Do you find yourself spending more money than you make?
Are you living paycheck to paycheck?
Do you dread notifications about your credit card debt?
Stop the anxiety and vow to take control of your money.
Don’t wait for the New Year.
Do it now.
Here are six ways to begin taking action.
1- Part with your “stuff.”
Look in your closet and around your house. Do you have stuff you paid a lot of money for but don’t use?
Maybe it’s a treadmill with all the bells and whistles but still doesn’t motivate you to workout.
Maybe it’s designer shoes which kill your feet and you don’t wear.
Create extra income by selling your stuff on Ebay, Craigslist, or letgo. Also, consider selling items at a consignment shop.
There are lots of option to get rid of stuff you no longer use. Spend a few hours identifying what you want to sell and begin parting with your stuff.
2- Find a part time job.
Yes, it’s a sacrifice to your social time but how much social time do you really have if you’re living paycheck to paycheck?
With the holidays around the corner, many retailers are looking for additional help.
If you can’t commit to scheduled work, consider signing up on sites such as Fiverr and Elance where you can sell you skills.
Another option is to babysit for friends/family or take care of their pets when they’re out of town.
Be creative and find extra work to increase your income.
3- Cut expenses.
It’s easier said than done but give it a try. Start small by selecting one area you want to cut expenses.
For example, replace eating out with dining at home. Buying groceries is cheaper and healthier than eating out at restaurants.
Also, take a look at how much money you spend on entertainment. Temporarily stop going to the movies or concerts and use your money to reduce your expenses, especially credit card debt.
4- Check online discounts you purchased upfront.
How many online discounts have you purchased and not used? Check your accounts with Groupon, LivingSocial, Angie’s List, etc.
Instead of spending money, use what you’ve already paid for with these online discounts. Moving forward, stop buying these online discounts until you have your expenses under control.
5- Maximize credit card benefits.
Go online and check the benefits your credit card has to offer. Look at your reward points, car rental discounts, hotel discounts, dining discounts, etc.
Use your reward points to buy gifts. Your recipient won’t know how you paid for their gift.
Use your discounts if you need to travel this holiday season. These free benefits are there for you to use – just remember to use them.
6- Cancel unused monthly subscriptions.
You know what I’m referencing – look at your shopping accounts where you purchase clothing, cosmetics, and entertainment. Look for where you are paying a monthly subscription. Are you really using those products or services?
For example, there is a workout clothing company where you sign-up for a VIP membership and pay $49.95 every month. This membership gives you a 40% discount on your purchases. Every month, you are charged $49.95 whether or not you purchase an outfit. Paying $49.95 every month amounts to $599.40. Are you really planning to spend $599.40 a year on workout clothing?
Monthly subscriptions are deceivingly inexpensive because they break the annual cost into smaller amounts. It’s easy to sign up for something that is only $50 per month – but remember that cost is $600 per year. It may be worthwhile if you use the products or services. But then again, it may be wasting money which you could use to reduce debt.
It’s easy to take control of your money if you begin in small steps. If you mess-up don’t berate yourself. Re-focus and start again. Changing your money habits takes time and consistency. Stay the course and you’ll soon be in control of your money.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Niv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA™, CRPC®, is the Founder of Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Life is more than money. It’s about living the lifestyle you want and can afford. For that reason, Niv consults with clients on money, life, and work. Her approach capitalizes on techniques she learned throughout her career, including as a management consultant, executive recruiter, and financial advisor. Her services include spending plan, financial plan, divorce financial review, life strategy, and professional progression. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me’.”