Tips to Help Save Money
SAVING MONEY ON CREDIT
Credit Counseling of Maine Jill Chouinard - 207- 945 6699
- Get Organized. Establish a special location for all your bills and receipts.
- Plan for the future. Major purchases and periodic expenses to gain control over your financial future.
- Set realistic goals. Take a look at your current financial state and set attainable goals for the next 30 days, 2-12 months, and a year or more.
- Save for non-monthly expenses such as insurance, car registration, health deductibles, etc. Save at least 5-10% of your net income each month and start now, even if it's just a few dollars a month.
- Track your expenses. Write down what you spend for one month to determine your basic living expenses, debt payments and periodic expenses.
- Distinguish between wants and needs. Take care of your basic living expenses first, including food, shelter and clothing. Spend money on wants after needs are met.
- Develop a flexible spending plan. Use your daily tracking to create a realistic spending plan that can change with your needs. Evaluate your plan often, comparing actual with planned expenses. Your plan must be flexible and help you meet your goals, NOT make you miserable.
- Don't allow expenses to exceed income. Know where all your money goes and build adequate saving to cover unexpected needs.
- Use credit wisely and never pay just the minimum on your credit card.
- Pay your bills on time and maintain a good credit rating.
- Protect yourself from money triggers, situations that may expose you to external spending triggers (cancel mail order catalogs, don't grocery shop when hungry).
- Make a shopping list and stick to it.
- Limit your number of credit cards.
- Learn to say "no" to salespeople.
- Learn to say "no" to your family.
Healthy Financial Attitude
Have you ever known someone who does very well with investments and savings, even though they make the same money you do? They never seem to be lacking a decent car, nice clothes, and other non-essential luxuries, while you live paycheck to paycheck, only able to dream of a savings account. You ask yourself, how is this possible? The best way to answer that question is to try a simple exercise that will illustrate how much money you spend needlessly.
Start by listing your monthly, fixed expenses, such as rent or mortgage, utilities, cable television, insurance, loan payments, and minimum credit payments. Include every monthly bill, estimating those that are variable, including what you spend every month on groceries and gas.
Add them up and compare the total to your monthly take-home pay. Most people are shocked at the difference. Now ask yourself, and be honest, can you live on what?s left over after the bills are paid, and have plenty left to build a savings or pay off debts.
Dont feel bad. Almost everybody wastes money to some degree. It's important to understand that every purchase we make ? excluding such absolute necessities as food, rent, and gas for the car ? is a choice. So if you want to stop wasting money, it's as simple as deciding to stop.
Try this simple exercise. Start carrying a pocket-sized spiral notebook with you at all times, and write down every purchase you make, including the amount. Even if it's only a soft drink from the convenience store, or a trip to the drive-thru at a fast food restaurant, record it in your notepad. Most people discover that this exercise curbs spending automatically because it draws their attention to it. After two weeks, review your notes and ask yourself if you really need all the things you buy.
To develop a winning attitude about money, think about your spending habits. Do you buy things you don't need when you're depressed? Do you treat your friends just to gain their approval? Do you spend money for convenience, such as eating at a restaurant or having food delivered? Do you spend a lot of money at convenience stores? The answers to these questions could reveal the root cause of poor spending habits.
For the most part, though, this type of behavior stems from an inability to distinguish between what you "want" and what you "need." When you think about something you "want" for any length of time, you eventually convince yourself that it truly is something you "need." Once the thing you "want" becomes something you "need," it gets lumped in with all the things you really do "need," like food, shelter, and electricity.
The key is to make sure you separate in your mind the difference between "wants" and "needs," and put achieving your financial goals in the "need" category.
A winning financial attitude means not buying items at a convenience store if they're available at a supermarket. It means cooking meals at home instead of having them delivered. It means being sensible about credit and not piling up enormous debts. Most of all, it means making smart decisions about your money.
Know Your Loan
Do you know how to choose a loan? Homes, cars, furniture, appliances and home improvement projects often cost more than what you can afford to pay all at once. If you are considering a loan, you need to carefully weigh all of your options and do your homework before making a final decision.
This brochure helps you to understand the steps you should take before securing a loan and includes a worksheet you can use to compare loans you are considering.
Know Your Score
Do you know your credit score? Your credit score is a snapshot of your entire credit history, and constantly changes as new information is added to your credit file. The most commonly used credit scores are FICO scores, developed by Fair Isaac and Company, Inc. FICO scores range from 350-850. Most people score in the 600's and 700's. Payment history, amounts owed, length of credit history, new credit, and types of credit used are evaluated when determining your credit score.
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Tips to Help Save Money