Now that you’ve changed your financial mindset — and you’re committed to making it a lasting change — here are a number of other concrete ways you can spend more wisely and value your hard work.
· Make a shopping list — and stick to it! For example, grocery shopping makes up a significant part of your spending. Before you go, make a list of what you need. Plan the week’s meals. Then buy only what you need — don’t bother with the “just in case” stuff or be tempted to pick up a few impulse items. And don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry — you’ll almost always spend more!
· Plan ahead for purchase you’ll make. If you wait until the last minute, you’re at the mercy of whatever is available, at whatever the cost. Even if you still have a quarter tank of gas, fill up if you’re near the lowest-price gas station in your area. If you’re out of milk and your only option is a convenience store… you’ll pay too much.
· Delay purchases. You may think you need — or maybe you just want — something right now. But do you really need it? Wait a week… or better yet a month… and see if you change your mind. Often, our emotions drive us to get something now. If you let yourself “cool off”, that desire may go away, saving you a lot of money.
· Carry cash. That way you can only spend what you have, and you’ll make smarter choices. In fact, here’s a thought: Try only using cash for a week. No checks, no credit cards, no debit cards… just cash. Your spending will most likely go down when you have to take out cash to pay instead of swiping a card. Cards are easy spending; cash is hard.
If you have credit card debt, then try the debt snowball method or a consolidation. You could also get a credit card consolidation loan. I used a service called Payoff, which combines all the payments into one. That frees up cash to pay down the principal.
You could also check out this paid off guide to get out of debt.
· Try store brands. House brands typically cost 20 to 30% less than name brands, and often are made by the same supplier. Why pay extra for a fancier label?