We all know the news. We are in a recession. Times are tough. We need to buckle up our wallets and learn new money and finance habits. But it can be hard to break the normal spending cycle.
Here is a listing of all money habits we all need to break, starting today and some tips on how to do just that.
Living without a budget.
You have heard all about budgets for years now, probably. But have you ever wrote up one for yourself?
It really isn’t that hard to do. You just gather your bills, estimate how much you need a month or week for things like food, gas, clothing, misc items and get to work. Of course, if you are self employed or have an unsteady job, this can be harder to work out than the person with the normal weekly pay check.
Learn to buy without plastic
Credit cards are bad. Well, actually it is those interest payments on those credit cards that are bad. How can we break the habit of not using them? It is simple. Leave them at home.
Yet, do remember if you can, it is nice to have an open credit card account in case of an emergency. Just don’t carry the card around with you or you may talk yourself into thinking that cool pair of spring jeans is an emergency, a fashion emergency.
Saving only at a set time
Some people will tell themselves that they will set a budget and spend only what is listed. Then whatever amount is left over is what they will save for that month. What happens? Most months nothing is left over and nothing is saved.
A cute trick some people have been using is by saving their change or even their one dollar bills (if their budget will allow) and keeping it in a jar. Weekly, they will take this amount to the bank. How do they acquire change? If a purchase is $3.12, they will give the clerk a $5.00 and put the remainder in their pocket. That night the change goes into their savings jar. The next tip is to leave the jar alone, as well as the savings account and allow the amount to grow.
Skip the ATM visit
Okay, you say but I am doing it smart. I am going to the ATM’s where I don’t have to pay a fee. Yet, are you really playing it smart? You are taking money from your savings or checking account, not allowing it grow.
Skip those trips as much as you can. You may be able to do this if you planned that budget, stick to it and no emergencies occur.
Read your credit reports
Make this a habit that you do three times a year. Go to annualcreditreport.com and get your reports for free. Each credit bureau will allow you to see your report once a year for free. Every three months, check one. Three months later check another one. This way you are continually monitoring your credit and it is free.
Pay those bills on time
Those late fees can really add up.
Buy yourself a notebook and a calendar. Now write down when each bill needs to be paid. Each week check your list and mark off the ones you pay.
Of course, the little things such as: watching for sales, looking at the sales ads, never go to the grocery store hungry, clip coupons, watch for rebates and all of these types of tips can help as well. You may even learn some money saving tips from a friend or relative. Don’t be afraid to ask if you think you know someone who is financially secure, how they do it.