The economy, though it doesn’t seem like it at the moment, will eventually rise again. This is finally getting through to people and the average consumer is learning valuable economic lessons in the current economic climate.
A report on NPR talked about how Americans are getting smarter with their spending and making the family budget a primary concern. The article discussed how delinquent credit card payments have hit a 17 year low. This seems to be a sign that Americans, overall, are carrying far less debt on their cards and keeping less plastic in their wallet. We’re learning from our mistakes, but there’s always room for improvement including these few easy ways to save when you have less:
Looking for ways to save when you’ve already have less coming into the family budget is tough, but not impossible. It’s essential that people understand the concept of discretionary spending and the basic difference between need versus want. Sometimes the line between the two can be confusing.
Rationalizing the purchase of an expensive flat-screen TV because it will make you stay home more and spend less on entertainment is a bad argument. There’s probably nothing wrong with the TV you have. On the other hand, you don’t need to go back to school, but getting online degrees at a college or online institution, like the University of Phoenix, can be an investment in your future. We’ve seen a lot of people turned away from jobs because they lacked the necessary education to get them in the door. It takes some seriously self-examination to understand how you spend and the ways in which you can improve your saving skills. Think before you buy anything and ask yourself, “why am I buying this?”
For the average family, besides rent, utilities are the biggest cost of living. Heating and cooling takes a large chunk out of your collective saving power. As energy prices have soared over the last several years, Americans are becoming acutely aware of how they use energy. Sometimes making basic upgrades to your home’s internal systems can end up saving you hundreds every year.
For example, a small investment in a programmable thermostat can reduce the amount of gas and electricity that a home uses. You can also put insulation around the edges of your windows and door frames. These are places that large amounts of energy are lost to the elements. Also, bad windows are a major drain on your monthly energy bills. Making simple updates can save you a lot of money at a time when it matters most and every penny counts.
Creating New Revenue Stream
As millions of people have been laid off during the recession, families that once had two incomes now have just one. In some cases, they have no income at all. If you’re faced with a decrease in your monthly budget or just need extra money, creating a new revenue stream can mean the difference between paying your bills and not. The web is an excellent tool for finding different ways to make money. Selling items on Craigslist, freelance writing, blogging, and extra side jobs are all ways that you can introduce some much-needed cash flow into your home.
Where you make budget cuts and save is up to the individual, but it’s always important to look for ways to cut costs at times like these. Many in the government and Wall Street are complaining that consumer saving is the reason why things are so bad right now, but they’re not the ones struggling to make ends meet. Economists want people to get out and spend more, but it’s hard to spend when you are barely making ends meet. Ignore pressure to spend more and look for ways to save for the good of your family, because Wall Street isn’t going to bail you out.
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.