My Personal Guide To Personal Finance
Now before I get into this let me give this disclaimer. I don't intend to solve all your financial problems. I will personally admit I am not perfect. My suggestions will not solve the economic struggles in the United States. I do hope that you will find something to help you out - even if you're Bill Gates. So lets just jump right in to my suggestions.
At the Grocery Store
My first suggestion when going to get groceries: Make a list and stick to it. This can help avoid going over that budget.
Another suggestion I have is do not go to the store hungry. For some reason, and I have personally experienced this, when we go to the store if we go after dinner we spend a lot less than if we going in the middle of the day.
Another thing at the store that we should all do is check the price per unit. Now be very careful when doing this. Just because something is cheaper does not mean it will fit. For instance, some off name brands of Macaroni and Cheese take like garbage. So the 10 cents you save is not worth it if you are not going to use it. But on the flip side, my wife who love to bake has discovered that the off name brand cake and brownie mixes are just as good, if not better.
Be very careful at Sams Club/Costco type stores. I can't go in there and only get the three things on my list. If you can stick to your list when you go there then more power to you. I always find myself getting hot-wings or something like that - usually an item not on my list.
Be careful when using coupons. Clipping coupons is a great money saver if you are careful. First of all, only take coupons to the store of things on your list. Then check to see if the store has put an off name brand of the same product on sale to match the coupon. Or it might just be that the coupon gets you CLOSE to the price of the off name brand product. Also with coupons remember that the manufacturers mostly produce those and they are just trying to increase the sales of some of their products. (Here is a hub about coupons)
Have Food Storage
Before you navigate away from the screen let me explain what I mean. When you get a food storage the idea behind it is that its things that you use everyday. Our food storage contains, canned corn and green beans (kids like them a lot), Cream of Chicken, Sugar, Flour, and various other goods like that. Now the advantage comes in because we need this stuff for our everyday use and our food-storage so we can buy in bulk. And for most of these type of products you can save money in bulk purchases. But again be careful when buying in bulk!
Will You Kids Turn Out The Lights?
At home we waste a lot of money. I bet that I have to turn out the lights after my kids 10 times a night from the time I get home from work and when they go to bed. Now just turning out the lights when your not using them is not all that we can do. These new CFL bulbs are extremely efficient and provide the same light for much less energy use. And lets be honest, less energy use means more money in your pocket. Some other ways we can improve our energy use at home.
- Turn off the computer at night. That can save almost $100 a year
- Put on a long sleeve shirt in the winter and turn down the thermostat
- Make sure that windows and door are not leaking air (in or out)
- Check your water usage. Make sure you are not watering your sidewalk in the summers
- Plant shade trees to block the sun in the summer. But also make sure they lose their leaves in the winter to allow the sun to warm your home when its colder outside.
Debt - Such an Ugly Word!
Debt - just avoid it! But there are some things that you almost have to do. Buying a home on credit, buying a car on credit, and getting an education. For other things avoid it. Some people can work the system though.
If your going to get a credit card, get one that rewards you for using it. Get one that pays you cash or gives you free product. Also avoid a card with a membership fee, and get one with a low interest rate. I personally have a Cabelas card. I don't use the card all that much, but its enough that I haven't had to "pay" for a fly for a few years. I just use my rewards points at Cabelas.com.
You've Had Enough Sugar!
So how much do you waste on snacks? Recently at work I was walking by the vending machines and I saw a sign that read that prices would be increasing. So our economic struggles are hitting us everywhere. Here is the thing about snacking. First of all its not healthy. And it does cost money. Even a dollar a day is $30 a month or $360 dollars a year. But lets also think about the long term affects. Health care costs are rising and when you are old, its going to be expensive. Save that dollar and pay for your long term health.
Another thing people do is drink soda. Your dentist will hate me, but that is terrible for your teeth. So not drinking soda, saves you money directly but also saves on visits to the dentist.
Another thing I think we waste on, and its actually healthy, is bottled water. For the most part water is free. You can buy a water-bottle that you can refill for a couple dollars. And on top of it, what is with the water with calories. If I want vitamins in a drink, I will drink a sports drink not water. More money down the drain.
Bottom line there are a ton of things we can do to better our financial situation. These are just scratching the surface of what is possible. I wonder though, how much better would the economy of the United States be if everyone had better financial habits?