By Angela Brand
America's mindset today is "the bigger the better." "The more it costs the more its worth." "Get it now and pay later." These ideas are just not smart.
Frugal living doesn't mean choosing poverty and it certainly doesn't mean giving up quality. Many millionaires are millionaires not because they became famous or because they inherited money. They are self-made millionaires who worked hard, made sacrifices and chose to spend their money wisely. I am not saying that all of us that work hard, make sacrifices and spend our money wisely will become millionaires but we can certainly live much more comfortable and carefree out from under the stress of owing someone else our paycheck.
Here are some things you can do to stretch that paycheck:
1. Pay cash. If you can't pay cash don't buy it. Stop using those credit cards. Credit cards are a trap. The only way you should use a credit card is if you pay it off in full every month. Otherwise cut it up! Charging something on a credit card and then paying it out over time ends up costing you double sometimes even triple the original cost of the item. You would be better off saving up a couple of months and paying cash then charging it and them trying to pay the credit card off. The interest eats you up.
2. Eat at home. Pack your lunch and take it to work. Eating lunch out everyday cost anywhere from $10-$15 a day. If you pack your lunch, you cut that cost down to about $2-$3 per lunch or even less if you are throwing left overs away at home. That's a savings of $160-$240 a month. Not to mention, if you cut down the eating out during dinner time and eat at home as a family. That's additional savings on top of the $200 a month.
3. Compose a budget. Budget your income at the beginning of the each month. Assign a set portion of your income to your major expenses ahead of time. This will help ensure that you don't waste money. (Major expenses being: Rent/Mortgage, utilities, food, car payment, gas, insurance, savings, misc.) This helps you know what goes where and how much you have left after all is paid so you don't overspend.
4. Buy used or discounted new. You can get just about anything you need either used or discounted new. You just have to know where to look. Don't pay full price for anything. Big Lot's, Ross Dress for Less, Nike Outlet, The Dump, etc. are just examples of stores that you can get discounted new items. These stores have sales and coupons on discounted new items as well. Garage Sales, furniture rent-a-centers, thrift stores and in this day and time the internet is a wonderful resource. eBay is an excellent tool for new and used items. You will be surprised what you will find and how inexpensive it is once you start looking. No one will know the difference. You will become addicted!
These are just a few small adjustments that will bring about big results. You can make these changes easily as a family and everyone will have fun looking for the quality bargains! Let the hunting begin!