If you find yourself working to pay the bills rather than working to pay yourself, it may be time to adopt a strict financial routine. Sticking to a financial routine can be as boring and mundane as the latest fad diet, and as a result, its hard to stay engaged. It may seem like a lot of work, with little immediate reward, but you shouldn’t be into debt management or wealth building for immediate gratification. If you are, I am afraid you will be disappointed, maybe you ought to consider the quarter slots. If you’re in for the long haul, then consider creating a strict financial routine.
I now have a financial routine, but in all honesty, most of my life I was very erratic with regard to saving and spending. I didn’t have a parent or mentor to teach me about developing a personal balance statement. I was lucky to have had basic money management skills, and maybe that was because I always worked and therefore always had cash that required management. But for many folks, money management skills are elusive and easily forgotten due to the fact that we have such a busy, demanding lives. I have set a personal finance day, well actually two days. These are the two days of the month where I pay bills, allocate savings, and plan my financial roadmap. By doing this it causes me to be proactive with my finances and more responsible with them. Mine are on the 1st and the 21st of every month.
I have chosen these days because the 1st is when my home mortgage and my rental property mortgages are due. The 21st is when my credit card is due. I try to put all my spending on credit card, as a way to track where I am allocating my spending, and it’s a fabulous reminder of my frivolous spending, I strongly recommend this! By being conscious of my total spending, I have to tell you, it has rehabilitated my wasteful spending ways. I am more in control, more aware and as a result have saved more money.
Focus on the cost of your time. Think of what an item costs you in time, rather than money. If you think, well if I want this new ipad, it is going to cost me 55 hours of my time in order to acquire it. That is not counting all the other bills you have, just 55 hours allotted to cover the cost of an ipad. Is it worth that? If it is, then that ipad will have much more meaning than it would have, if you just put it on credit card and paid the bill over the next 6 months.
Be a savvy grocery shopper. Buying groceries for meals at home doesn’t necessarily save you money. I find myself overspending on ingredients and end up throwing half of them away. That can add up. So I recommend, planning for 3 meals in advance, hopefully being able to reuse some ingredients from the first to cover the other two. Coupons are good, but don’t let them encourage you to buy things you don’t need. Visit Coupon Sherpa for access to grocery coupons from Tide and other items that are already on your shopping list. Remember that coupons are a form of marketing, and marketing is meant to separate you from your money! And of course, a savvy grocery shopper always avoids shopping on an empty stomach, a rumbling tummy always leads to impulse buying! Start keeping price data on the 10 items you buy the most. You will quickly figure out where those 10 items could be found cheaper. We buy a lot of milk, and prefer organic, so I know that Walmart (while I really don’t like to do my shopping there) sells the organic milk we like for 50 cents cheaper than Kroger (my other option) so, I find it is worth going there just for it. For a more in-depth report on the importance of saving money on groceries check out Vanessa’s post at Cash Cow Couple.
So I hope you can adopt these tips and find that your wallet is thicker in a few short months. If you need help with debt management, here are a few great articles I strongly recommend:
How and why you should get out of debt…..The Frugal Farmer
The Sweet Spot: Where spending and frugality coexist….The Heavy Purse
Avoiding My Financial Nightmare…Plunged in debt
If you need help with wealth building, here are a few great articles I would recommend:
The Rules for Investing Money…..Brick By Brick Investing
Making your Assets Work For You.….Your PF pro
Choosing your Investment Strategy…Reach Financial Independence
Best Short Term Investments…Gajizmo
Photo credit: Bark.