Who wouldn’t love the idea of getting more value from their money and learning how to manage their personal finances to make their money work for them? So many people in the US scrape to make it to the end of the month unnecessarily and, if this includes you, it’s time to have a long, hard think about your personal finances. Analyze your spending, try to make a few simple changes and you could get more out of your hard-earned cash.
Know your money
Start a money journal to keep track of your weekly expenditures. The idea is to jot down everything that you spend, so you’ll need to commit to recording your purchases carefully. Knowing how much you spend on items such as toiletries, food, transport, social outings and impulse-buys will help you identify ways you can cut out unnecessary spending.
Be master of your own money
You know the difference between necessities and luxuries, emergencies and everyday situations. Is it really worth emptying your account for something fleeting and frivolous, or could you save the money instead and put it aside for something really worthwhile? Rather than racking up your credit card balance, stop and think first – do I really need this (insert wilful desire here) right now or can it wait?
Hunt for bargains
Everyone loves a bargain. Supermarkets always offer different weekly and monthly deals, so try to make a note of the days when special offers are on so that you can make bulk purchases. If you do your math right, you’ll realize you can save a lot of money from buying your non-perishable goods in bulk. There are also online discount sites that offer deals on vacations, eating out, shopping, and more. Two popular ones include Livingsocial and Groupon.
Be sure to check your bills
Not only should you check your utility bills and gym subscription to make sure you don’t miss a payment, but also make sure you check the actual dollar bills handed back to you when you make a purchase. While you may not have a counterfeit detector or money counting machine at your disposal, sometimes just by touching the paper and carefully checking the details you can tell if a bill is fake and ensure that you don’t accept it.
Vintage or second hand?
Clothes, furniture, homeware and books can all be purchased at charity events or vintage stores, and they can be among the best sources of finding unique items that you can alter to give a personalized touch. If you’re a student, it makes sense to buy second-hand books, as you will save a ton of money, while getting the same content that you would from a brand new one.
Finally, if you’re in a tight position, or unsure of how to track your finances, you could think about getting professional advice and help, or trying some online money management tools, such as Mint and Saved Plus. There is always someone around to help and with a bit of dedication and effort you can learn to get the best out of your money.
Michael Peggs is the founder of digital marketing agency Marccx Media, where they specialize in SEO and Content Marketing. Before Marcxx, Peggs worked at Google in business development, forming digital media and advertising partnerships. He is also a blogger and podcaster, hosting the iTunes Top 10 New & Noteworthy podcast You University – The Personal Branding Podcast.