Most financial analysts claim our country’s economy is on the mend, but many people haven’t felt that yet. Maybe you’re one of these folks. If so, there are a few basic steps you can take to speed up your personal recovery.
1. Make (and stick to) a budget
A budget isn’t a straight jacket for your wallet. It’s a plan for your mind, to help you be sure the things you spend your money on are the things you want or need most. Small amounts pile up. A daily coffee shop visit adds up to $100+ a month. Then there’s eating out, movies, alcohol, cigarettes, lotto tickets – you get the idea. When you spend money, write it down. Review your spending weekly, so you know where your money is going. Look for things you can cut.
For example, buy your meals the old fashioned way – at the grocery store, not the drive-thru. And do most of your shopping around the perimeter of the market – near the outside walls. This is where you’ll find the fresh produce, dairy, and meats/poultry. Cut your food bill in half by avoiding pre-cooked or ready-to-eat stuff.