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7 Ways To Cut Spending But Still Get The Good Stuff

7 Ways To Cut Spending But Still Get The Good Stuff

It’s no secret, money is hard to come by. Saving money has become the mantra for many households across the United States, with more and more families choosing to forgo quality for cost savings. However, this doesn’t necessarily always have to be the case. You can cut back your spending and still buy and do the cool stuff, you just have to find creative ways to stretch your dollars further. Here are 7 tips to help you get started down the path of cutting spending, saving money and still buying the things you want.

1. Practice self-control.

This is probably the most important piece of advice anyone could ever get. Have you ever wondered why there are shelves of stuff to buy located at the end of shopping aisles and at the cash registers? They are designed to entice you to make impulse buys, purchases you make just because something caught your eye. Impulse buys are true budget busters, and can derail even the most detailed spending plans in a matter of seconds. To avoid making impulse buys:

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  • Create a shopping list of the things you need before you leave home and stick to it no matter what.
  • Set aside a spending limit, no more than $10, specifically for impulse buys. This can give you a little leeway, but keeps your spending under control. If you find that you are tempted to spend more than your limit, choose to walk away and “think about it”. If you still want it, then you can go back and purchase it later.
  • Refrain from carrying large amounts of cash. Not only is carrying cash dangerous from a theft or lost wallet perspective, many people tend to spend more indiscriminately if they use cash rather than debit cards or checks.

2. Do your research before you spend.

While this generally applies to larger purchases, you should practice researching your purchases for all things. This means comparison shopping groceries, shoes, and even gas. This will help you get the most bang for your buck. When researching potential purchases, read reviews on well-respected websites and talk to people you know who have made similar purchases. Make sure that you check both retail and online stores for the best prices. Many stores will price match, even if the item was found online, so if you don’t want to wait or pay for shipping, take the advertised price into your local retail outlet and ask for a price match. This practice even works when certain groceries are on sale at one store and not your normal grocery outlet. Lastly, don’t forget to take advantage of coupons and mail-in rebates.

3. Keep a spending journal.

As you go throughout your day, jot down the things you spend money on. This includes all cash, debit and credit purchases. This will help you understand your spending habits and lets you know where your money goes. Add these purchases into your monthly budget so that you can see how this spending impacts your cash flow and reserves.

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4. Buy used and borrow if you can.

Borrow things from the library, from friends, and even from work. Buy used when you can’t borrow and leave purchasing new as a last resort. By buying used, you stand to save a substantial amount over buying new and you can usually upgrade to a better quality item. This is a great way to buy designer clothing and consumer electronics.

5. Take good care of what you buy.

Replacing items you have previously purchased is just a waste of money. Take care of the items that you buy and save your cash for something new.

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6. Disconnect extraneous services. 

Do you still have a landline phone? Do you also have a cell phone and a work phone? If so, odds are you are paying out too much money a month on services you don’t really need. Choose one line of communication and disconnect the other. Are you paying for premium cable in order to get one specific channel? If so, you can probably scale back your monthly cable bill and get the same programming for less using an online streaming service such as Hulu Plus or Amazon Prime.

7. Utilize your employer’s flexible spending accounts. 

Odds are, if you are employed by a large organization, you have benefits that you know nothing about. Flexible spending accounts give you an opportunity to allocate money, most of the time on a pre-tax basis, to pay for things such as medical expenses, child care expenses, transportation costs and more. Look into whether your employer offers such benefits and begin to spend on a pre-tax basis. This puts more spendable cash in your pocket every month thanks to a lower tax burden on your paycheck.

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Last Updated on April 3, 2019

How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

Debt is never a fun thing to be in. But, there are many actions that you can take that will help you rid yourself of the burden of debt once and for all.

By coming up with a set plan, eliminating your debt can feel much easier than constantly thinking about it.

This post will provide some tips on how you can do this to help you nix your credit card debt in less than 3 years.

Hint: there are ways that are easier than you think.

1. Consider Consolidating Multiple Credit Cards If Possible

This may not be applicable to you, but if you have multiple cards – it is something to consider. Keeping up with multiple bills is time consuming.

It will depend on the balance you have on each. Consolidate ones you can but do not do it to the point that you get too close to the maximum limit. Also, it is ideal to pick the card with the lower interest rate.

Consider if there are any fees or alternatively, rewards, with transferring a balance to another card. Watch out for fees. Note that some cards offer rewards for transferring a balance to them. This is extra cash that can help go towards paying off your debt.

