Take 5% of every paycheck and put it into a money market account. Setting up a separate account will force you to think twice before using that money. Money market accounts make several percentage points of interest more than a savings or checking account. If your check is $500 you would save $25 each pay period. If you get paid $500 every week you would save $1300 a year. If you get paid $1000 every week you would save $2600 a year.
Examine the extras
Are you paying for lawn service? Could you do it yourself or get a neighborhood teenager to do it more cheaply? Do you really need 500 channels? Does your cable TV company or satellite company offer less expensive plans? What about your cell phone? Have you called your provider to see if they have a more affordable plan?
Are you taking good care of your car? Try to get at least five years out of your car before you trade it in. When you do, consider a well-maintained used car, since new cars lose much of their value as soon as you drive off the lot.
Heating and Cooling
When’s the last time you changed the filters in your house? A dirty filter will make your system run less efficiently. Make a game of getting your power bill as low as you can. Try to run the heat a little less, and wear a sweater in the house instead of raising the thermometer extra degrees. The same goes for the air conditioning. Turn it up when you leave the house for an extended period.
Shop with Purpose
If you can’t resist a great sale, stay out of your favorite stores unless you have a real reason for going there. When you do go shopping, take a list. That way, when you see that “really cute, really inexpensive (your weakness here),” you can check your list — if it’s not on it, don’t buy it.
Buy in Bulk
For items you use a lot of, such as laundry detergent, paper towels, milk, etc., shop at a membership warehouse store such as Sam’s Club or Costco. It takes a little organizing to have enough space to store extras but you can save a lot of money.
Put Your Children on a Budget
Do not give your children endless access to your wallet. As children age, the request for fast food and movies increases. Predetermine a set amount you are willing to provide for such treats and teach your children to live within that amount by planning ahead or paying for some activities themselves.
Make Good Use of Change
At the end of the day, empty out your wallet, and your husband’s pockets, into a change jar. When the jar is full, take the change to your bank, run it through the change machine and deposit it right into your savings account.
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