In Deep With Debt - Ten Easy Ways to Change Your Spending Habits

by : Erine Adams

How far does your paycheck go? It's never far enough for us. Being a grown-up means paying bills. You work, you pay, it's a requirement for survival and not going away. Even though the process of budgeting and bill paying is not ever enjoyable, we hope to provide simple solutions to begin to free up your available cash flow. "I am getting by so why worry?", you say? A sad but constant occurrence is that a catastrophic event strikes a hard working individual and they find themselves financially destroyed within a few months. We don't want that to be you.

Most Americans are finding themselves living paycheck to paycheck, as living expenses are increasing along with the cost of commuting due to rising fuel costs families are like yours and mine are being hit hard. Many individuals have enjoyed times when money stretched a lot farther but with the economic impacts that are affecting Americans, we have to focus on increasing our awareness and learn to stretch our shrinking dollars farther.

The first step to changing your spending habits is to clearly define where the wasteful spending occurs. You can't stop the leaking unless you find the holes. It is no surprise that we immediately focus on the larger expenses as they seem to have a bigger impact on our available cash. This is not necessarily true. Over the next 30 days, write down where every penny gets spent. Look around for a notebook, everyone has one, just jot down the date and what you spent and where. Include the bills you pay, you may want to assess the cable and cell phone bill for wasteful spending but that is not the primary focus for this article. I promise you will be shocked when you determine where your money is going. Didn't know you spent over $100.00 a month on pop and coffee did you? I bet I am close.

There are many small changes that you can make that will bring about immediate savings.

1. Take your lunch to work. An average of $5.00 a day plus the time and travel to get your food, can be cut in half and I would bet you would make more healthy choices.

2. Make your morning coffee at home. $2.50 for that premium latte, who doesn't own a coffee pot or two?

3. Drive under the speed limit. Life is busy, we have a society built off of hurry but you can make a huge difference in fuel economy by simply driving 65 instead of 75.

4. Maintain your vehicle. Small purchases such as an air filter can improve the efficiency of your vehicle. There are literally hundreds of tips to save on fuel, simply click the link for very interesting information.

5. Stop paying for convenience. You know that you will need money to stop at the store, so go to your bank and quit using the ATM machines that charge a fee. If you stop there twice a week, it could be at least $3.00 out of your pocket.

6. If you are going to travel, book ahead and do it online. Resorts, car rentals, theme parks, are all vying for the limited dollars that we have to spend on recreation. You can find the best deals by searching directly for your destination.

7. Cancel the magazine subscriptions. There is so much media available on the web, you can find plenty of reading and free entertainment at just a click of the button.

8. Plan your grocery shopping. Grocery stores have most of their sale flyers on the web now. Sale shopping and planning your purchases will help curb additional unplanned impulse buys as long as you stick to your list. You will save time and money if you make one trip to the store instead of three a week.

9. Make clothing purchases out of season. I love buying an outfit for $20.00 instead of the original $80.00. Clearance racks are an amazing spot to find deals.

10. Look for the specials. It is hard enough to make changes in your spending without sacrifices but you can cut that Friday night out in half if you look for the deals. Again, companies are fighting to get every ounce of business that is out there, so many are offering dinner deals even on the weekends. Go to the movies on Saturday afternoon instead of the premium night time rates.

There are thousands of money saving tips, most of these we have listed are not new to you. If you choose one or decide to do all ten, you will be making your money work harder for you and still be able to retain some of the luxuries you enjoy. Being responsible to yourself regarding your spending may feel like sacrifices which are never fun but smart spending and controlling your budget will afford you freedom in the future that will be much more beneficial than that premium cup of coffee and morning paper.