Managing your money takes work. A lot of people have the belief that once you create a budget and are able to stick to it, it’s smooth sailing. While creating and staying on budget plays a huge role in maintaining a healthy financial life, there are a few things you should be doing more often than you are, to stay on track.
Looking beyond the budget is really important. The ultimate goal is to decrease your debts (as soon as possible) – to end up living debt free. There are many things you can be doing now to speed up that process, in addition to setting yourself up for success once your debt is paid off. Sure, success is much easier to come by once you are debt free, but keeping tabs on the following key items while working towards becoming debt free, will get you their faster!
While paying off your debt, make sure you are also:
Managing Your Money: Negotiating & Track Plans
Let’s start with negotiating. A lot of people have monthly services that they just automatically pay, without much thought. If you’ve been a longtime customer, or there is a lot of competition for that service in the area, you might be able to negotiate a lower price! All it takes is a simple phone call asking if they have any deals available, or if they can offer a lower price to keep your business. You’d be surprised at how often this works. Even if it is saving $10.00, spread that across half your monthly bills and you could be saving over $50.00 a month! Just from a quick phone call.
Tracking Plans- WAY too often people get suckered into a monthly payment because the introductory price is so awesome. Then 6 – 12 months later the price increases. If the service does not provide more benefit than having that monthly payment in your checking account or towards your debt snowball CANCEL IT! You will survive! If you do use the service and want to keep it, call them up and negotiate! If they offered the discount price for 6-12 months they can extend it for you. If not, cancel it! Trust me. The money will be put to much better use paying off your debt.
Managing Your Money: Track Your Credit
This drives me a little crazy. So many people who are in debt ignore their credit scores. Even if your #1 goal in life is to never need a high credit score because you are going to be so dang wealthy you can pay off anything and everything with cash – you’re not there yet! So, don’t be foolish. You should be monitoring and growing your credit score. There are so many what if scenarios that end with you needing a loan, for you to not be thinking about protecting your credit score.
My goal for all of you is that you do not need this. Which is just one of the reasons I created the 2018 Financial Planner – but until we are all there please safeguard it.
My family uses, loves, and 100% recommends (#NotSponsored!) the Credit Sesame app. I tried both Credit Sesame and Credit Karma and preferred the interface of Credit Sesame, but they are both great! Our account is completely free, and I am able to keep an eye on my credit score and make sure that nothing has gone wrong with our accounts (Think, identity theft). We started using them over a year ago when my Husbands debt card information was stolen. In less than 24 hours our bank accounts were wiped clean (At no other place than Red Lobster, Thousands of dollars worth of gift cards were purchased). I cannot help but think, what if they had gotten more information and opened a loan in our name. Normally, it would have taken a year before we realized when we pulled our annual credit reports.
Thanks to this age of technology, there is no need to sit and wait. Be in charge of your finances, and your credit health is just one important component of that! *Steps off soapbox*
You can actually read right here what happened when we got a loan a few months ago! Such peace of mind!
Related Content about Managing Your Money
- The best budgeting technique I’ve ever tried!
- Payday!! How to handle your money
- Getting out of debt … 6 Reasons why you are not making progress
- Why a $1,000 Emergency Fund is NOT Enough!
- Paycheck Budgeting – Everything You Need To Know
- How to stay on top of your credit score
- 2018 Financial Planner!
Managing Your Money: Take Advantage of Freebies & Deals
Way too often, people buy without a quick google search. Why? It takes half a second to save you money. You should want to keep as much money as possible in your name (Your bank account) while still enjoying your life. Imagine if everything you buy you could save on average 10%. You wouldn’t turn down 10% cash back at the checkout, but by buying without searching first you are. Here are some of my best tips:
- Before buying instore or online, do a google search for a coupon code.
- See if the store has an app. If they do, I bet there is a discount code on there!
- If you are buying online, and it is a large purchase (Let’s say a bed frame from Pottery Barn) – Go to eBay, and purchase a Promotion Card! You’ll get the information for use immediately after purchase, and can use it right then. Just be sure to read the fine print first, to make sure that what you are buying is included in the promotion.
- Use sites like Ebates when shopping online. They literally send you a rebate check. It is 2 extra mouse clicks!!If you signup for Ebates you can use THIS LINK and get a $10.00 bonus!
- Use cash back apps at the grocery store to save too. This does not just apply to large purchases. It is the little day to day purchases that can make or break your finances. Check out this post: Best apps to help you save money at the grocery store
- How often do you get a coupon or voucher for some sort of freebie? A free sub, or appetizer or drink on Tuesdays? We have a lot of them. They should be your go-to items when deciding where to eat, or what to do. Too often they go expired or just tossed. I love my little Mochi organizer, to keep all of them corralled in one place. I also keep gift cards that we are given in here! It is super cute, easy to carry, and toss in whatever purse I have on me that day! P.S. I am still obsessed with my Mochi Wallet!
Managing Your Money: Re-Evaluate your Spending Habits!
Don’t fall into the one and done group. *In reference to your budget, and not how many kids you’ll have.* 🙂
Just because you created a great budget last year, and have stuck to it – does not mean that for this year it is as good as it could be. Be routinely tracking, and examining your budget. Finds ways to cut back and save more! I suggest reviewing your budget on a monthly basis unless you are brand new, and then I suggest sitting down weekly to make sure you are staying on track. The longer you stick to your budget the easier it becomes and the less you have to review it – but no matter how good you are, everyone should examine their budgets at least 4 times a year!