Please join us in welcoming Andrea Pokorny, who will be sharing her experience and wisdom on how families can save money, stay on budget and become debt-free in 2011. Andrea is a mom to three and covers budgeting basics, couponing like a pro and organizing your home at MainstreamMom.com.
Here is a pep talk about managing your money in the new year. If you are looking to save money, spend less or get closer to being debt-free this year, it IS possible. The first step? Pay attention to your money.
As with everything, when you focus or pay closer attention, you'll see results. When you focus on pain, it becomes more intense. If you home in on someone chewing, it gets more annoying. Get intense about exercising every day and you'll see your body improve. Eat healthy, have more energy. You get the idea.
Manage your money and it will go further. To do this, focus on a few simple guidelines and be amazed at your results:
1. Find out where all your money goes.
To figure out where you can save money and shave expenses, first you must know what you spend your money on.
Track your spending for 30 days. Write down how much you spent and on what. Do this for every transaction, every penny leaving your hand, every check written and piece of plastic swiped.
Categorize your spending at the end of the 30 days. Be as specific as you can. How much did you spend on groceries, restaurants, cappuccinos? How about cable, gas, electricity and other bills?
Now you can change a few things. Small changes here and there add up to big savings...
2. Stop living paycheck to paycheck, now.
Check out the spending record you've created. Look for expenses you can eliminate. Cut out subscriptions you don't read, memberships you don't use, cable or maybe a cell phone you don't need.
It's your decision on what you know you can live without.
Make some adjustments to your spending.
- Shop with cash.
- Never pay full price.
- Get supermarket savvy.
3. Use coupons to save you hundreds every month.
It is no longer taboo. Saving money is cool. Coupons are like cash. Learn to use them with that mindset.
If you don't already, subscribe to your local Sunday paper to begin clipping. Visit websites for coupons and pay attention to sales ads in your store.
4. Stick to your list and save money.
Before you hit the store, make a list. Only buy what's on the list and reduce impulse purchases that add up.
The fewer trips to the store, the better. Shop 1-2 times per week only.
Now put the extra money you save to good use:
- Pay off your debt.
- Make extra house payments (or put money away for a new home).
- Build a 3-6 month emergency fund for expenses.
Pay attention to where your hard earned money goes. Make some changes to your spending habits. Toss unnecessary expenses and see how much further that pay check stretches.
Get a handle on your spending and save money in 2011. Good luck!
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