Most of us want to stretch the dollar and lessen expenses. To have enough money to cover all the bills with enough left for travel, entertainment and fun is a dream come true. The truth is that prices increase more than our income does. And some of us have trouble covering rising costs.
I know what it feels like to struggle with inflation and rising costs. It can be exhausting. Here are a few ways I found that helps me keep more money in the bank.
—Budget — create a list or spreadsheet and plan how you want to spend money. Keeping and following a budget will help you have more money left to spend it on things you want to do. Make a plan and the money will not vanish from the bank account.
—Shop around for Cell Phone Plans — If you shop for better rates for the internet, cell, cable, car insurance and other memberships, you could save a bundle. New customers receive better deals than existing customers. Each year when the contract is up, shop for a new one.
—Avoid debt — If you charge something on a credit card, be sure to pay it off each month. When you shop, pay with cash or debit cards. Cash gives more spending power. If you do not need to make any monthly debt payments then you will have more of the paycheck to save.
—Share costs with friends, especially if single. Do a co-op with your buddies, where together you buy in bulk and then split the purchase up and divide the cost with each other. This saves a lot of money on food and you won’t be stuck with too much.
—Go free as often as you can. Get books and DVDs from the local library. Take advantage of city parks with your friends. Go for long walks and enjoy the local neighborhood and surroundings. This can save you money. A lot of cities offer free outdoor concerts in the summers or outdoor movies.
—Shop at local consignment or thrift stores. Visit websites like thredUP, outofthecloset.org, and Swap.com—these are great resources to find adult clothing at a fraction of the cost.
—Make a list before you shop, and stick to it, do not deviate. Before walking into the store, have your list in hand.
—Stop impulse buying. When window-shopping and you see the perfect clothing or house item, take a breath and try this: Tell yourself you can buy it next month. Give yourself a month to save for it or wait till it goes on sale.
—Find an accountability partner — find a friend who wants to cut spending. Hold one another accountable by each creating a budget, then sharing the budget and report back at the end of the month to tally up. The one who fails at staying within the budget has to cook dinner for the other.
Carol Marak is an aging advocate, syndicated columnist and editor at Seniorcare.com. She earned the Fundamentals of Gerontology Certificate from UC Davis, School of Gerontology.