If you’re not making as much as you need to support the life that you want, you have two choices: earn more or spend less money. No one needs to tell you which is easier, but it can be difficult to get through the adjustment phase. It can help to keep your mind focused on the pride that comes from having the self-control to live within your means, and of having the ability to keep your family safe and secure no matter what financial emergencies you wind up facing.
While you’re working on changing your mindset, consider these 4 changes you can incorporate into your life to spend less money:
Pare your bills down to the essentials.
Many consumers with expanded cable, internet and similar entertainment packages aren’t using half of what they’re investing in. Some are paying for these services without even realizing, so take the time to really go over your bills. Figure out what you’re supposed to be getting and whether or not you’re really using it. If you’re not, there will be no adjustment at all in downgrading—besides paying a smaller bill.You might consider whether you need some of these services at all. Does your area have a free Wi-Fi source you can tap into for internet? Can you use your cell phone as a hotspot (or existing Wi-Fi for cell service?) Are your favorite shows available online? There are a number of products that allow you to tap into streaming services through your television, and the streaming itself can cost less than a month’s worth of a satellite or cable package.
Amazon Prime is just $99 a year for music, video and free, two-day shipping on all your purchases. Netflix is under $8 a month. iTunes and other stores allow for the purchase of movies and music at bare-bottom prices and many items are available for free. It can be worth the savings to pay a cancellation fee to get out from under an overpriced service, so check out your biggest expenses and then take time to check out your options. Chances are, you’ll find a cost-saving alternative which will provide more than you’re getting now.
Start shopping second-hand.
Buying used isn’t always appropriate, but in many situations you can find the items you need for a fraction of the price by shopping online, at garage sales or through consignment stores. If you’re buying online, of course, it’s easier to compare with new prices, but it’s important to keep shipping costs in mind. Buying clothes, for instance, can get expensive quick. However, purchasing used toys and video games, replacement parts, baby items and other goods second-hand can provide you with super savings. Many times, these items arrive in “like new” condition, so the only adjustment needed is how you find and purchase them.
Sell an item before you buy an item.
Adopting this habit will help you in two important ways. Firstly, if you commit to selling something before you buy an additional item, you’ll prevent your home from being clouded by clutter. You’ll also keep yourself from storing valuable items that wind up going to waste. Secondly, of course, if you sell an item, you can use the earnings to help pay for your new one.This can be a tough habit for collectors to put into practice, even when they don’t think they need to spend less money. Pack rats are even worse. The idea of having something around if you need it can be overwhelming, and chances are, the first few times you sell something, you will immediately find a use. This is a self-defeating habit aimed at keeping you trapped under a load of largely unused stuff, and if you press yourself, you will find alternative solutions—many times that are easier or more suitable.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with collecting valuables or items that are important to you either. Just make sure everything you keep really does serve a purpose, and isn’t just saved for the sake of it. If you have a sizeable amount of items stored, you may need a neutral third party to sort out what you should keep and which items can be sold (or thrown out).
Use technology to find the biggest sales.
With over 60 percent of people today owning a smartphone, it’s likely this will be no adjustment at all. There are a handful of apps which allow you to earmark goods to keep track of when they go on sale. Input an item, or scan it at the store, and instantly find the lowest price either online or in your area. You can also set up alerts for when potential purchases drop below a certain price.
We hope these tips on how to spend less money will help you stretch your budget further than ever before. However, Title Tree is always here to help you.
If you’re working on learning how to spend less than you earn, an auto pawn could help you meet some immediate needs. Call your nearest Title Tree location for help now, or click to contact us online.