the best way to save money my advice is to be honest with yourself.
I know, that sounds weird, but please let me explain.
Years ago I was married and quite well off financially.
Then after 15 years of marriage the marriage ended and my kids and I were mostly on our own.
My ex did pay child support but it was still a fraction of what our household income was. I had been a stay at home mom and had no job.
For years I struggled financially, unfortunately I spent so many years struggling that even after I was making more money and in a much better financial situation I still had the mindset of being financially limited.
Once I took stock of my situation and realized that I was in better shape than I thought, things began to change.
Many of us fall into the same trap. We get into the mindset that we are not doing well financially and that can in itself be limiting.
Now, please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying that you are a millionaire and just don’t realize it.
I’m simply saying that sometimes we don’t really stop to take an objective look at our own situation.
Sometimes we get one idea about the way things are and we stick with that idea from that point on, even if that situation has changed.
So, the best way to save money is to take an honest look at your financial picture and the best way to do that is to write it all down.
Make a detailed list of all of your monthly income in one column and all of your monthly expenses in another.
Make sure you don’t forget anything. Even include things that you don’t do all the time such as have your clothes dry cleaned.
To make sure you don’t forget anything, look back over the past several months of bank statements.
Once you’ve got it all down in black and white you can really see just where you are at financially.
Once you’ve gotten everything written down all you have to do is deduct the expenses from the income.
Ideally, after this step, you will find that you either break even every month or even have a few dollars left over every month.
But, if you find that you are in the negative you really need to make some changes.
The first step is to look at your bills as objectively as possible. Where can you cut?
At this point most people would say they can’t cut anything but that is almost always not the case.
There are many easy things you can do to start saving some money:
Make a grocery list before you head off to the store. Only allow yourself to get what is on the list.
Have you ever stopped to figure out how much money you spend in a month on those impulse buys? It can really add up.
Cut coupons and buy in bulk when possible. Invest the time to compare rates for your auto insurance and cable or satellite bills.
Many companies will be happy to work with you if it means they can keep your business.
What subscriptions do you have that you don’t really use and can cancel? Rent movies from the library rather than a video rental store.
Maybe you and a friend can go in together to get a membership at a warehouse club.
You may be able to go together and buy in bulk and then split the bill, and the items, when you go shopping.
Be more hands on with your maintenance for your home and car. Most of the cost of pretty much any type of repair is the labor cost.
If you can do it yourself you can save a bundle on labor.
Most of us can save something, even if it is just a little.
We all need to occasionally reevaluate our situations so we don’t get stuck feeling like we are more limited than we really are.
To me, that is the best way to save money.