How to Stop Wasting and Start Saving

Money seems to take-on a life of its own, at times, prompting spending and debt you could easily avoid. What is behind this powerful phenomenon, which consistently drives consumers toward ill-advised purchases? The answer may be as unique as the individuals spending the money, but there is no denying our collective penchant to squander cash.

In some cases, money is no object, so spending is governed by personal preference, desire, and commitment to possessing the latest and greatest objects. For most people, however, these ideals must be mitigated, in order to align spending with household income limits. One prudent path toward long-term financial health: Stop wasting money.

Waste Runs Rampant across Personal Budgets

Financial management is a balancing act, striking harmony between available resources, and the things you want and need. Reining-in discretionary spending is one way to create the balanced budget you need, if you intend to stay in the black. An approachable first step for those committed to saving money is to evaluate spending, with an eye toward waste. You may be surprised how much of your cash flow falls into this category, furnishing fertile grounds for financial improvement. Consider the following examples – do any of them apply to your personal circumstances?

Are you contracting too many services? – Life’s routine includes countless tasks, which must be continually undertaken – often repetitively. And while some are agreeable – even enjoyable, others become chores we’d rather not engage in. In these cases, temptation prompts many people to contract the services to outside providers. When this represents an affordable piece of your budget, it might be chalked-up to affluence and personal comfort. However, if you don’t have the money to cover costs, paid services deserve a closer look.

Do you pay a neighborhood kid to mow your lawn? Able-bodied individuals should forgo the practice of paying for yardwork, instead using it as an opportunity to save money and get some exercise. Are you prone to pick up carryout, rather than producing meals at home? This convenient indulgence takes a task off your plate, but the cost of prepared meals is exorbitant, when compared to self-inspired fare. If you are tethered to takeout, consider cooking instead. Your meal budget will immediate reflect savings.

It is up to each person to draw their own line – sometimes tied to motivation and ability. Saving money by doing your own home improvements is a windfall, for example, until you end up paying a contractor to repair your mistakes. Be realistic about what makes sense to tackle on your own, but don’t be afraid to learn new, money-saving skills.

Do you use credit wisely? – Modern consumers have access to many forms of credit. This double-edged sword provides for families when money is most needed, but it also opens the door to mismanagement, which can lead to financial difficulties. Loans and other forms of credit serve vital functions – even short-term financing, which can be beneficial for pop-up expenses. The key to prudent fiscal management is not eliminating the use of financing altogether, but instead finding a workable cash flow balance. Automatically placing charges on your credit card, rather than paying cash, for example, can lead to undue waste. To limit wasted interest payments and card fees, use cash on hand to make everyday purchases, whenever possible.

Is there sound reasoning behind your spending decisions? – Impulse buys are contrary to your money-saving mission, so leave them by the wayside as you cut financial waste. Too often, buyer’s remorse cannot be remedied, so money goes down the drain with impractical purchases. As a rule, separate yourself from impulsiveness, waiting at least 15 minutes before buying an item that has caught your eye. Build-in considerably more time for reflection when contemplating major purchases, or run the risk of buying the wrong car, for instance.

What is your weakness? – Unfortunately, that which we love the most can be a source of financial waste. Drive thru coffee drinks, for instance, and other minor indulgences seem harmless, yet add-up to significant spending. As you turn your attention toward reduced waste and subsequent savings, evaluate life’s luxuries, for their impact on your family budget. You may find room for occasional extravagances, but it is important to be realistic when pleasure spending goes too far.

Eliminating – or at least reducing – personal financial waste is a wise first-step toward better cash flow. With commitment and dedication to improved financial fortunes, it is possible to shave wasteful spending, without feeling the pinch.

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