Learn how to take control of your own financial freedom.
Saving extra $100 a month may not sound like a lot of money to some people, but one of the reasons why the recession that began in the fall of 2008 hit so many families so hard was that a large percentage of Americans had got out of the habit of saving money.
If you have lost your job or had to take a pay cut, it might seem impossible to try to find any spare cash in your household. You have two options. Earn more money through part-time work or other ways of bringing in extra cash, or trim a bit from your budget and start saving.
Doing both will help your family finances fast. Here is a look at some of the simplest ways to save more each month so that you can break free of debt and start saving for your family’s future.
*Pay down your credit cards.
If you are carrying any balances on your credit cards, one of the best ways to save money each month is to start paying down the balances as quickly as possible. Look at all of your bills and see which card/s carry the highest interest rates. Pay the minimums on all the others, but make it a point of paying down the highest interest cards first. Once the first one is paid off, pay off the one with the second highest interest rate, then the third, and so on.
If you are like most Americans, you are probably carrying at least $8,000 in credit card debt. Think of the financial freedom you will have if you are no longer having to pay interest on that amount each month. It can add up to more than $100 per month saved, and put into an emergency fund.
Don’t cut up your credit cards, as they are a measure of your credit worthiness, but remember that you will not want to use any of your cards except the lowest interest card, and only in the case of a true emergency. As for the others, pay them down as fast as you can with any money you can manage to save each month from the other saving success strategies in this article, and see what a difference all these savings can make to your financial future.
*Get a SodaStream System
If your kids like soda but you are not crazy about the price, try a SodaStream system to carbonate filtered tap water to make your own soda at home. The flavorings that come with the system let you make everything from cola to root beer and lemon lime flavor like Sprite or 7-Up. You will be able to make the same amount of soda as you would buy in a bottle for pennies. You can also save money by not having to stock up on beverages at the store and then transporting them home in your car. There will be no need to worry about bottle deposits either.
*Buy used clothes.
Goodwill, Salvation Army, and resale shops have some very nice clothes that in many cases have never even been worn. People who receive these items as gifts often donate them to charity rather than re-gift them. These shops are also a great source of baby and children’s clothing and other items. You can pick up fabulous bargains for less than a dollar each.
Whenever you shop for clothes, always keep in mind what you already have to try to stretch each outfit further to make the most of it. Avoid anything too fashionable or outlandish looking. People will notice how often you wear it and it will go out of style quickly, dating your look within a year.
One of the best things you can buy at these stores is outerwear and kids’ shoes. Children grow so fast they often grow out of these items long before they ever get worn out. You can save hundred on these items alone if you are prepared to be patient.
While it is true that we don’t tend to buy clothes every month, we need to put money aside in our budget to be able to afford it at certain times of the year, such as back to school, when the seasons change, birthdays and Christmas. Therefore, you could easily save $100 a month, $1200 a year on clothes if you shop pre-owned clothes and all the sales.
Extra hint: You can donate your gently used items to the Salvation Army too. Look at the website for the values they assign to various items. Be sure to get an itemized receipt and then add it al up. Deduct this amount from your taxes next April. You might find that you save $100 a month just from these donations. They accept a wide variety of items, not just clothes, so if you have anything gathering dust in the attic or garage, put those items at work for you by donating them by the end of the year and banking the money you save on your taxes.
Saving money is never easy, especially in a society which emphasizes ‘having it all.’ But even better than a house full of possessions or a non-stop round of socializing is the financial freedom you can gain once you are debt free.
Spending money traps you in a cycle of debt and endless longing for even more material goods. Saving money frees you so you can have more choices and not live under the stress of being in debt. Use these tips to save $100 each month (or more!) and see what a difference it can make to the quality of your life and your family’s future.
You might also be interested in: How to Save Money and Even Boost Your Income in This Recession
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Your Action Plan to Financial Freedom
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