From the Desk of Clearissa Coward’s Command Center
Personal Finance Hacks To Stretch Your Budget
A Cozy Lifestyle with Clearissa Coward
Some say that money cannot buy happiness, but the truth is the lack of money can cause stress and problems? However, if you view money in a positive manner and use it in a positive manner, it can be a saving grace. In this article I am sharing personal Finance Hacks To Stretch Your Budget no matter your household income.
There are affiliate links within this post. However, all opinions and ideas are my own. Clicking on and using the links to purchase products does not increase your cost at all. I appreciate your support.
A lot of people tend to spend whatever they earn, regardless if it is a lot or a little. Living above our means, better known as “keeping up with the Jones” has financially ruined many families. This is why most people “feel” as if they are poor or “not rich” or are always feeling stressed about not having enough. When you consider that the median household income in the USA is approximately $62,843.00 dollars according to the 2019 US Census, you can see where you stand and measure how you are living based on your income. Are you living from paycheck to paycheck? Are you surviving on credit cards? Do you have a rainy day fund? These are all things to consider when getting into the right mindset to live within our means.
Trust me, I know this because I’ve lived it. Regardless of how much or how little money you have, you can make your money go a lot further and work for you better. The hacks/tips below have helped many to get a handle on their finances…me included.
* Shop Less – Only shop for groceries once a week, instead of anytime you run out. If you can stretch it out, only go every two weeks. The fewer times you go into a store, the less money you will spend overall on last-minute or unnecessary purchases.
* Use a List – This is such a good tip and I am horrible at following it, but I am working on it. No matter what you are buying, whether groceries, clothing, or supplies, always shop with a list. Do not buy anything that is not on the list.
* Research – To take the list a step farther, only buy things within the price ranges you have determined are good deals. If you want a new blazer and you have set the bar at $50.00, do not go above it; shop until you find exactly what you want. You will need a lot of patience and perhaps an accountability partner for this one.
* Save the Difference – If you budgeted X amount of dollars for something, and you found it cheaper, save the difference. Since it was already budgeted at a certain amount, this is almost like found money. I always round up to the next dollar when balancing my checkbook. Yes I use my debit card but I bring those receipts home and log them. That helps me keep up with what I am spending so there are no costly overdrafts. If something costs $21.50, I subtract $.50. That is a great way to build an invisible cushion. Try it.
* Save Your Change – This may be a bit difficult right now with the shortage of change. But try this when you can. When you buy something, only pay with bills. Collect all the change at the end of each day. At the end of the year, take whatever change you have saved to the bank and add it to your savings account. I did this once. I saved the change or bills that were leftover from my self-imposed weekly allowance. If I had $15.00 left from last week, I would put it in my change bucket and begin fresh each week with my allowance. Once I used that money to fund a vacation. It was all the spending money I needed for a 7-day cruise. Now it did not pay for the cruise, but I did not have to touch my savings or withdraw any money from my account to spend while on this cruise. This was two years of saving this way.
* Automatic Withdrawals – Most banks and employers now offer automatic withdraws for savings accounts or investments. If you get this setup, you will never see it and you can’t miss what you can’t measure. Shoot for 10 percent of your earnings or whatever your company will match as the minimum amount.
Getting Good Deals
* Have Plenty of Cash – The more cash you have to offer someone on something they are selling, the more power you have. It does not matter if it is a washer and dryer, a bed, or a car – if you have cash, you will get a better deal.
* Rental Car – Do not rent from the airport; instead rent from a nearby location that will bring the car to you. You will save money this way. Bonus: always fill up the car yourself before returning it; it will save you money as well. Some rental companies require this anyway.
* Be Ready – If you have saved money all year long, and keep performing needed maintenance on your things (appliances, cars, etc.), you will avoid last-minute disasters as you will be ready for issues that pop up. Here is where that rainy day fund comes in very handy.
* Do a Check-Up – Periodically, do a financial check-up by calling the phone company, cable company, insurance company, and anyone else you pay monthly to ensure that better deals have not come up recently. Friends, I do this approximately every six months or so with my cable company and cell phone company. They are always offering new customers great deals. There is no reason why customers in good standing should not reap some of the benefits of being loyal customers.
Remember to give yourself a little grace and realize you may not do all of these things all at once. Pace yourself and have patience with yourself as well. But do get started on the road of, if not financial wealth, at least learn to make what money you have work for you.
So, will you try at least one of the hacks above? If so, which one?
Make changes that improve your life.
Thank you guys for all of the support you show to me and my blog. I feel so blessed because of you.
Until next time…I remain in my Element – God Bless!
Don’t forget to share this post with your friends & family. I greatly appreciate it.
Hugs & Blessings