It's a fact that most of us spend way more money than we should. We get cash out ATMs that aren't affiliated with our bank ($3 applied by the bank that owns the machine—ostensibly for the convenience of it—and another $3 applied as a penalty by our bank for taking advantage of the convenience), we order $2.50 Cokes at restaurants, even though the waiter brings us ice water free of charge. We pay $12 for a bucket of greasy popcorn at the movies, when a whole bag of Redenbacher's unpopped kernels costs only a $1 at the grocery store.
Changing these habits requires a new way of thinking. The following suggestions can help you change your mindset.
Be Prepared — Things happen. Cars break down, water pipes burst, kids accidently knock a baseball through the neighbor's window. You can't predict when these things will happen, but you can be sure that they will. Be prepared. Set aside a certain amount every month and mark it "Miscellaneous Expenses." When a storm rips the shingles right off your roof, you'll be glad you did.
Pay Debt Off Early — It's really a no-brainer. Interest accrues over time. The longer it takes for you to pay down a debt, the more you'll end up paying for it. Try to send that credit card bill or house payment a little extra each month. It won't always be easy, but it'll be worth it in the long run. You should also consider consolidating your debts into a single, low-interest, fixed-rate payment.
Avoid Emotional Spending — It's a fact that people tend to spend more when they are upset. Buying things seems to take our mind off our problems…at least until we look at our finances. Next time you run off to the mall or the bait and tackle shop, take an inventory of your emotional state.
Plan For Retirement Now — According to a recent USA Today study, more than a third of the workforce has nothing set aside for retirement. "So what," you say, "I'll just live on Social Security." But did you know the average annual Social Security payment is only about $11,000? Do you really want to try living on $11,000 a year? If that idea doesn't terrify you, I don't know what will. Set aside something every month for your future.
Buy Insurance — It's easy to skimp on insurance, especially when money is tight. But it's a fact that bad things happen to good people. And the human body is prone to all kinds of ailments and diseases. A monthly insurance payment may seem tough sometimes, or even extraneous, but if unexpected health problems or accidents crop up, it'll be cheaper than paying out of pocket.
Sometimes learning how to better spend your money is the key to eliminating mistakes and to save even more. To learn more about how you can slash your spending and avoid making these money mistakes,