They say that when you want something in this world, you have to go out and get it. When it comes to things that cost money, however, things aren’t always quite that straightforward.
Our lives are essentially ruled by money. We pay to live in our homes, we pay for our children’s education (in some cases), we pay to entertain ourselves, and we pay to see the world.
These common everyday costs may not seem like much at first, but they sure do add up.
Often, we only notice quite how much we spend towards the end of the month, or when we have a big payment due. Not having enough spare cash can be a real issue for many families, and this concept is a sign of how much the economy has changed in recent years.
The ‘baby boomer’ generation could expect to buy their own house shortly after leaving further education, which was typically either free or very cheap. These days, those people born in the late 1980s/early 1990s have been struck by a competitive housing market and rising costs of just about everything, thanks to inflation.
Although this generation is the most directly affected, just about everyone struggles to afford some of the major outgoings in life. But having to put special occasions, vacations, or celebrations on the backburner purely because of money can be a pretty damning way to live.
Perhaps, for example, you have a milestone birthday coming up, or you want to whisk your family away on the holiday of a lifetime. You shouldn’t have to say no to these just because of your financial situation – and you might not always need to, either.
So many of us spend more in our daily lives than we actually need to. Simply making a few basic changes to the way you deal with money on an everyday basis could have a huge impact on your overall finances – and then that vacation or birthday bash will seem a little closer insight.
Stop Taking your Bank Card out with you
This might seem difficult – after all, how can you be expected to operate without your bank card? But in reality, debit and credit cards are a pretty recent invention.
People obviously coped for years without them, so why do so many of us struggle to imagine a life without that little piece of plastic? Convenience is a huge factor.
Very few people like taking money out with them due to having loose change in their purses or pockets. But, a bit of annoying loose change can be a small price to pay for what could eventually lead you to make some big savings.
When we pay for something with our card, we don’t physically see the money being removed from our account – which can almost make it feel like it isn’t really happening. On certain occasions where you know you are likely to overspend, leave your card in a safe place at home and only take cash out with you. You are far more likely to stick to a budget, and you will be more aware of the purchases you make, too.
Always Look for Discounts
Sure, there are everyday essentials that we cannot get away from buying. Food, toiletries, clothing, cleaning products… many of these things make up a large portion of our monthly bills and can leave us with little disposable income to spare at the end of the month.
But by using websites and searching for coupons, you could end up saving more money than you’d think on amenities every month. No one wants to look back at their bank statement and see that their hard-earned cash has merely gone on things that are needed to live – not anything fun or productive.
Couponing does have a bad reputation for being time-consuming, but as the industry moves online, this is becoming less and less apparent.
Review All Your Expenses
Take the time to look at your expenses such as food, cell phone, internet, electricity and do a comparison. Shop around to find better deals and make sure you are getting your money’s worth.
Ask for discounts, get new quotes on your insurance and find out about bonus offers for new customers to any service.
It is amazing how much money you can save by switching providers and shopping around.
Explain any Cutbacks to Your Children
If you have a time limit by which to raise the money you need to, you may need to take some even more drastic action to bring your dream to life.
This may mean having to cut back on some everyday luxuries, such as movie subscriptions or expensive, branded food and clothing.
Making these changes without telling your kids is a recipe for disaster; they WILL notice, and they will potentially react negatively to it. As http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/anxiety.html explains, many children have an inherent fear of change, which can lead them to become withdrawn, nervous and anxious.
So, explain why any cutbacks are happening, and what the result will be when you have the money together. Once they see the bigger picture, your children should be more than happy to embrace any new things in their daily lives – you could even help them adjust by making it into a kind of fun challenge.