Category Archives: Lower Your Overhead

Every dollar you save in monthly bills can go into savings or to reduce your debt.

Strategic frugal living can help you live a debt-free life

avoid credit cardsConsidering that you are already in debt — today it is difficult to find anyone without a debt problem — it is imperative that you to downsize your outgoing expenses. This lets you channel money toward your debts; paying down debts becomes much easier.

This is also a boost for your savings, allowing you to set aside more money than before. Finally, the process also requires you to budget your finances, which helps you avoid future debt.

But to put all of these together, it requires frugal living.

Frugal living – Unfolding the cryptic message

Most people believe that making money is the only important thing in life. If you have enough money, you can go on to manage anything and everything, they think. Ironically though, making money is not the end all and be all of your life. You need to understand its importance but you also need to realize that you cannot make money throughout your entire life. Therefore, it is important to save. However, with the present market conditions it is almost impossible to save if you do not live a disciplined life. Frugal living is about your financial wisdom and intelligence; it’s the smart and disciplined approach to living.

Frugal living benefits you by offering you salvation from debt. If you follow the right strategies and keep your expenses at the proper level, you will be able to save more than what you have been saving so far in your life. Here are some ideas. You can save more if you start:

  1. Having happy meals at home – Irrespective of where you are — at home or office or hostel — brown bagging lunch can help you save lots of money over time. This is not only less expensive, but can also help you save on healthcare related costs. Frequent eating out can lead to unwanted health issues. Falling ill costs you lot. So, start having meals at home, rather than dining out. It feels good to cook up new recipes and share them with family members and friends. These “happy meals” also serve as a huge boost for your health.
  1. Using utilities responsibly – It is expected that as an adult, you will learn how to use the utilities wisely. It can help you save lots of dollars. So, if you have the habit of forgetting to switch off the A/C or the lights when leaving a room, start doing the right thing. If that seems impossible, install a power strip than turns off electronic items attached to it when not in use. Keep heating and cooling systems set to a moderate level. Opt for basic programming packages where you can get a phone connection, cable connection and net connection from the same service provider.
  1. Making wise use of your vehicle – Rather than always using your own car, join or form a carpool for going to work. If you think that your office, college or the mall is at a manageable distance, walk rather than drive.

Learn how to live better for less. Come to terms with using secondhand items (whenever safe), avoid making impulse buys, and avoid using the credit cards as much as possible. Follow these rules and it will be possible to lower your expenses, lower your debt levels and increase your savings.

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About the author: Benjamin Beckwith is a financial writer and a blogger. He has profound knowledge on the different financial issues that are plaguing the current economy and he also offers practical solutions through his articles. He contributes his valuable posts to different financial communities, blogs and websites. He is the authorized writer of Debt Consolidation Care, a community which helps people eradicate debt out of their lives and also helps people know the facts about financial issues. To learn more visit https://twitter.com/debtcc.

Wealth management and budgeting go hand in hand – Some tips

Avoid_debtAre you tired of managing your wealth and debt at the same time? Have you been wondering about getting help from the professionals or the financial advisors? If you answered yes, have you considered the extra charges that you’ll have to pay when you get help from them?

If you didn’t, you’re failing to understand some very important concepts. Wealth management and budgeting are both vital for a healthy lifestyle and if you’re not able to strike a balance between your personal finances and your budget, you’re bound to fall into debt. Unfortunately, there are few personal finance classes and because of that you need to understand and learn the financial steps necessary to keep debts at bay.

If you’re puzzled about how to manage your finances and also stay within your budget, here are some tips to consider:

  • Revisit your budget. Most Americans hate the B-word – budget – and this is the main reason behind the rising personal U.S. debt level. Most people think that budgeting only deals with pinching your pennies but this is not the case. Budgeting actually means maintaining a balance between your income and expenses. Staying within your income is something that can be done by following a budget. If you see that your expenses are more than your income, you need to revisit your budget so that you can get back on track.
  • Check your savings account. Check your savings account so that you’re sure you have enough money to cope with a “rainy day.” If you have been saving your dollars under your mattress, you’re making a mistake. The best plan is to choose a high-yield savings account so your money can be earning interest. The more you save, the more you’ll have available when you go through dire financial straits.
  • Stop using your credit cards. You must know that the credit cards are the main reason behind your poor financial state. Only when you stop using your credit cards will you see your debt level decrease. If you keep using your credit cards, you will continue increasing your debt burden and it will become even more difficult to get out of debt. Start using cash instead of credit and don’t waste your money on items you don’t truly need right now.
  • Negotiate with your creditors. An important part of wealth management is effective negotiation with your creditors so that you can opt for an alternative plan that will make repayment much easier. If you relate your financial hardship to your creditors, it is very likely that they will alter the repayment schedule and make it easier for you to payoff your debt in more affordable monthly payments.

Try these tips and see if you can manage your wealth and follow a budget. If you still can’t get out of debt, you may to get assistance from one of the debt reduction companies that can help you repay your debts more easily.

