When deciding if you should part with your hard earned cash you need to think about how it will affect your overall finances. Will buying a new pair of shoes prohibit you from paying your electric bill? Will going out to dinner make you short on rent? You have to think about how you spend your money and how you should prioritize it.
Also, making a concerted effort to put money aside is something you need to train yourself to do. You've heard of paying yourself first, right? If not, then you need to decide on a set amount to put away in a savings account, mutual fund, or the like every month that you won't, or can't touch. Even if it's only $20 or $50 a month, pay yourself like you're another bill and start saving your cash!
While you are retraining your way of thinking on what you do with your money, here are a few tips on how you can give yourself a little extra cash each month.
1. Keep your changeDon't pooh-pooh the ten or twelve cents you get back from your purchases. Collect all your coins in a jar and watch them build up over time. You'll be surprised how quickly all those pennies and nickels add up.
2. Eliminate your expensive habitsThis includes smoking, Starbucks runs and going out for drinks with friends a couple times a week. Instead of spending a few dollars each time on these purchases, throw that money in your coin jar.
3. Search out lower interest ratesIf you can't afford it you probably shouldn't buy it... but sometimes emergencies happen and you need plastic to bail you out. If you find yourself in credit card debt, see if you can possibly transfer your balances to a lower -- or even zero percent -- interest rate card. This will ensure you pay off your cards faster without adding on 20% interest that will take you years to pay off.
4. Buy and sell usedCheck out resale shops, eBay and estate sales for clothing, furniture and books. There are many shops that recycle quality clothing and home items that won't require you to spend full price. You can also sell your own stuff that you don't use anymore and make some extra cash for yourself.
5. Brown bag itStop going out to lunch and bring it with you from home instead. This can actually save you a lot of money, especially when considering eating out can often cost you ten to twenty dollars a day.
6. Find alternative means of transportationWith gas prices reaching over three dollars a gallon, cutting down on how much you drive your car will definitely save you some dough. Use public transportation, carpool -- or if you live close enough, walk or bike to work.
These are just a few small things you can do to give yourself a little extra padding each month, but it really is all about a lifestyle change. Budget out your finances and figure out if you are bringing in more money than you are spending. If you're not, then you need to look at where your cash is going and what you can feasibly eliminate from your life.
There are countless ways to save money -- and by keeping these tips in mind you'll be on your way to a more cash-friendly future!
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