As a single mom of 2 daughters, I’m always looking for ways to save money, especially since I’m trying to pay off credit card debt. When I moved here to South Carolina, I had very little debt. But in the 4 1/2 years that we’ve been here, I’ve accumulated more than I’d like to admit.
In order to pay off my credit cards (and my car loan) in less than 3 years, I’ve ramped up my money-saving strategies dramatically.
1. Use Coupons
Every time I spend money, I try to spend less of it. And I do a great job of it by using the internet. I subscribe to blogs and websites which detail upcoming sales at drug and grocery stores as well as the coupons which help consumers to save money. But even when I’m shopping online, I find websites which share promo codes to be very helpful. Websites which share coupon codes for Australia may help if you live there.
2. Eat at Home
Stop spending huge amounts of money for someone else to prepare your meals. They’re not as tasty, nor are they as healthy as the meals you prepare yourself. Plus, you’ll save a huge amount of money. This is hardest for me – at one point I was 4 lunches a week at my desk. That allowed me 1 day a week to eat out with my co-workers. I was losing a pound or 2 each week, and I was starting to feel a little bit better. Not lately. I can tell you it’s been over 3 weeks since I ate a meal at my desk. I feel bloated AND broke. I’ve got to do better.
3. Pay Cash
Unless you’re paying off your credit card balances in full every month, you need to stop using them and start paying off the balances. The only other time I allow myself to use a credit card is when it’s a “same as cash” type of purchase. For example, I just got my car serviced and charged it to a store card. But since it’s 6 month’s same as cash, and I’ve already budgeted for the money to pay off the card in 6 months, I’m not paying any interest.
If you’re paying any amount of interest on your cards, make a plan to get them paid off in the next 3 years, and rework your budget so you meet your goal.
4. Stop Spending!
You don’t need those new shoes or that new TV. The ones you have work just fine. As a matter of fact, if you shop your closets and pantries – maybe you’ll need to clean them out – you’ll find clothes and ingredients you didn’t realize you had! Get rid of the stuff you won’t use because being more organized allows you to save more money.
Get yourself on a budget. It’s one of the most painful financial checkups you’ll make, but knowing exactly where your money is spent will open your eyes. Once you see that you’re spending hundreds of dollars each month eating out or that those daily coffees cost you $120/month, you’ll quickly realize that you need to change some habits. You won’t be able to change these habits overnight, but you’ll see where you need to make some changes.
It doesn’t come easy to make changes in your financial life, but once you begin to do so, you’ll feel like you can breathe. Maybe implement a new money-saving habit once every few weeks. Then after a few months you can assess where you stand. It will be a great feeling to see how small changes make big financial differences.
What are some money-saving habits that you’ve made lately?