Monday, August 13, 2012

10 Tips to Live Below Your Means

Finding the money to start paying off your debt can be done numerous ways. Below are some of the things I did to get my credit back in shape. I'm always looking for more information because you never stop learning when it comes to finances. I didn't just do these things until my credit was "fixed", but I still practice these things today. Consistency is key.

Live below your means. As a rule of thumb, I made sure that I rented an apartment that I could pay for with 1 week's salary. If you get paid every 2 weeks, divide that into half and that's the amount you can afford for rent. Back in '97, my salary was 45k/year. My weekly take home salary was around $750. I found an apartment across the hall in a small building because a friend spoke to the landlord on my behalf. It was a small 1 bedroom apartment for $625/month. You might have to give up that large apartment and move into a smaller one that's more suitable for your financial needs. If you have to move back in with your parents, pay them rent, and do what you have to.

After living in that apartment for 3 years, I realized that I needed to start saving for a house. I moved into my Mom's basement apartment for 2 years. I paid her a slightly lesser rent and I didn't have to worry about cable, heat or electricity. From time to time my mother would sneak into my refrigerator and steal my orange juice to make a "night-cap" for herself, but hey... it was a small price to pay.

Since I lived in NYC, I sold my car and went back to taking public transportation. The cost of car insurance in NYC is extremely high. God forbid you get a ticket, that's more money out of your pocket plus registration, gas and maintenance... goodbye. I won't say that it was easy going back to public transportation but I knew what I wanted and looked at it as a temporary situation.

There are other things that I currently do in order to save money. Take a look at the suggestions and videos below. Feel free to share some of your money saving ideas.
  • Unplug electronics that you're not using. Don't just turn the power off. Pull the cord out of the wall.
  • Change your bulbs to energy saving light bulbs. They cost a little more up front but are worth it.
  • If you have subscriptions that's not necessary for business, get rid of it.
  • Instead of getting manicure / pedicure, do it yourself.
  • Before buying another expensive lipstick, look in your stash, you might already own a dupe.
  • Buy a good quality toothbrush, toothpaste and floss. Dental bills are very expensive, avoid them.
  • Have new or gently used electronics / products? Sell them on eBay.
  • Consider temping for a short period of time. Use the extra check to pay down your debt.

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