With the housing market downturn, high gas prices, and increasing food costs, I am always on the lookout for ways to make my paycheck go as far as possible for my family. So when I stumbled across an article on Yahoo! Finance by Lisa Smith titled 5 Strategies For Surviving Tough Times, I wanted to share and comment on the tips.
The new Apple 3G iPhone comes to mind. Last Friday, people in every city in the U.S. stood in line for up to 24 hours to pay $400 for phone! I’d be curious to know how many of the people that stood in line paid cash and didn’t just slide the plastic and worry about paying it off later.
Take Lynnae’s advice and freeze your credit cards in ice and just pay with cash. It would make it much harder and way more inconvenient to buy stuff you can’t afford if you don’t have credit cards. I urge you to try and only pay with cash for 1 month and see if your spending decreases.
This makes sense, but I would also add that just because you can get 0% interest financing on a purchase does not mean you should buy it. I learned this the hard way when I bought my truck a few years ago. I justified the 0% financing as a reason to upgrade my purchase to a bigger and more expensive truck. Stupid thinking. Now I have a big ol’ truck that I really don’t use to it’s full capability and it costs me a small fortune to fill up at the pump.
Easy to say, harder to actually implement. This is where I think it is important to separate your needs from your wants. Food, clothes, and shelter are the big necessities. But curbside trash service is a want if you can take your trash to the dump once every 2 weeks for half the price.
My wife and I put all our wants and needs, and their associated costs, in an Excel spreadsheet and by doing so were able to easily see where our money was going every month. From there we started slashing the “stuff” and services that were wants or luxuries. For us that was satellite TV, pest control service, and curbside trash removal. All stuff we could easily do without. All money saved went directly to paying off our credit card debt.
The article refers to the government coming in and bailing you out if you get in financial trouble, and how that is not a sound way of thinking. Instead, start working on building up an emergency fund so you can weather the storm if your car breaks down or you get laid off from your job. Personal responsibility for your finances is what will eventually win the race and give you a great sense of accomplishment.
Please feel free to add your tips for surviving a struggling economy. I will go ahead and toss in # 6, which is to use coupons whenever possible. Both online coupons and coupons at the grocery store. After all, money saved is money earned. Here are a few of the most used coupons on my website right now.
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I'm just an average mom, trying to live a frugal life and get out of debt. I write about things that have (and haven't) worked to improve my family's financial situation. What works for me may or may not work for you, and you should always consult a financial advisor before making important financial decisions.
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