April 10, 2008, 6:00 am

8 Easy Ways To Spend Less

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Frugal
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As the North America population is buried by debts, I thought I would give simple advices on how to stop dollars bleeding away from your wallet. I am not reinventing the wheel but a good recap is always important when we wonder how to save a few more bucks. I personally apply most of them in order to remain in control of my personal finance.

Report your bigger project

Buying a car, renovating the kitchen, travel all around the world; all these projects seem to be very exciting but they also are very costly. The more you wait before going ahead in an important project, the more you become rational about it. You may relate the importance of having tinted windows on your new car if you take enough time to think about it. This will allow you to save a lot of money and still do your project.

Save before buying

That is one habit that most Baby Boomers, Xers and Yers completely forgot about. Nobody sees the need to save anymore when you can buy a dvd player for 36 easy payments of $2.97 a month (don’t laugh, I really saw that ad on TV!). Don’t you think that you would pay way less interest buy saving your money prior to buy goods?

Reduce the amount of credit cards

While I think that 3 or for 4 credit cards is optimal considering your credit score, some people just can’t handle it. If you notice that you are not able to pay your credit cards months after months, the only solution is to consolidate them and put the axe into it.

Don’t make mortgaging a hobby

I think that with the sub-prime crisis, Americans pretty much understand that living over your means can’t last for ever. It is true that you can restructure your debts by refinancing your property and you will pay a lower interest rate on top of having smaller payment. However, if you have to do it every year, you have a budget problem. Unfortunately, the housing market is like any other markets, it doesn’t always go up…

Buy a property according to your means

Once again, the housing bubble is teaching us a good lesson about our greed for bigger properties. I actually did the exact same mistake a year and a half ago when I bought the property I live in. Fortunately for me, everything went as I planned and now I make enough money to pay for my household. However, I am aware that things could have turned the other way around. You don’t necessarily get a promotion because you buy a new house!

Pay your debts first

Most people just go for more and more debts. Once they are done with their budget, they consolidate and go on partying again. Credit is as bad as alcohol! Establish your budget and allow an important amount to your debts in order to make them disappear for good.

Forget about restaurants

This is one tip I have a hard time with. It is so convenient to go to the restaurant for lunch or when you are coming back home after a hard day of work. By planning your meals in advance, you will always have something handy to cook and be less tempted to go after a good pizza.

Frugal vacations are still vacation!

It is not a necessity to go to Disney Land every year. You can still have a lot of fun by staying home during your vacation. This year, we planned to stay home most of the time in order to work on our backyard. I am sure my son will have a lot of fun playing with his shovel and buckets while we plant flowers!

The bottom line is to try to come back to more simple things in your day-to-day life. I personally don’t consider that expensive = happiness…

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