Many of us aren’t in financial crisis but we still feel like we have no money. (Raises hand sheepishly!) Is this you? You have a job, make a decent wage, live within your means, and are still broke at the end of the pay period. What are you doing wrong?
A lot of the resources out there are for people that are in financial chaos and don’t apply to everyone. What can the average, middle income, working person do to save money right now.
1. Figure out where your money is going.
Make a budget right now. Click HERE for our Expense Tracking Form. This is a great guide to get your started. Figure out exactly where your money is going. Do any of the numbers shock you? There are a lot of resources out there than can help you track your money. Check out Mint.com. Your bank should also have FREE resources available to help you.
2. Take a good, long look at your bills.
What are your interest rates on your credit cards? Are you making any headway on the balances? If you aren’t maybe it’s time to ask for help. I read a quote yesterday that said something like, “You don’t have to go broke before you ask for help. You can get a do-over. Ask for help!” I really like this! We can help!How about student loans? Can you consolidate any of the payments?
Are you paying for anything that’s ridiculous? Like, maybe you are paying for a boat or an RV that you NEVER use. Or maybe you are paying for some type of service. You will know it when you see it!
3. Do a review of your expenses.
Are you overpaying for anything? Like insurance. Many people take out auto or homeowners insurance and stay with the same policy forever. What if you are overpaying? Get a review done.
Look at reoccurring expenses that cost you money every month. Like cable. We made a tough decision and cut cable out a few years ago. And yes, there are still times where I get mad about this. But, it made a huge difference financially. We added Netflix to our monthly budget so we didn’t go completely crazy.
I also made a few cuts to my everyday budget. I cut out paper towel. I know this sounds silly but it made a huge difference. I also started making my own laundry detergent and household cleaners. This has saved me so much money. LOVE!
I personally refused to cut out fresh fruits and veggies from my grocery budget but I was willing to cut own expensive pre-made convenience foods like Lean Cuisines. These suckers add up when you eat one every day! Now, I make enough for dinner so I have leftovers. I also cut out soda. It’s the little things like this that will add up.
4. Pull your credit report.
This one won’t necessarily save you money right now but it’s good tool to have. Annual Credit Report will give you a FREE, SAFE, ACCURATE copy of your credit report once a year. Take a look at it closely. Does anything seem weird?
5. Medical Debt.
My family has a lot of medical debt. It’s obscene actually. And that’s just the way the dice roll. So, we have a never ending monthly payment to the hospital. I put this one on here because the bills can be overwhelming. Advice from someone who has been there. OPEN the bills and CALL them. Set up a payment plan. I promise they will work with you.
Also, there may be help out there. A good old fashioned google search can help you find out if there is help available. What are the bills for? Give it a try.
These are just a few ways to start saving money now. Or more specifically, a few ways to get a handle on your financial situation. Knowing is half the battle. One of our recent clients was quoted saying, “I felt so relieved once I knew where my money was going. Then I could start to make a plan for the future.”
What do you do to save money? We’d love to hear from you!
Author Kate Swenson is a Project Manager at LSS Financial Counseling.