Financial hardship isn’t a pleasant matter. It can lead to a tremendous amount of stress. At worst, it can cause serious health problems.
Fortunately, financial hardship can be avoided by budgeting. This is good news, especially since the cost of living is getting higher every year.
To avoid or put an end to financial hardship, here are some pointers to help you save money:
Discover the items you need versus the items you want
An example of this is a pair shoes. If your shoes are so raggedy that they look like trash on the ground, it’s definitely time for a new pair of shoes! In this case, a pair of shoes is a need.
However, if you have several pairs of good shoes, yet you see a pair that you’re dying to have just for the sake of being fashionable, guess what? This isn’t a necessity; it’s something you want, yet can do without.
This doesn’t mean you can’t never treat yourself to a new pair of shoes, just focus on your immediate needs first before spending money on something that you can wait on for a while.
Spend money on the basics
This includes food, transportation, shelter, clothes, and utilities. This doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself occasionally. However, you must remember that the basics are necessities that you can’t live without.
Imagine having no food to eat, no lights to see in the dark, no car to get from point A to point B. No clothes to cover your body with. And worst of all, no place to call home.
The basics are far more important than paying $200 to see a singer perform in concert. You can bet they’re not doing without the basics! Neither should you.
If it’s in the daytime and you’re not in your bedroom, why have a light on in this room? Turn it off. The same goes for the television or radio: turn it off if you’re not listening or watching it. There’s no use in wasting electricity just for the sake of it. You’ll regret it dearly when you get that big power bill!
Drive only when necessary
Remember the days when gas was 0.99/gallon? It’s good if you do remember those days because they’re long gone! Nowadays, depending on your location, gas prices are as high as $4/gallon!
For the sake of saving on gas, plan your travels carefully. If you have several errands to run, then you should drive, especially if you’ll have packages or children. However, if you’re going somewhere that’s in walking distance, park your car and walk instead.
Also, consider the time of day you’re traveling. If you can travel when traffic is less congested, do so. This move will prevent you from being in heavy traffic, which always causes you to burn more gas.
Budget your money prior to spending it
Before eating a meal, you always plan for it first. You already know the exact food you want to eat. You even know what you want to drink. In short, no food enters your mouth prior to you having planned for it to do so.
The same goes for your money: you need to make plans on how to spend it prior to doing so. Carefully plan what bills need to be paid, what basics you need to buy, and how much money to save. If visualization helps you make wise financial decisions, then write out a budget plan.
Never go out on a whim and spend money. This foolishness will get you in a heap of financial trouble every time. It has even landed some people in bankruptcy court!
Always price shop
Never settle for the first price you see for an item. No matter what it is, always shop around for a better price. Many stores carry the same item, but at different prices.
Also, consider the internet when price shopping. Often times you can find a better price online than at your local stores. Amazon is a highly recommended ecommerce site. With several buyers selling the same products there, you can always bargain hunt for the best item price.
Photo Credit: Flickr/401(K) 2012