We all want to have more money in our pocket, more for the things that are important and for most of us, the security of knowing we can pay our bills, take care of ourselves and our family and have a little put by for when we are old.
In this age of consumerism, it is easy for your money to slip through your fingers without you even realising it. And banks and retailers are making it ever easier for you to spend small amounts every day which over time make a huge hole in your budget.
So in a society that is geared up to make you spend money, how do you maintain a grasp on your finances? How do you ensure that you are getting ahead rather than falling behind?
Cash Is King
Whilst it is highly likely in years to come that we will live in a completely cashless society, for now carrying cash is one of the best ways to keep tabs on your spending. Give yourself an allowance on a daily, weekly or monthly basis and draw out your chosen amount in cash. Having folding notes in your wallet lets you keep track of exactly what you are spending and how quickly it disappears. Keep your receipts to go through each week so you can get a handle on where you money goes and rather than adjusting your allowance, have a look at ways you can reduce your spending. Giving yourself a strict limit and sticking to it, is a great way to ensure you have money for the important things in life.
Loose Change Can Be A Goldmine
Its surprising how much coinage we carry around with us each day. Your pocket jingles when you walk and you have difficulty closing your purse due to the mass of change that follows you everywhere. We often overlook this small potential nest egg as we bring out another note to pay for our purchases. But all that change adds up to a lot of money over time.
If every day when you arrive home, you empty your pockets or wallet of loose change and put it in a bowl in the kitchen, you will be astonished at how much will accumulate. You will not become super rich overnight but its a great way to put money by for your longer term goals. You might even get a ‘free’ holiday out of it in a couple of years!
The No Interest Credit Card
Having a credit card is a great way to improve your credit rating and earn loyalty points. All too often though, we see a credit card as an easy way to enjoy what we want right now but interestingly the opposite can be true. The joy of your purchase is overshadowed by the stress of meeting the monthly payments on top of your existing expenses. And not only that, but the sky high interest payments mean you end up paying far more than you would have had you had saved the same amount of money and bought when you could pay for it outright.
The key to maximising the benefits of your credit card is to pay it off every month ensuring your credit rating is excellent and gathering your loyalty points without the additional interest costs. If you cannot pay in full for something within the next 30 days - don’t buy it. Put the money you would have spent on credit card payments away and purchase when you have the funds together. Not only will you enjoy your purchase when you get it but the anticipation will give you a thrill. Saving for something gives you a huge sense of pride and achievement which far outweighs the instant buzz of having it now when you really can’t afford it.
The Business Of Bills
Household bills take a huge chunk of your income and although they are essential there are ways to take control of these expenses and keep them to a minimum. Life is so busy that we usually don’t make the time to look at our monthly bills, setting up an automatic payment system and letting them run. But the price of commodities changes all the time and in most cases your supplier will not pass these savings on to you.
It may not feel like its worth the hassle but if you make the time to shop around, you could very well find an alternate supplier who will offer you a better deal. Over the course of a year the savings could pay for a holiday or that new television or tablet you are yearning for. Why give money away to big business when you can enjoy it yourself?
If you are currently working for an employer you will no doubt be paying into some form of pension/retirement scheme. But do you know where you money is going? With so many different providers, each having different terms and conditions which may or may not give you exactly what you need or expect in years to come, taking the time to check out your current provider to ensure that you are investing your money in the future you want is well worth the effort.
One of the simplest ways to save potential money is to take care of your health. Whilst none of us can predict our future, focusing on wellness is a great way to protect not only your long term enjoyment of life but also your financial health. Invest some of the money you save by reducing expenses into a nutrition plan and exercise gear. Whether you are a gym bunny or love the fresh air, take steps today toward better health and watch your money grow. You will become more efficient, more productive and better able to take responsibility for your future. It could be the best investment you will ever make.
The key to Financial Independence is in taking responsibility for the management of your money. There are likely to be holes in your pockets that can be mended with just a little time and effort on your part.