It’s fair to say careful spending is one of the biggest challenges of life in the 21st century. Thanks to economic turbulence, rampant inflation, and the rising cost of living, it’s getting harder to live without debt.
In fact, a majority of adults in the United States owe money to banks, credit cards, insurers, or student loan companies. Without careful management, these debts can spiral out of control. So, it’s imperative you stay on top of balances, deadlines, interest rates, and other details.
The good news is there are plenty of ways to escape the red zone and get back to black. Keep reading our guide to money management to find out more.
Often, people find it hard to save money because their goals are too vague. You’ve got to give yourself clear, precise targets to work toward. Don’t commit to saving some money. Pick an amount and a timeframe and stick to it.
Set Up a Savings Account
One of the simplest ways to save is to take the decision out of it. If you set up an automatic payment, once or twice per month, it will happen without your help. Even the smallest amount – five or six dollars – can add up to something valuable given enough time.
Pay in an Orderly Fashion
Credit card debts are particularly nefarious because they carry high interest rates. If you owe money on multiple cards, order them according to percentage. Always prioritize the bill with the highest rate, as this is the highest stakes debt. Where possible, pay off more than the minimum amount. Otherwise, you’ll end up paying off the interest, rather than the actual debt.
Reduce Your Bills
It is easy to shave a chunk off household bills. In fact, turning the thermostat down by just one notch is usually enough to cut costs down to size. This can be tough in winter, but there are plenty of options. Turn the heating down just a little and relish the chance to dig your coziest socks and jumpers.
Change Your Cell Plan
Cell phone plans are like car insurance or mortgages. Most people stick with their current plan just because it involves less work. However, you could be missing out on major savings. Get in touch your network provider and ask about a cell phone downgrade. They’ll fill you in on the best possible package for your budget.
Pocket Spare Change
It sounds like a trivial detail, but you’d be amazed at how much money gets thrown away as change. Having a pocket full of coins can be a bit frustrating, but it’s worth holding on to them. Find yourself a jar or container. Throw in your cents and quarters. Before you know it, you’ll have a heap of coins that can be turned into notes at the bank.
Put the Credit Card Down
Credit and debit cards are wonderful things until you stop viewing them as ‘real’ spending. This is quite common. As no physical money is behind handed over, it often feels like card payments don’t really count. To reverse this effect, commit to paying for everything with cash. Set out a specific amount each day. When it’s gone, it’s gone.
Don’t forget that saving cash and taking control of your debts is all about little steps. It’s important to be patient and realize that, even though it might be a long journey, perseverance will lead to success.