Category Archives: Money

10 Tips for Curing Your Spending Addiction

10 Tips for Curing Your Spending AddictionIn today’s consumer society, it’s easy to get caught up in the fervor of buying whatever catches our attention. Credit payments and competitive pricing capture our attention wherever we look, whether it’s the supermarket, a shopping mall, or a bargain hunter’s online shopping bonanza. The kids’ school fundraisers and dining out with friends can add unplanned purchases to the monthly credit card statement or deduct from the checking account balance. If your spending habits are becoming more impulsive and threaten your credit rating or bill-paying status, the following tips can help you to get your spending addiction under control.

Carry Cash

Make cash purchases only. Research shows that shoppers who pay with cash compared to other methods tend to make smaller and less frequent purchases.

Freeze your Credit Cards

Literally. A brilliant cost-cutting expert started keeping her credit cards in a plastic bag in the freezer. To use them, they would have to be thawed. This took time, and she was usually unwilling to wait, so she began using cash instead, which saved her thousands in a few short months!

Avoid Friends Who Love to Shop

Do fun things with them, but don’t go shopping with shoppers, or you’ll likely be tempted to do the same. Some studies suggest that we become more like our friends when we spend time together.

Make a List

Taking a written or mental list along can help to limit purchases. Using a smart phone app or a hand-held calculator can take the guesswork out of buying something you want, especially if you keep your budget allocations in mind.

Start a Savings Account

Even if you already have one, start a savings account for a special purpose. It might be for a vacation, a home renovation, or a new car – anything that you are willing to save for while foregoing temptation purchases.

Get a Hobby

Surprisingly, some people go shopping or bargain hunting as a fun activity or a competitive opportunity. They don’t realize they are overspending until the bill comes in. Getting involved in another fun activity like home decorating, studying a foreign language, or joining a book club provides a creative outlet that won’t cost an arm and a leg.

De-Stress

Shoppers who are stressed from work or a family situation often overspend without meaning to. They distract themselves from the troubling issue by focusing on an action activity, whether fun or needful, such as grocery shopping or buying a new outfit. Relaxing in other ways, such as exercising or reading, can actually save money for some folks.

Work Out Your Emotional Issues

There is some evidence that indicates people who ineffectively manage their emotions for various reasons may be more prone to spend money, sometimes on unnecessary things, as a means of feeling positive or in control. The sense of well-being doesn’t last, however, creating a vicious circle of spending when emotions run at high levels.

Be Grateful

Reflecting on how much we already have to be grateful for helps to reduce the desire to buy more things. It may help to take inventory in the area of your life where shopping may lead to spending more than you can afford. If you’re dreaming of a new patio, enjoy the back yard view with its grass, trees, and flowers instead and relish the savings from not building a patio. If new china is your goal, think about the wonderful memories associated with the china you have been using for years.

Consult an Expert

If you don’t know how to control your spending habits, schedule an appointment with a professional who might be able to help. A therapist can assist you in working through personal issues that may contribute to your desire to buy things. A financial planner can explain the benefits of spending less and saving more.

Overspending can take a toll on every aspect of your life, including other family members. Take steps now to bring spending under control so you can enjoy the income you have without incurring bills you might not be able to pay.

How to Save Money Around the House

How to Save Money Around the HouseSometimes saving money means cutting back on indulgences or changing spending habits. But there are actually lots of simple ways to save money right in the home. All it takes is an awareness and a commitment to doing things differently. Here are some ways to save money around the house. Over time these savings start to add up.

Get New Lightbulbs

Just because a light bulb still works doesn’t mean it’s working for your energy bill. Updating to compact fluorescent light bulbs can save you up to 80 percent on your energy bill, which is pretty significant. They are more expensive so the initial investment might be slightly higher. But they also last way longer than normal bulbs so it’s a win-win situation. Plus they’re not that expensive, think $15 or so for a pack of four. Swap out your most use lamps and lights or replace your old bulbs with energy efficient ones as they burn out. You’ll notice a difference in your electricity bill.

