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Today’s guest post comes to us from Brian Lillard.
Picture it: All those big, shiny numbers from a fresh direct deposit hitting the bank account.
“I’ve earned it,” we think.
“And I’d better enjoy it!”
So here come the mental images of everything luxurious or delicious longed for over recent weeks! They fight for a place at the front of the line, but that’s really the point where we can stop and reconsider rationally.
Tip 1 of 5 invaluable tips to come: Subtract all known expenses as soon as paycheck is received.
This seems like an obvious thing to do, but the voices in the head are loud, and they sound just like us. So, when we’re saying, “Time to pay the phone bill,” another voice may say, “AT&T has a 2-week grace period. Get the shoes! Get the shoes!”
By taking out a piece of paper and writing down the money which is actually left over, it physically removes the fuel of that second voice. The second voice will no doubt find this humiliating and go off to find another victim.
This brings me to Tip 2: Make lists.
Don’t even be afraid to make them into charts and calendars. Present yourself with a visual representation of that which your money is being made for. This organizes you to know when money is coming in vs. when something is due. Lists help prevent us from arguing with reality — it’s here: Barefaced, unquestionable and on paper.
An oldie, a goodie and also Tip 3: Stick it to the Internal Revenue Service.
It only took me 8 years of spent money and anxiety for me to start using Turbo Tax, claiming deductions and when I can remember to, saving receipts for purchases over $75.00. The IRS website contains a handy lowdown on the stuff you can tell them to pay you back for.
It’s possible to be surprised by what can count as a deduction.
Tip 4: Stop paying full price.
Whether you’re shopping for clothes, cars or cattle, someone somewhere has a better deal for what you’re looking for. Shop below 50% of retail value on whatever you can as often as possible. You can get anything awesome for an awesome price if you look around and be mindful of timing. Clearance, clearance, clearance.
Finally, Tip 5: Get two (2) savings accounts.
Being relatively competitive, I’ve discovered the possibility of competitiveness against even myself! We all operate primarily through duality (Coke/Pepsi, Democrat/Republican… even Noah was hip to this theory) and with some healthy internal competition mixed with the rest of these tips, you just may find your pennies collecting in a jar, instead of spread out on the countertop at the gas station.
How about you all? What strategies do you use to save money and budget for expenses and pleasurable spending each month?
Share your experiences by commenting below!
Jacob’s Thoughts – Listed below are my random thoughts as I was reading this great post!
- @Tip 1 – Subtracting all of my known expenses for each month before I get paid is a crucial way for me to keep ahead on my finances. The way I do this is by keeping a Google Docs Spreadsheet going with my budgeted items for each month. My normal subtractions are shown below:
- Condo Insurance
- Condo real estate tax savings
- Roth IRA contributions
- Charitable contributions
- Cable internet, HOA, and utility bill payments
- Home maintenance savings
- Microloan contributions
- And dream and life values savings accounts