Living Better For Less

| 10/28/2015 10:09:00 AM

Blue Jean MamaA great many people, myself included, have overspent and under saved in their lives. Financial establishments make it very easy to have your wishes granted with the swipe of an easy to secure credit card. Things pop up. The kids have a birthday, your friends want to get together for a dinner out and a show, the family wants a vacation and someone wants the latest fad or new fashion.  The list of money robbers goes on forever. You just keep popping out the credit card and then…the bills arrive. Financial stress sets in and many arguments with the pointing of fingers begins. Many times the stress over money will result in a family parting ways. It is so unfortunate that instant gratification can cause so much grief after a VERY brief high of the, I just had to get it or I deserved it, impulsive purchase.

If you want to live a secure life, it is up to you. By making a few changes in the way you are currently spending your money you can become financially secure. Sure, that is easy to say, but, it really can happen with some planning and soul searching.

Living a self-sufficient life means many things, but one of the most important is to become debt free as fast as you can to make your independent life more fulfilling. You start by committing to change. It is just like a diet, there has to be an “ah-ha” moment when you realize the time is NOW. Once you are ready to make a change, things will start to improve. It will take some time but with each hurdle you cross you’ll be one step closer to independence and a more relaxed life.

Monthly expenses

The Plan

  1. Start by writing down EVERYTHING you spend for a month. Don’t leave any item off your list no matter how trivial.
  2. Make a list of every expense you owe. The VERY first bill on your list should be a debt to yourself. Pay yourself a set amount even if it is only $10 a month. The more you can pay yourself the better. It will add up. This will include your mortgage or rent, all the costs to keep your home (power, cable, insurance, etc.), all credit cards (both the balance, minimum payment and the interest rate), vehicle loans, car insurance, food, clothing, medical payments, student loans, and ALL other bills you pay. There is a great resource,, that can help you keep track of all your financial matters and it is free to sign up.
  3. Make a list of your income for the month and where it comes from. Do you have any money you expect to receive from onetime sources such as cash rebates, a bonus, a tax refund, overtime earning income, a raise, a gift, an inheritance, or money from selling some belongings?
  4. List the items you have that hold value (assets) such as collections, jewelry, vehicles, equipment and any other items you may have.

Once you have your lists made and you have a month’s worth of items you spent money on, sit down together and look over where your money went. I bet you will be shocked at how much you spent on things that had little value. There is a phase heard often when someone spends money, “it’s only a little,” but all those littles add up big time. The other thing that most people don’t think about is the interest they pay when using a credit card. The item you got on sale, if not paid off at the end of the month, will cost you more than it would have with cash and at the regular price. Those interest rates just keep adding up and over time will destroy you financially.

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