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Having one or two cards can make nixing your debt much simpler than keeping up with the balance of a bunch of cards. Keeping track of paying the minimum towards a bunch of cards is time consuming. Spend the time to consolidate instead to make the overall process simpler going forward.

My tip: Have one main credit card. Have a second one that you use for necessities – such as groceries or gas – that offers rewards for those purchases (a lot of cards do) and set the second one on auto-pay. You should be able to pay off a smaller amount on auto-pay if it is a necessity. If you think you cannot, then you may need to cut down a lot on expenses.

Why do I suggest doing this? Having one thing set to auto-pay is one less thing to think about. One less thing to waste time on. Same idea with consolidating to one main card. Tracking down too many is a hassle.

2. Try to Pay the Full Balance You Spent Each Month at the Very Least

You need to pay off the amount you are spending each month when that bill comes in. This is the amount you spent THAT month.

Do not let the debt keep accruing while you work on paying any unpaid debt that has accrued. It will become a never-ending battle. Try as best as you can to be current on paying for each month’s expenses when that month’s bill comes out.

If this is a strain, consider why. You may need to cut expenses. Or you may need to consider other cards. Or look at where this money is going.

3. Pay Extra When You Can – Every Small Amount Counts

This cannot be emphasized enough. If you are looking at a lot of credit card debt, it can look daunting, but each extra amount that you can put towards the debt will really add up – no matter how small it is.

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It does not just reduce the principal amount that you have left to pay off, but it reduces the amount that is collecting interest. You will always save money with that reduced interest.

4. Create a Plan on How to Pay Extra

Back to the main point, having this plan is giving you one less thing to think about.

This plan should be a plan that works for you. If it does not work for you, your spending habits, and your views on debt, then it will not be an effective plan.

For instance, if a set plan of an extra $50 (or another amount that you know you can afford) works for you, then do that. Set that aside every month and pay that extra amount. Treat it like a bill. Choose an amount that works for you and pay it like clockwork as though it was a bill you had to pay each month.

Little amounts will not nix it entirely, but they will help tackle it and having a set plan can make it less of a chore. Creating a new plan of how much to put towards it each month is an unnecessary added stress.

5. Cut out Costs for Services You Do Not Use

If you are signed up for subscriptions that you do not use because of some free trial or for some other reason, cut it out. Your overall financial position will look better.

In turn, that will make cutting your credit card debt easier. Look at your statements to find these expenses. If you do not use them, you may forget you are paying some unnecessary amount each month. Cutting it out can really add up in savings that you can put towards other needed expenses.

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6. Get Aggressive About It

Consider these points:

Depending on the interest and the level of debt, you may need to give up a few indulgences. For example, instead of ordering delivery or going out to eat, cook at home. Everything adds up.

Other things may be more of a sacrifice. It may be a trip you wanted to go on, or a daily latte habit you’ve picked up. In these instances, consider how important it is to you and if it’s worth the sacrifice. And if it is a costly expense, think whether you can wait to indulge.

Cutting an extravagant expense can really help make a dent in your overall debt. Try not to add to debt when you are trying to pay it off. It will be a never-ending battle. Make it less of a battle with these tips and it will feel easier.

Bottom line: Do what you can to make this process easier for you. Implement steps that do this. It takes time now, but will help overall. Also, keep track of your spending and paying down of your debts. Which is the next point.

7. Reevaluate Your Progress at Set Intervals

Doing a regular check-in can help you see your efforts pay off or maybe indicate that you need to give this a bit more effort. If you check every 3-6 months, it will not feel so much like a chore or feel so daunting.

By doing this, you will be able to better understand your progress and perhaps readjust your plan. Bonus: if you see it pay off, it will feel great to do this check-in. You will get there.

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Finally (and most importantly)…

8. Keep Trying

Do not get discouraged. Pushing it off will make it worse. Just keep trying.

Once your debt becomes lower, each monthly payment will reduce the balance more. Why? You are paying less towards interest. It will be a snowball effect eventually and it will become much easier to manage. Just get to that point. And know once you do, it will feel easier and motivating.

Start Knocking out Your Debt Today

The best way to eliminate debt is to get started right away. Begin by implementing the above steps and watch your debt just melt away. Try out some of the above strategies and see what works best for you. Soon you’ll be on your way to a debt free life.

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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