Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Lifestyle Changes You Can Make to Improve Your Personal Finances

Happy Wednesday friends - today I have a post for you from Jacob who runs a personal finance/lifestyle blog called DollarDiligence.com. He actually paid down $25,000 in debt in under 15 months so when he approached me about a collaboration and post exchange, I said absolutely. Then I lost track of it and of course have not written a post for him to share over there. One day at a time, am I right? Anyway I figured you guys would like this because the info is good and it's not in my usual repertoire. Be sure to check out his blog and follow him on Twitter.

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What many people don’t realize is that their lifestyle contributes to their debt. You may think that you’re cutting expenses as much as you can, but you are going to find out within the next few minutes how you can make additional cuts and live even better.

If you’re buried under debt from all sources, you’re not alone. Starting with college graduates, there are over 40 million people who struggle with student debt. Opening it up to all of America, the average household credit card debt is around $6,000. Finally, the average mortgage debt is around $300,000. Yikes!

The fact is that you don’t have to be buried underneath tons of debt. You don’t have to be looking at disconnect notices or wondering how you are going to pay your living expenses. None of this has to happen to you. If it is happening, you can stop it. You just have to make some changes.

Start Downsizing Right Now
It’s time to start getting rid of stuff you don’t need and things that are costing you money. You can capitalize on the nice things you have that you have no use for by selling them on Facebook groups, eBay, or Craigslist or simply have a yard sale.

I’m all about not keeping unnecessary things around. In fact, I won’t buy new clothes unless I absolutely need them. I remind myself daily that the goal is to retire by the time I’m 35. I really want that because I have seen too many people work their lives away and have little to show for it by the time they reach retirement age.

Once you eliminate the clutter, you can take a look at what you really have. These are the things that you need, so make sure you use them. Instead of going to the store and buying something you already have because you need it and can’t find it, organize everything so you know what it is.
It’s amazing how many people clear the clutter and find that they have four or five of something. In that case, put those online sales platforms to use so you can get some of your money back on them.

Eat Well and Cheap
Food is another area you have to watch. I had to start watching how much money I spent on food. I knew nothing about couponing or discount grocery stores until I started exploring ways I could buy groceries cheaper without starving myself.


The internet and the Sunday newspaper are great sources for coupons. Look at the sales papers for individual stores to find the best deals. You also need to review coupon policies so you aren’t surprised at the checkout. 

Some communities have couponing classes at the local library or another location so you can learn how to stretch your dollar as much as possible. Do a little Facebook search to see if there are any events scheduled in your area.

Also, don’t forget about the discount grocery stores, like Aldi, where you can get your groceries at 50 percent to one-third of the cost you would pay elsewhere. There are few name brands in these stores, but they tend to carry healthier options so that you can eat well without paying a fortune. Due to the lack of name brands, there may be no coupons. You can combine coupon shopping at other stores with discount grocery shopping and still come out better in the end without putting your nutrition at risk.

It's also good to go homemade with your meals. It can be tempting to drive through a fast food restaurant because it’s convenient, but your wallet and your cholesterol pay the consequences.

Hygiene without the Cost
Hygiene products tend to cost. If you are the type that has four bottles of half-used lotion sitting on a shelf, commit yourself to using those before buying more.

As with grocery shopping, health and beauty products can be purchased using coupons. You can also explore products that are very good for their price. Just because it is cheap doesn’t mean it’s bad. You have to look a little harder to find the shelf tags for these cheaper products, but they’re there.

Pay Cash for Everything
Of course, paying cash for everything has some major advantages. First, you already have the money. You won’t owe anyone for spending that money. When using credit, you are spending someone else’s cash and you have to pay them back with interest. The interest is how they make a profit.

Therefore, paying cash for everything should keep you from overusing your card. You won’t have to pay any interest which is especially helpful if you tend to overdo it. Everything you purchase is free and clear. Just make sure you don’t overdo it with cash either. The whole point is to save money.

Budget Strictly and Save
Lastly, you need to create a budget that you stick to and save money every chance you get. This is something you have probably heard a million times, but it works. Budgeting can be difficult to get used to at first, but you will love the result.


Jacob recently entered the personal finance blog world with the advent of Dollar Diligence. He’s new, so if you want a fresh voice, feel free to read a few articles. Twitter: @DollarDiligence

7 comments:

  1. I definitely do the grocery store one. I try to get the cheapest possible version, unless I know the generic tastes awful, & then figure out what I can buy to feed myself the longest. Back at the beginning of August I also put my credit cards from the freezer & just left them there. Now there's not even the temptation to be like "well...just this one thing can go on there" way more than one time...

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  2. Cash back credit cards are awesome. Credit Cards let you see where you spend. Thanks to the universe we don't carry a balance.
    Amen on too much stuff and buying what we don't need. And food. Jesus. Mary. And Joseph. All restaurants and fast food and take out places are booming. Just being conscious of what you are spending and doing.
    Love. Stephs. Momma.

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  3. My big thing is sitting down to make a budget to see where my money is even going each month. It's pretty shocking when you see it in black-and-white. Coupons and rebate-apps like Ibotta are nice, but am I really saving money if it's something I wouldn't normally buy? Trying to be more mindful on what I purchase and sticking with getting it only if I need it.

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  4. This is amazing! We recently starting selling items that we don't need, and it's nice to not only purge but get some extra cash.

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  5. I think credit cards are from the devil... saying that, I use mine but have it set to come out full balance of my account every month - so its basically a debit card & I get the benefits of the bonuses... but people that leave any sort of balance - the interest is ridiculous.

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  6. Im so bad about cash. I never carry cash with me. This is some good advice!

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  7. I feel like a major key to this is to actually use what you have! Eat the food in your pantry, use the lotions on your shelves, etc. Of course I'm terrible at this, but it's a good thing to try and abide by! :)

    ReplyDelete

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