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Author Bio: Benjamin Beckwith is a financial writer and a blogger. He has profound knowledge on the different financial issues that are plaguing the current economy and he also offers sound solutions through his articles. He contributes his valuable posts to different financial communities, blogs and websites. He covers topics such as the U.S. debt and the impact on the economic growth, ways in which debtors should rein in their finances, ways to reduce debt, budgeting and personal finance tips, the pros and cons of consolidating debt and many more.

Frugality: 4 ‘Essential’ Expenses That Are Actually Luxuries

Money saved is like free moneyI’m often astonished how many things we in the developed world consider “essential” while a huge number of people in third world countries manage without them just fine.

Doing without many of these “essentials” – or at least downgrading them to cheaper options – can do wonders for your bank balance, helping you to live a more frugal lifestyle and making your money go further.

But there’s more too. Cutting down on these pillars of our capitalist society can also help the environment (the less we buy or throw away the better) and can, in many cases, actually lead to a simpler and more satisfying life once you adjust to the changes.

Indeed, it’s telling just how popular the “minimalist” movement is becoming as more people every day shed the consumer lifestyle and instead focus more on spending quality time with family and friends as well as having to work less to make ends meet.

All you need is a slight change of viewpoint. For some the benefits will be obvious. Others may scorn the ideas discussed below. But whatever your initial thoughts I’d encourage you to at least spend a little time thinking about the points mentioned in the hope that you can at least take away a few money-saving tips from this article.

So what are these “essential” expenses that most people can’t live without?

Exotic Vacations

Many of us work our fingers to the bone each week, with the only hope of escape being our annual vacation. We’ve worked hard. We’ve been tired and stressed. And now we deserve to see the fruits of our labor in the form of a luxury break.

And while I’m not dismissing the idea of vacations altogether, it’s worth noting two important points here. First, a vacation doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive to be enjoyable.

Second, if we took cheaper vacations we could either save money towards improving other areas of our lives or simply downsize to fewer hours or a lower-paying but less stressful career.

So when vacation time next rolls around, take a few minutes to consider if you really need that “all-the-bells-and-whistles” trip, or whether you can shop around, find a bargain, stay closer to home and save a surprising amount of money along the way.

Indeed, I know people who actually don’t go away when they’re on vacation. It might sound odd, but their ultimate pleasure is simply taking the time to slow down, visit friends and family and sit around in the sunshine reading a good book. All while saving hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Cell Phones

It’s embarrassing to admit but a few years ago I dropped my cell phone down a toilet while I was out for the day. My first thought was absolute shock. How would I cope without my cell phone? As the truth turned out to be: quite easily.

Now sure, cell phones are certainly practical but as smart phones have grown in popularity they’ve also become a “toy” that constantly steals our concentration. There’s always a status update to read or a text to respond to.

We’re never really “switched off.” I’m sure you’ve had the experience of trying to chat to someone who just won’t stop fiddling with their phone and experienced just how annoying and distracting it can be.

So firstly put some time into considering whether a cell phone really is essential to you or whether you could manage without one—or at worst keep a pre-pay phone just for emergencies rather than constantly having the thing on 24 hours a day.

And if you can’t imagine a life without your cell, then at least take some time examining cell phone tariffs to see if you can downgrade your plan to save money while still getting the same level of service.

Automobiles

For some people, cars really are an essential expense, no matter how unwelcome they may be. However for other people cars—or at least many car journeys—really are anything but essential.

Cars make life a lot easier, there’s no denying it. But as someone who hasn’t owned a car in the last 10 years, let me assure you that you don’t need to give up on life when you give up your car.

Many of the journeys we take can easily be walked or cycled for example. I walk to work and I also carry my weekly shopping home on foot. Sure, it’s not much fun if the weather is being unkind, but overall we manage just fine. Then there is public transport. And lastly, there’s car sharing and lift sharing which can help you get to places that public transport doesn’t service.

I’m not suggesting you necessarily have to give up your car altogether (though if you put your mind to it, it may well be possible). But try being more conscious of your car use. Consider whether you’re getting into your car because you need to or just because you’re feeling “lazy” and another solution would really be just as good, as well as much cheaper.

Credit Cards

I lose count of the number of people who tell me they couldn’t live without their credit card. But a similar number of people have also told me they wish they’d never got a credit card, and how easy it was to wrack up debts that  take years to pay back.

The fact is that while credit cards do have their uses when used intelligently, the interest and annual fees can quickly add up, meaning that it’s possible to end up paying for your purchases many times over. I don’t know about you, but that seems like a crazy idea.

At the most extreme, consider ditching your credit card altogether. Doing so will remove any temptation to spend on it and will force you into making wiser financial decisions an budgeting properly.

At a lower level, if you really want to keep a card for emergencies, ensure that you comparison shop for a card with the lowest interest rate (and ideally no annual fee). Additionally, aim to pay off your account in full each month, so that you pay no unnecessary interest charges.

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Richard, our guest contributor,  is passionate about frugality, lowering your bills and living a life free of financial worries. His brand new blog can be found here.