Budgeting With Credit Cards

Eating/Grocery Shopping

      • Eating healthy actually helps cut the costs of grocery bills.
      • Eating out often subtracts from your wallet and adds to your waistline.
      • Buy store brands. You will pay much less and probably won’t notice the difference.
      • Use the weekly grocery circulars. They have good deals and help compare prices.
      • Keep a notepad of the stores with the lowest prices for the items you buy most. Stock up when you are there.
      • Find a grocery store that will accept coupons and discounts from competitors.

Shopping

  • Kids grow too fast to spend a lot of money on clothes and toys. Yard sales and thrift stores have good quality clothes and toys at very good prices.
  • Take advantage of consignment stores. Sell what you don’t need and pay less for what you do.
  • If possible, avoid using credit to buy something that will lose value like clothes, furniture, etc.
  • If you are about to apply for a mortgage, don’t apply for any other credit.
  • If you purchase something with a mail-in rebate, don’t forget to mail in the coupon.
  • If you come across an item you have to have at that moment, give yourself a cooling off period before you buy. You might realize you can live without it.
  • If you buy something then decide that you don’t want or need it, return it. Don’t just leave in your closet or drawer.

Everyday Savings

    • Shop for the lowest rates for monthly bills like long distance, internet service, insurance, cellular service and credit cards.
    • Pay attention to how you spend money. Buying lunches or snacks everyday adds up and you have nothing to show for it. You can save $2,000 per year by just taking your lunch to work. This is a great place to save money to use on paying off credit cards or build an emergency fund.
    • Check out every fee on your bill. Some phone companies now charge interest in addition to a late fee.
    • If you have a very good credit score, negotiate with credit card, auto and other lenders for lower rates.
    • Schedule online billing payments to help you get organized and avoid late fees.
    • If you don’t read magazines or newspapers, don’t renew the subscriptions.
    • Get a library card. You can check out books for the whole family, read a variety of magazines and rent videos. All for free.
    • If you need to cut expenses and can live without hundreds of television channels, cut back to basic service cable to save $30-50 each month. At least cut out the premium channels.
    • If you don’t need a cell phone every day, cut back to a prepaid service for just emergencies.
    • Get a realistic view of your expenses, not just “I don’t spend much on clothes, gifts and eating out.” You might be surprised at how these sneak in and add up. Figure out your budget busters that are stealing away your dollars.
    • Cosmetology schools offer $5 haircuts, $8 manicures.
    • If you pay high service fees with your bank. Try to have them reduced or eliminated. If they won’t, shop around.
    • If you can’t afford your car payment, sell it and buy something less expensive.

<

Smart Savings

  • Start saving $100 per month at age 35; you will have approx. $226,000 when your retire.
  • Start saving $100 per month at age 45; you will have approx. $75,396 when you retire.
  • If your kids get money for gifts, put it into a savings account.
  • Start today to get into the habit of saving; even it is just your change at the end of the day.
  • If you don’t have the discipline for regular savings, have it automatically deducted from your checking account into and investment account on a regular basis.
  • Bonuses and raises are an excellent opportunity to save. Resist the urge to blow it all.
  • Build equity with the shortest term mortgage you can afford. A 15-year mortgage may have a larger monthly payment, but more is applied towards the principal.
  • One of the smartest ways to save is to max out your company’s retirement plan. This reduces your taxes. Many employers also match contributions.
  • To reduce insurance premiums, set high deductibles.
  • If you must finance a large purchase, take the shortest loan period you can afford and save on interest.
  • Save for an emergency fund. This should cover 3-6 months of living expenses. Leave it in a safe money market account. The goal is security, not growth.