Regardless of your wealth or income level, achieving ongoing financial health does not allow for wasting money. For evidence, think of the number of high-profile earners beset by financial difficulties - despite making millions in Hollywood or on the playing field. Though your financial concerns may be more conservative than bankrupt celebrities, you are at similar risk, if you allow wasteful spending to run away with your earnings.
Fortunately, you are not alone in your quest for a cost-conscious standard of living. The many committed personal money managers who have come before you have explored almost countless frugal lifestyle strategies, so with the help of their experience and your own ingenuity, you are well-equipped to trim your household spending. As you put your finances under the spotlight, consider the benefits of these straightforward tactics:
Refinance - Paying for major purchases represents a significant financial commitment. Home loans, for instance, are repaid over the course of decades, so entering into a mortgage contract is not to be taken lightly. Fortunately for borrowers, however, terms are always open for renegotiation. Homeowners with outstanding mortgage debt should remain mindful of refinancing opportunities, which can represent substantial financial windfalls for those able to negotiate better repayment terms. In order to evaluate various funding scenarios, consult with your mortgage broker or use online resources to track lending trends.
Consolidate - Debt carries a heavy weight for borrowers struggling to keep pace with credit card interest expense and other costs of credit. Depending upon the types of debt you currently carry, it may be possible to consolidate some of your troublesome outstanding balances, for repayment under better terms. Using a personal loan to pay off balances, for example, replaces high-interest credit card bills with affordable monthly payments. Consolidation candidates can compare loans online, evaluating various types of financing and terms offered by leading lenders.
Pay as You Go - Revolving credit is a modern convenience, diminishing the role of hard currency in daily life. In principle, credit card users are entitled to repay an entire balance each billing period, to avoid finance charges. But in practice, many users carry-over credit card balances from month to month, gradually building substantial debt. Reversing the trend is one way to save money. For starters, annual card memberships and finance charges do not apply to cash purchases, so simply leaning less on plastic is a solid first step toward financial security. Turning away from cards also reinforces the direct relationship between your income and spending, which makes you think twice at the point of sale.
Conserve - Waste has serious impacts on your household budget. And worse, it isn't always apparent how much money is squandered - even as resources are wasted. If you are serious about tightening-up your household cash flow, start by taking a stand against waste. Conserving at home furnishes several fronts for savings.
Energy and food are prime categories for trimming, giving you two ways to start saving immediately. Turn off lights, unplug electronic devices, control your thermostat - these and other proven practices address energy waste in the home. And more efficient driving habits will help you use less fuel on the road. At the supermarket, sensible shopping, to a planned weekly menu, yields the most bang for your buck, accounting for leftovers and keeping spoilage under wraps.
Be an Educated Consumer - Making commitments without understanding what you're getting into is typically a bad idea. In the context of consumer spending, it can be an expensive approach, as well. On the other hand, research and efforts to compare price, workmanship and value pay dividends for educated consumers. To save money on big-ticket purchases, as well as day to day buys, use available resources to educate yourself. Success starts with general awareness. And though you don't necessarily need to be a financial expert, smart shopping can save you money on everything from toothpaste to condominiums.
Cost effective decision-making is a mainstay of long-term financial stability. As you manage household cash flow, use these five common sense practices to start saving money right away and to ensure ongoing fiscal health.