Financial freedom and independence are something almost every person dream of achieving one day. Living from paycheck to paycheck and mounting up piles of debt can be an extremely stressful and precarious way to live, but luckily there are several straightforward steps you can take to break out of that lifestyle and accomplish your monetary goals.
So, whether you’re trying to save up for a specific goal, such as a down payment on a house or a retirement fund, or you simply want to stop spending more than you can afford to, the following tips can help you make it happen.
Assess any loans or credit card debt you have
First, it’s a good idea to look at the current loans and debts; you have to see how best to deal with them. For example, you could consider consolidating your credit card debt or opt to refinance a car loan to bring down the interest rate (APR) you’re paying, meaning that you will pay less interest overall across the life of your loan.
There may be ways that you can reduce your monthly payments, too. Paying off your debt or getting it to a manageable level will go a long way towards reducing your financial stress.
Review your memberships and subscriptions
Another aspect of your spending to look at is memberships and subscriptions. You would be surprised at how many people have gym memberships they don’t use or digital subscriptions they’ve forgotten about.
Check your bank statements and cancel any that you feel are a waste of money, and then reassess those you want to keep – they may well have better deals available if you opt for a longer subscription or pay by direct debit. It might even be possible to negotiate a better deal on some services if you threaten to cancel your membership/subscription.
Before you spend any money, take some time to make sure you’re getting the best deal on that product or service. This includes everything from insurance and household items to internet and cellphone services. Small savings here and there can quickly add up to large amounts, which you can then squirrel away into a savings account or put towards paying off your debt.
This even goes for food shopping. Try switching from expensive brands to cheaper grocery store alternatives – very often, they taste the same, and you’ll be surprised at how much you can save this way!
Consider purchases carefully
Impulse buying is a dangerous game! Before you make any large purchases, wait 24 or 48 hours and think long and hard about whether you genuinely need it. Another helpful tip can be to calculate how much the item will cost you in terms of work time – in other words, how many hours do you need to work to earn enough to cover the cost? Then see if you want it that much.
Similarly, when it comes to frequent purchases such as takeaway coffees, try working out how much you spend per year on that item, and therefore how much you could save by stopping!