Commodity prices continue to rise today and with the recent recession and austerity measures being implemented by company CEOs, perhaps you’re among the millions of people who haven’t had a pay raise in the last couple of years. You ask yourself, “Should I make difficult sacrifices?” Or “Is it time to break the bank?”
In the endless battle between earnings and expenses, you might always think you’re on the losing side. Your buying power is depleting and it might make sense that you now have to lose some of the hobbies you enjoy but, let’s make it simple. Get your priorities straight with this checklist:
Get rid of your vices
Smoking and drinking can cost a lot more than you think. Sure, a Friday night out with the gang is reasonable. Daily drinking is something else. Think of how much you spend on alcoholic drinks and you’ll see how much you can save in a month. Smoking is surely worth quitting, too. Though it may be hard, it will not only save you a lot of money but will also save your health. Think about it.
Regularly check group-buying sites for coupons that can help you good deals on grocery items. You can save a lot of money this way. Also if you’re used to branded products, be open-minded and try out the lesser known brands. This is most effective when buying toothpaste, tissue rolls, and cooking oil.
Also, the best way to save on groceries is to grow your own food. If you have the space, a spare pot around your house or apartment, you can plant herbs and spices. Or if you have a whole garden, it’s best that you plant edible fruits and vegetables. This way, you are not only saving money but also ensuring that you consume healthy, GMO-free food.
Check your appliances at home. Your movie players, radio, microwave ovens –most of them stay “on” when plugged into an electrical outlet. It would be better to buy an auto-voltage regulator or an extension cord with a switch so that you can easily turn off all electric appliances when not using them. You will notice it in your next electric bill when your usage goes down. Make sure that your faucets and showers don’t have leaks too.
For mobile phones, it’s more economical to use messaging apps to make calls and send messages. You will not incur charges this way, unlike when you use your telecom provider’s services. These apps can be used anywhere where there’s Wi-Fi.
Credit Cards and Debt
If you’re knee-deep in credit card debt, it could benefit you to get a loan to pay it off to be able to give yourself some breathing room. Plan your monthly budget, which would include payments for the new loan. Once fully paid, cancel credit cards and apply for a new one. You’ll be able to enjoy their first-time perks and rewards. This is quite easy to do because you can now acquire a credit card online.
Travelling and Vacation
Watch out for promos on cheap flights and cruises! This is the best way to go on a vacation. You can still enjoy the thrill of travelling without burning a hole in your pocket. Travel agencies also offer discounts if you’re going as a group. Convince your friends to come with you, it will be cheaper and more fun. This same method is also useful when you go to work or when you go out. Travel with a group in a carpool and then chip in on expensive gasoline for your gas-guzzling SUV.
One useful reminder: always be on the watch for promotional offers on free stuff and experiences. It wouldn’t hurt if you join Facebook contests and other social media competitions.
Remember the things on this list, as they will help you increase your savings while you work hard and wait for that coveted work promotion. In this economy, you have to be practical instead of wasteful. It’s not too hard. All you’ve got to do is change your mind-set.
Besides, what exactly is a happy lifestyle? Isn’t it more about being contented with what you have?
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