Whether it’s impulse spending or trying to live beyond your means, not taking control of your finances can have disastrous results.
If you’ve been trying to spend smarter but aren’t sure how to succeed, here are five easy ways to make your money work for you.
Without proper planning, it’s easy to overspend or try to fund a large project when you don’t have the financial backing to do it.
Aside from saving up, another way to pay for large purchases is with a personal loan.
Loans are tailored to fit your situation and most can be paid off early with penalty. As with any type of loan, weigh the pros and cons before applying.
Although it might be fun to buy something appealing on the spot, not having the money to cover the cost, along with your other bills, is another story.
If you’re having trouble breaking the habit, play it safe and leave your credit card at home. Paying with cash makes the price more real.
Alternatively, you can use a pre-paid card with a set amount that you have to load into it.
Or, get a credit card with a cash-back feature. There are some with no annual fee.
You can also use one of the many apps to help you save money that are available on smartphones, seeing the details of your spending in black and white can help control impulses.
Consider the Resale Value
Before making a big-ticket purchase, think about how much you’d get if you resell the item.
That is especially important for a vehicle you are consider purchasing or leasing. The Consumer Reports Car Value Estimator is an excellent tool for that.
You can also get cash or shopping rewards from retailers including H&M, The North Face and Office Depot for recycling clothing, printer ink toners and other items.
If you can’t confidently say you’d be able to earn at least half of what you spent back, hold off on buying it. While 50 percent return isn’t set in stone, you should still be able to earn a percentage of what you paid back.
Bargain shopping doesn’t mean buying the cheapest item you can find. It means comparing prices and even waiting for a particular item or category to go on sale.
In the supermarket, house brands are the bargain. These are often produced on the same assembly lines as the “name” brand, with the housebrand label slapped on instead.
Look for Alternative Solutions
If your laptop is old and not working right, it makes perfect sense to buy a new one. But since high-quality computers can be expensive, spending about $1000 might not be in your budget.
However, if you have a tablet or iPad, you could buy a wireless keyboard and case and convert it into a useable mini laptop.
But if you need a way to get things done online quickly, this is an inexpensive quick fix to the problem.
It’s just an example of thinking creatively to better manage your finances.