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20 Ways To Gain Control Of Your Finances

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The title promises twenty tips, so let’s jump right into them.

  1. It all starts with a budget. Separate wants and needs and see where your money is going. Be honest with yourself. Identify your spending habits and determine whether or not you need to exercise a little more self control. 
  2. Prioritize your wants since you are going to have to cut many of them.
  3. Eliminate the unnecessary. Gym memberships, premium cable packages, home phones are great places to start.
  4. Cut the cost of your needs. Shop around for internet, cable, cell plans, and insurance at the very least.
  5. Be realistic. Be careful not to get so idealistic that you create a budget you can’t live up to.
  6. Put away the plastic. Credit cards offer a ”just this once” temptation to splurge.
  7. Know what you owe and make a payment schedule to get it paid off. Start with the lowest balance and pay 125-150% of the minimum each month.
  8. Start saving. Set a monthly amount for yourself. Even if it is $5 a week, it is a start and a to build for the future.
  9. Start a diary of your spending. Keeping track of receipts and cash flow, both in and out, helps you stick to your budget and find ways to trim it as you go. 
  10. Keep your spending money for the month in cash. When it’s gone, it’s gone.
  11. Treat yourself on occasion. Set reasonable goal for yourself, something like not eating out for two weeks, then treat yourself to a moderate reward if you meet that goal.
  12. If your rent/mortgage is more than 30% of your income, consider moving or getting a roommate.
  13. Turn down the thermostat and install a programmable thermostat to lower your energy bill.
  14. Analyze your phone bill. Adjust your cell plan if you go over your minutes or text limits.
  15. Don’t run the washing machine until it’s full and use cold water.
  16. Plan ahead. Map out your menu for the week, plan your daily trips so that you can get everything done at once and do not waste gas driving to a store more than once a week if possible.
  17. There is nothing wrong with using coupons, but do not buy something out of the ordinary just because you have a coupon. Still comparison shop. The price on a brand after the coupon may still be higher than the price of a generic brand.
  18. Eliminate unused subscriptions form your life, whether it is a magazine or movie club.
  19. Avoid high maintenance items like dry clean only clothing, etc.
  20. Finally, always walk away from a major purchase. Go home and think it over. Wait three days unless it is urgent (your fridge doesn’t work or something like that). You be surprised how many things you decide you don’t really need.

For more information, please check out this article on debt consolidation in Midland, TX.

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