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5 Painless Ways To Cut Costs And Enhance Your Budget

5 Painless Ways To Cut Costs And Enhance Your Budget

Everyone wants to cut costs and enhance their budget, but nobody wants to cut spending on the things they enjoy most. The good news is that, with a little thought and preparation, you can actually save money without actually doing very much at all! The key is to plan to cut out the extraneous costs that you do not seem to notice when they are eliminated, hence the word “painless.”

Here are four painless ways to cut costs and enhance your budget in the process.

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1. Use Timers for Heating

Many people don’t use a timer for their central heating or hot water. If you’re heating your home to the same temperature while you are asleep or away from home as when you are in, you are spending unnecessary money on your heating bill. By simply setting a timer on a programmable thermostat to warm up an hour before you get out of bed or return home in the evening, your bill could be cut considerably.

The same goes for water heating. It costs a lot to heat a water tank, and most families only use it for a few hours each day. Set the timer to warm the tank an hour or two before you plan to use it, and you will in turn save energy and money.

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2. Make a Budget

It may sound like an incredibly tiresome thing to do, but if you don’t set up a budget, how can you possibly stick to it? It’s amazing how many people don’t realize how much money they have coming and going. When you write your monthly expenditures down, it will be much easier to determine where you can make easy savings that don’t affect your daily life too much.

You can take this a step further by visiting www.saveonenergy.com, where you can easily compare rates from top-rated energy companies.

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3. Nix Your Home Phone

Many families pay out every single month for a land-line, but rarely use it. With such inexpensive cell phone rates and Internet services, people are using their conventional home phone lines less and less. If this sounds familiar, it could be time to ditch it altogether.

The same applies for cable channels that you never watch. There is no reason to stick with a package that you selected five years ago if you don’t watch most of it anyway. There are loads of options available today, and changing over to a new package could save lots.

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4. Pack a Lunch

If you added up the amount of money spent on lunches at work or family days out over the course of a year, you would probably be astonished. Make sandwiches, and salads, and pack leftovers from last night’s dinner to take with you, and you can save considerably compared to eating out. Think ahead, save money, and eat healthy. Many times this can have a direct impact on your finances because many office-based restaurants take advantage and boost prices because of their convenient location.

5. Carpool

This may seem like something that comes off as common sense-driven, but not all people understand the benefits of carpooling. If there are 3 people in your carpool whom all live close to each other, you can cut your gas costs during the week by a vast amount. If you have a long commute to work, think about all of the things that you could do with this extra income sitting in your bank account.

Saving money is actually easier than you think. Simply make a budget, decide where all your money is going, where you would like it to go, and what you can cut out. Your cash-flow situation will vastly improve, and your wallet will thank you.

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Last Updated on March 4, 2019

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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Using Credit Cards with Rewards

Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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