If, there was an emergency in your life, how would it affect your everyday life? From America Saves, they indicate that forty percent of Americans don’t have $400 in cash they can access in case of an emergency. That’s nearly 131,000,000 people.
We just completed a Steps To Home Ownership series of classes where we talked about this topic. Life happens and we all need to be prepared, for the unexpected. Following are some tips that you might find helpful on how to improve our spending habits.
- Don’t buy on impulse. Let it sit for 24 hours and ask yourself, “Do I want this more than I want to reach my financial goals?” Make this a family moto, and it will become a life skill.
- Comparison shop on all items you plan to purchase. For large purchases, plan for several months to set money aside before making the purchase.
- Pay cash for items, or use credit and pay it off at the end of the month. Avoid making minimum payments on credit purchases.
- Use a list for shopping. Not just for grocery items, but for all stores and set a limit as to how much you are willing to pay.
- When shopping with others explain that we have a budget. Make a game of finding items for a certain price and let them help prioritize what items are needed when getting close to the limit.
- Never expect something for nothing, there’s seldom a free item, what’s the catch?
- When purchasing items, pay for only the items. Don’t get cash back to spend on additional items.
- Identify an “allowance” for the week for yourself. When you’ve spent that amount, make no additional purchases till the next pay.
- Pay attention to the little things, they can add up to really big things. A single gourmet coffee on your way to work for a year could total about $1,000. What else could you do with that money?
- Plan your spending, take control of your money so your money doesn’t control you. This way you can take advantage of sales and rebates.
- Keep good financial records. There are many electronic ways or simple spreadsheets to show where your money goes. If you’d like a calendar to help with your budget, please give the office a call.
If you want to be successful in saving money, we must decide that we want to save money more than we want to spend it. Can you:
Save all coins of designated amounts, all pennies or dimes or quarters? Or better yet, just save all of your change towards your financial goals?
After making the last payment on an installment loan or credit card balance, pay your savings account. Even if you aren’t finished paying, make sure to pay yourself first to build the emergency account.
If you receive a tax refund, deposit at least half of it and use the other half to pay down debt.
Save overtime pay instead of spending it or if you get a raise, save it instead of spending it.
Have the discussion with yourself and others about wants and needs, do I want it or do I really need it?
We’d love to talk more about building a great budget. Give our office a call for the next upcoming class at 330-264-8722.
Melinda Hill is an OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722.
CFAES provides research and related educational programs to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis. For more information, visit cfaesdiversity.osu.edu.