It’s rare that we find something that we aren’t looking for.
I’ve been thinking quite a bit about my family’s financial health and the challenges we are facing these days. People are still getting laid off and even if they are working, they may be struggling to make ends meet. Fortunately, we have secure jobs (for now), are able to make it all work and put a bit aside in savings for a rainy day.
Are you setting your sights on financial preparedness? That statement above is true. You will most likely not be financially prepared if you are not looking for it.
These 7 ideas will help you conquer your expenses and get a jump on everyone else. You are well on your way to being financially ready for whatever lies ahead.
- I know this seems simple, but it is effective. The act of making and keeping a monthly budget will go a long way with your peace of mind and preparedness. Every dollar you earn needs to be placed in an expense category. You should strive to keep your spending within the money you have and the limits you set. If you budget $50 per month for dining out and you’ve spent $45 – you’re done for the month – or eating on the cheap. My family always does a budget check mid-month to make sure we are on track.
- Start buying food in bulk and cooking at home. After housing, groceries are the number one expense families are facing. When you purchase your food in bulk you can usually save at least 50% of the cost of buying items individually. This is one of my favorite cost-cutting tricks. (Bulk Buying on PreparednessMama) All your savings can go toward number 3.
- Get out of stupid debt. Pay off those credit cards and stop paying unnecessary interest. Put that money in your pocket; stop giving it to the credit card company. We have a rule that is followed stringently at our home – If we can’t pay off a purchase, in full, with the next credit card payment, we save the cash to buy it. We work that into our monthly budget and start saving.
- Be frugal but not cheap. In her article 5 Major Differences Between Cheap and Frugal, Stefanie O’Connell says, “Frugality is about assessing the bigger picture and having the patience to cash in on the simple savings strategies.” These strategies might include spending more money to ensure better product quality with a longer shelf life. “I stick to water at restaurants, I make my coffee at home, I opt for running year-round rather than paying for a gym membership and I find small savings strategies in my day-to-day life so that I can allocate my resources to bigger dreams.” I couldn’t agree more Stefanie!
- Have a serious savings plan in place. Depending on where you are in your financial life that can mean different things. At a minimum, you should be on your way to having 6 months of savings set aside for potential job loss or another catastrophe. Once this is in place begin retirement savings and other asset collecting ventures like gold, silver, and maybe even real estate.
- That might sound impossible to you right now. You may have even said, “I can’t do that!” All it means is that you need to educate yourself about financial things. The time may be past for hoping the government will take care of us. In his book, Second Chance, Robert Kiyosaki says: “…take classes, study, practice, make mistakes, fail a few times, and learn how you can do something…something others (or maybe ever you) say you can’t”
- Change the way you think about money. Again from Robert: “Now is the time for you to decide. Your reality – your life – starts in your head. So do the ideas of looking for a job, saving money, getting out of debt, and investing for the long term in the stock market.” Much of today’s economic crisis is caused by people who want to look rich in the outside but are not rich on the inside. Your Second Chance is an inside makeover to change the way you think about money and improve your life.
Are you looking for a way to change your financial future? Start small with budgeting, bulk buying and getting out of stupid debt. Live frugally and get serious about a saving plan that fits your needs. Educate yourself about financial things by following money masters and change the way you think about money.
These are some of the masters I follow. How about you?