Shopping around for the best interest rate you can get is a smart move to make on a big purchase like a house or car, but there are not-so-smart things you might be doing on a daily basis that will sink you financially. Take a look through this list right now, then take a good, honest look at yourself. The sooner you make adjustments, the more solid your financial life will become.
Stop moving around. If you move from one apartment to another every year when the lease is up, you’re probably wasting a lot of money. The direct expenses of the move (boxes, trucks, helpers) are not recoverable. When you add in the cost of new bed or bath linens to match the new place and other furniture or décor items, you’ll realize that it’s cheaper to stay put (even if your rent goes up a little bit).
Find new ways to have fun. You already know that parties are expensive. There’s no need to stop having fun, but there’s also no need to go broke doing it. Find ways to tone things down, share expenses, and reduce the cost of partying—stop paying for parking on top of your food and drink and take advantage of carpooling, discounts, sales, and happy hours. Get online and look for deals.
Don’t wait another day to open a savings account. If you’re holding back until you have a sizable opening deposit, stop it! The most important thing to do is get that account open. The next most important thing to do is not forget about it—add (even a little) to the account every month, or even every week. Small deposits on a regular basis will add up faster than you think and as you see the balance climbing, you’ll be encouraged to continue adding to it.
Be brutal and think about downsizing/downgrading. Start asking yourself if you really need all those cable or satellite channels, or all the bells and whistles on your phone plan. Are you driving a car that’s too expensive each month (taking into consideration the loan or lease payment, insurance, gasoline, repairs, and maintenance)? How about your apartment—is it larger, more expensive, or too far away from work than is really practical?
Pay attention to your paycheck—especially now with so many new taxes kicking in. If your take-home pay goes down, you need to be realistic and make necessary adjustments to your spending.
Use cash, not plastic. It’s the easiest way to see (and feel) how much you’re really spending and taking charge of your spending is the name of the game. Be a winner at it!
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