Cut Your Cooling Costs With Curtains

If you have to use air conditioning in the summer, you’ve probably noticed your bills hike with the temperature. But it’s quite easy to keep some of that heat out by installing reflective blinds, which can reduce up to 45 percent of the heat. Window treatments can also be used to keep heat in during the winter, so they’re actually putting in work and saving you money all year round.

Get More Efficient Water Faucets

In addition to cutting down on lengthy showers and big baths, installing low-flow water faucets can significantly cut your water bill. This is particularly important in the kitchen where you can’t really cut back on dish washing time. The low flow water faucets only cost around $10 to $20 but could end up cutting the water bill by 25 to 60 percent. You can still spend the same amount of time washing the dishes. The facet just ensures that less water is used (and wasted) in the process.

Cut the Cable

Cable TV costs on average $768 a year. These days there are so many streaming alternatives that you can watch whatever you want to watch whether or not you actually have cable. So you might not actually need it. Streaming sites like Netflix and Hulu cost somewhere around $10 a month. Even if you’re paying for a couple of them it can still be a far cry from the monthly cable bill.

Unplug Your Electronics at Night

The average person might have dozens of electronics plugged in at a time and not even realize how much energy they’re using. Even if your phone hits full charge the plug in the wall continues to conduct electricity. Consider all the things that might be plugged in at any given time. The lamps, TV, air conditioning unit, computer, electric toothbrushes, etc. An easy way to “unplug” at night without having to actually unplug everything individually is to have electronics plugged into power strips. Then simply switching off the power strip will disconnect the electronics from the power source all at once. The average household spends $100 each year having their electronics plugged in.

Financial Tips from Millionaires

Financial Tips from MillionairesIf anyone should be handing out money advice it’s self-made millionaires (and billionaires.) Creating a life of great wealth means that they clearly have something figured out. Here are some financial tips from millionaires who have managed to make fortunes and hold onto their hard earned money.

Have Multiple Incomes

Jay Leno is incredibly successful in the entertainment industry. Part of his success is due to having multiple sources of incomes, and then only spending from one of them. “I’d bank one and I’d spend one.” He always spent the smaller of the two. He has continued to live off his income from doing stand-up comedy and has never touched any of the money that he made hosting The Tonight Show.

Start Saving ASAP

It makes sense that the sooner you can start making and saving money, the better off you’ll be financially. This is the advice of Mexican businessman Carlos Slim Helú. He started buying bank shares at the age of 12 and worked for his father from a young age. For a few years, he held the title of richest man in the world. It’s too late for most of us to turn around our childhood money habits. But it’s never too late to start now.

Live Well Within Your Means

There are many stories of people making lots of money only to lose it once again. Generally, this has to do with the fact that they’re living outside of their means. This is an important concept no matter how much money you’re making. Warren Buffet became a billionaire investing in smart ways. But he reportedly still lives in the house that he purchased in 1957 for $31,500. He’s worth an estimated $68 billion, he could clearly afford to upgrade. But he hasn’t felt the need to, so he hasn’t.

Separate Needs from Wants

It’s okay to spend some money on wants, since life, after all, should be enjoyed. But it’s a good idea to keep track of which is which just so you have an idea about how much money you actually need to be spending. A good example of this is choosing a car. Safety and efficiency should be the top priorities, and yet many people treat them as status symbols. But not everyone. Ingvar Kamprad of Ikea wealth drives an old Volvo, while Walmart billionaire Jim Walton drives an old pickup truck. Those both happen to be stores that sell consumer goods at lower than average prices. Those people obviously stand behind the concept of their stores in their own life as well.

Do What You Love

It certainly helps to feel motivated in life, and some of that motivation can simply come from following your passions. Millionaire Christopher Paul Gardner was a homeless single father and ultimately turned his life around in a major way. He has said: “Here’s the secret to success: find something you love to do so much, you can’t wait for the sun to rise to do it all over again.”