6 easy tricks to stretch your income
Tired of your income disappearing before the bills are paid? These six tips will free up more income to meet your needs and wants.
This post comes from Allison Martin at partner site Money Talks News.
Ever sat and thought about all the things you could do if you had more money? You're not alone.
But when it comes down to it, there's probably very little spare change lying around. So, the first step is to figure out where you stand in terms of disposable income and make spending cuts.
But deprivation is not the answer. If you're hungry, eat. It doesn't make sense to starve yourself and justify it by saying that you need to save money. You get my point.
Here are a few realistic ideas to help you get started:
1. Stop swiping
Is your debit card getting you into trouble? Perhaps your balance is being dinged by overdraft fees, or maybe impulse buys mean you run out of money before your bills are paid.
If so, put away the card and use cash instead. Also, take care of yourself and your household first before you tend to any other nonessential items.
If the credit cards are a problem, put them where you can't easily get at them, and pay off the balance due. Call the credit card company and see if it will work out a repayment plan for you.
2. Say goodbye to dining on the fly
Way too painful to do? Well, you may have to do so at least temporarily until you make cuts elsewhere or increase your income, because this area is arguably the most common budget buster of them all.
When was the last time you sat down and crunched the numbers to see how much you really spend on food? If the number is relatively low, kudos to you. But I can assure you that this isn't the case for most of us. If it were, a number of dining establishments would be out of business.
I completely understand that prepping food at home can be quite time-consuming, but it can also save you a ton of cash. Isn't that the objective here? To help streamline the process, set a weekly budget for food and use a meal planner that incorporates coupons. Also, cook large portions and don't be afraid to put the microwave to use the following day.
3. Bring the party home
We all need to unwind on occasion, some more than others. But if you're going to dig yourself in a hole doing so, that's no fun. Instead, save yourself the heartache and have your pals bring over a covered dish, their beverage of choice, and their favorite board game.
Take a look at "14 ways to have more fun for less money" for additional inexpensive entertainment ideas.
4. Pay close attention to your surroundings
It may be time to have a utility audit done to determine what's driving up the monthly bill. Also, do you really need a cable box in every room, if any at all? Netflix and online television are always an option. And as for your well-manicured lawn, is there a way you can cut back on the number of services per month or do it yourself?
Renting a place and the lease agreement is due to expire soon? You may want to consider downsizing to give your pockets a break. But be sure to weigh the costs of moving and doling out cash for a security deposit against the benefits of a lower monthly payment.
5. Park your ride
Give your car a break and tag along with someone else. Not only is this less stressful because of the convenient HOV lanes, but much cheaper. You can also walk or ride your bicycle to work if your residence is in close proximity to your place of employment to cut costs and stay fit.
And while you're at it, if your car is eating up a large chunk of your monthly income, you may want to look into finding a cheaper alternative.
6. And for all your other expenses …
Depending on how severe the situation is, you may have to cut out a ton of other lovely little pleasures that I haven't mentioned.
Need a few ideas? Let's start by shaving down the hair and spa appointments, trips to the car wash and late-night runs to the convenience store for your favorite snacks. Once you implement these cuts, you will more than likely be able to make your income work for you and even save a little cash while doing so.
Having a hard time getting started? Check out "How to develop an effortless budget you'll stick to" or drop into your local financial institution or an accredited credit counseling agency for free advice.
Do you have any additional tips?
More from Money Talks News
First keep as much of your income for yourself. Vote to remove from office anyone who wants to increase the amount that is taken from you or your neighbor.
Insist that the centralized federal government return to you a greater portion of your income than is currently being taken until the amount is either zero or is equal for every US citizen, which ever comes first. Vote to remove from office those that oppose equal treatment under the law for all US citizens, including the income tax law.
Insist that the politicians eliminate federal government involvment in all programs that are not explicitly called for in the Constitution. Vote to remove those from office that wish to maintain the size of the centralized federal government or wish to expand it our its regulatory ability.
what a **** article LOL park your car and ride to work on a bike? ok so you'll get to work saving 5-10 dollars on gas..and with the time it takes ( 3 times longer ) you'll lose the time it took to make that 5-10 dollars..ROFL what a joke......how is that good advice...and how many people live within 5 miles of there work? and what if my bike gets a flat tire.. guess ill just get fired for being late..awesome advice msn...
Then later, eating grass and leaves.
Eventually we will welcome Chinese 'managers' because they will give us food and better socks.
OR..............let's just throw every bum in Congress and in the White House out now, along with millions of leeches in every category of government employ that suck up taxes, occupy space and breath our air and do nothing more besides causing friction and problems for the few of us we who are still out here trying to make an honest living.
Buy a home WAY BELOW your means.
Find a home that's maybe a bit smaller than you'd have preferred or needs a bit of sprucing up.
People buy homes costing two to three times their annual income and create their own potential financial mess by doing so.
My home cost 7 months income.
My daughter's Offer to Purchase on a home was accepted this weekend--and I just ran the numbers and it's only 7 months of her income, too---and she's paying cash for the home. She's only 33 years old and will be moving into a paid-in-full home :) Well, if the inspection goes well enough--she's getting that done this week--but she's very practical and knows all homes often need some things done and she's fine with that.
We both have homes in decent neighborhoods.
The only way for American wage to rise is nationalistic policies that bring back stiff tariffs and trust busting to increase competition. Increased competition leads to more value placed on good employees and stiff tariffs will force companies to produce here leading to more jobs and an increase in competition for workers. "Free trade" is the greatest single cause of the loss of American jobs.
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
ABOUT SMART SPENDING
LATEST BLOG POSTS
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
BLOGS WE LIKE
MUST-SEE ON MSN
A charcuterie master shares his process for cold-smoking meat at home.
- Jetpacks about to go mainstream
- Weird things covered by home insurance
- Bing: 70 percent of adults report 'digital eye strain'