It is quite common in today's society to have a life that is complicated by finances. Or rather, lack thereof. We can buy so much that the money we've worked hard to earn is spent before it even arrives in our bank account.
It is so easy to spend before we earn as a lot of things can be bought on credit today. Whether it's a house that will have ongoing repayments, a car or even appliances, many things can be acquired quickly, and then paid for over a long period of time. This is a recipe for financial disaster in the long run and can drive people steadily into debt that they cannot get out of.
So how do you turn expensive living around? How do you get on top of your finances and dar I say it — start saving to get ahead? Well, there are two possible solutions to this problem.
1. Cutting Costs
The first solution is to cut down on your spending. Maybe you're doing to have to sacrifice that delicious barista coffee each morning before work or change shampoo brands to cut costs. The good news is, it's completely up to you to decide what you can do without or what item you can change.
You may find that there are particular things you buy that you don't really need to — they're a frivolous luxury. Or, you may find that there is a cheaper alternative to what you are currently purchasing. Changing brands can mean that you save money without having to miss out.
My husband and I buy a lot of "home brands" or generic brand items. We're not paying for fancy packaging and although there may be a slight difference in the taste or smell of some items, we find it is preferable to pay the smaller price for them.
Believe it or not, it is also possible for you to cut costs buy buying in bulk. If there are items you consistently use that you can buy in bulk, you will save money over the longer term. An example for our family is rice. We buy 10 kilogram bags on sale at 10c per 100 grams. This is cheaper than the smaller packets that are 14-22c per gram!
It you have the funds handy, you can also stock up when the sales are on. If a product you consistently use is half price, then buy more than you need! After all, you're getting two for the price of one. You may as well have spares sitting in the cupboard for when they'll be needed.
Another way to cut down on your spending is to barter services. Perhaps you could do washing for someone in exchange for them providing produce from their veggie garden. This will cut down on your food shop bill. Think outside the box.
2. Increasing What You Earn
Just can't cut your cost of living? Well the second option to get on top of your finances is to bring in more money.
Perhaps you can pick up an extra shift — or shifts! Or maybe you can acquire a second job. How long has it been since you approached your boss for a raise? There are a number of different ways you can bring in extra money to assist your financial lifestyle.
Make Your Money Work Harder
It is important to manage your finances so that you can be — and earning interest. It's a waste if your money is not sitting in savings and working for you. No perhaps you're not in a position to put aside money each week or month. Maybe you just need to do a little rearranging instead — make your finances work differently.
Do you put money aside for bills? Or does your money sit in an everyday account until it's needed for food, shopping, gas, utilities, etc?
Have you considered having this money sitting in a savings account until it's needed? Here's an idea — determind a figure that you need to have in your everyday account for the week. Then, put the rest of your money in savings until you need it.
Perhaps you know you have a bill next month that is around $200. Well, until that bill falls through, that $200 could be sitting in a savings account, earning you interest. Even if it's not in savings, it is money that can work for you until it's needed. Be wise with what's sitting in your bank account.
It's not always possible to cut costs or bring in more income, but it is possible to be wise with our money. Don't buy on credit unless you have no alternative (sometimes going without is a better alternative!). For the money that you've been blessed with, be sure to put it to work until you have to part with it. Your financial situation will look healthier in time with this action.