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10 Ways to Improve Your Finances

Updated on January 13, 2009

I would venture to guess that most people would like to improve their financial situation, regardless of where you are at now.  There are many things that you can do, regardless of where you are at right now, that will help you be in a better financial position this year.

  1. Read a book on finances or frugal living.  Try to borrow the book from the library if you can.  Knowledge is power and the more you read about these topics the more in control of your situation you will be.  They aren’t as boring as you might think.
  2. Make a budget.  A budget does not have to be a bad thing.  A budget is a guide for the way you want to spend your money.  YOU are setting your budget.  Set it the way you want to, but then try your hardest to stick to it.  It should be a work in progress.  At the end of a pay period, evaluate to see where you need to make changes and adjust accordingly.  A budget is a tool to help you, not make your life miserable.
  3. Go to the grocery store with cash, whatever your budget is, take only that amount.  This will make you more aware of what you are buying and help you save money.
  4. Save $1 a day.  Get a coffee can or a box and put $1 each day into it for the year.  At the end of the year you will have accomplished a few things.  You will have proven to yourself that you CAN save money.  You will have $365 to use however you want.  It might allow you to pay cash for Christmas, meaning you can avoid debt.  It might pay a month’s high heating bill in the middle of winter.  Think of this as a mini emergency fund.  It is always a good idea to have cash on hand in case of an emergency and this will accomplish that too.
  5. Pick an area in your life that you want to cut back in and take the steps to do it.  If you want to start taking a lunch from home instead of eating out, then start doing it.  If you want to reduce your electric bill then find a way to do that.  It could be hanging your laundry, changing your bulbs to fluorescent, putting your appliances on a power strip, or anything you want to do.  Just pick an area and make some changes to move in the direction you want to go.  You don’t have to start everything at once.  Go slowly with your changes and you are more likely to keep doing them.
  6. Cut something wasteful out of your life.  It could be anything, we all have our weaknesses.  Many of us have dozens of areas where we waste time, resources or money each week.  Stop wasting time and money and you will improve your life.
  7. Start paying attention to the little things.  Small leaks sink big ships.  Paying attention to all the little ways you spend money each day will help you save money.  Being aware of the outgo is the first step to improving your finances. 
  8. Take 15 minutes to call someone.  For instance it could be the cable company to drop extras from your monthly bill.  It could be a credit card company to try to get a lower interest rate.  You might call different trash companies and find a lower monthly fee.  Call someone and try to reduce your monthly expenses.
  9. Evaluate your wants versus your needs.  Do you want the magazine subscription or do you need it?  Do you want a new pair of shoes or do you need them?  Before you spend money take a moment to decide whether it is something you truly need or just something that you want.
  10. Start a stockpile of food and toiletry items.  When something you buy frequently is on a great sale, buy extra.  Then you won’t have to pay full price next week.  Do this for 6-12 weeks with as many products as you can and pretty soon you won’t be paying full price for anything.  

Take these steps and you will be well on your way to improving your financial position.   


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    • Jennifer Bhala profile image

      Jennifer Bhala 9 years ago from Upstate New York

      What helps me most is a program that actually calculates for me, instanteously, the 'true cost' of every dollar I am spending in relation to my entire financial situation. So, in other words, if I do not spend that money, seeing the total of interest and principal added together I would save, really helps me cut back, more than anything because the math doesn't lie.

      Right now, because of our income, expenses, and current mortgage debt with high interest rates just spending $83 is really costing us (my husband and I) over $2,000. This is true.

      I can show you if you are interested. Great topic that everyone should take note of.

      I think if people had an interactive, real time, plan where they were being coached where the best place to move their money to and also had the ability to do projections, and comparisons before they spent their money, this is what is needed to truly be educated about money. This award winning program does exist, believe it or not.

    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 9 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Taking cash for spending is so important. I used to be a waitress and I always had big amounts of cash with me, but I didn't overspend as many would think. I noticed a huge increase in how much I started spending when I got my first non-restaurant job. Using a card is way too easy and somehow it doesn't register as money in my mind. I've gone back to cash mostly, especially at a grocery store.

      Great HUb! I will be readin a lot more.

    • luxSmee profile image

      luxSmee 9 years ago

      Save your breath on the lower interest rate, the credit card companies will be raising them. And don't respond to those phone calls about getting a lower interest rate, its a scam to get your account number.

    • nadim313 profile image

      nadim313 9 years ago from Kuala Lumpur

      i am ver bad in my finances, i always turn out over budget all the time, try to displin myself to spend on the budget, can do it for a few a month and the it happen again hahaha.

      good tip btw

    • charmine profile image

      charmine 9 years ago

      wow! what great hub, i always have problem's about budgeting the money .but with this article im sure i more less problem ..saving 1$ a day is really good .thnx for sharing this hubs

    • Triplet Mom profile image

      Triplet Mom 9 years ago from West Coast

      Jennifer great hub, I think that #4 is truly important. I am always amazed at what I spend when I think about cutting back even $1. That being said each one of these used together can do amazing things for your finances. Thanks for sharing this helpful hub.

    • Dottie1 profile image

      Dottie1 9 years ago from MA, USA

      Great hub Jennifer as always. I liked #5 especially, about picking something in your life that you would like to cut back on and then take the steps to do it. It just sounds so simple. That's what I like about your hubs, always practical and easy! Thank you.

    • LondonGirl profile image

      LondonGirl 9 years ago from London

      great article.

      I think one thing that can really help is a spending diary - every time you spend anything, write it down! Then you can tell where you are spending money that isn't really worth it, for you.

    • laringo profile image

      laringo 9 years ago from From Berkeley, California.

      These are real good tips Jennifer. I Keep stocked on Toilet paper and sometimes paper towels when on sale, because to me papper towels are not a necessity. I do save change in a jar, and that's adds up fast. The only thing is the hassle of wrapping all the coins. I like your idea of saving a dollar a day (paper dollar Is the ticket). One of the best points is taking cash to the store, which limits compulsive spending. I agree with you on every point in this Hub. Thanks for the tips

    • My profile image

      My 9 years ago from Dallas, TX

      Great article..Jennifer. We talk about these same sort of things and more in our courses.