In this economic climate, you need every dollar to work for you as hard as it can.
Whether you’re having a hard time finding a job, are struggling to make ends meet, or need to pay down debt, it’s time to get a plan into action.
Here are 10 tips to help you make your money work for you, to live richly – on a budget.
Tip #1 – Prioritize Your Spending
Before you do anything with your money, you should have a goal in mind, whether it is to retire comfortably or go on vacation to the Caribbean. Look at your monthly expenses and decide what is most important to you and what falls down on the list in terms of priority.
Tip #2 – Live Within Your Budget
Learning to live within a budget can be difficult at first, but it is a good habit to have. Sit down and evaluate your monthly expenses and the amount of income you have every month. Hopefully, your income is larger than your expenses, but if it is the other way around, then you need to go to your priority list and do some trimming down of expenses.
Tip #3 – Invest in Your 401(k)
While many companies no longer match or contribute to 401(k) plans, if you have one available at your place of work, you should take advantage of it. Even investing a small amount of money every paycheck will make your money work for you throughout the years.
Tip #4 – Comparison Shop
There are lots of apps available for smart phones these days that can help you price compare while you shop. While you use your phone to compare prices, you should also consider comparing phone plans. Even if you are shopping online there are price comparison applications like PriceGrabber or MagicHand. Use these apps to make sure you are getting the best price and saving money.
Tip #5 – Use a Shopping List
This sounds old fashioned, but it works. Before you go shopping, whether it is for groceries or anything else, make a list of what you need and stick to it. This prevents you from impulse buying items that you do not need and do not want to spend money on.
Tip #6 – Save Money
There are lots of ways to save money while having fun. With the savings, you can invest money so that it is working for you.
Tip #7 – Consider Downsizing
Lifestyles change, consider downsizing. Some of us have lost our jobs or our kids are finally leaving the nest.
Not everyone actually needs a big house to live in, particularly after your children are gone and have moved out on their own. Even if you are still raising your kids, you may want to consider downsizing as a way to decrease your expenses and have more money available to you for saving or investing.
Go through your house and make a list of all of the items that you could put in storage or just plain get rid of. Look at buying a smaller house or renting for a period of time.
Tip #8 – Pay Down Your Credit Card Debt
If you have trimmed your budget and eliminated non-essential spending, then you should have money available to pay down your credit card debt. Credit card debt is one of the means by which many families find they are drowning.
Find a low interest credit card to transfer your debt to. Once you eliminate this debt, then you can put your money to work for you in other ways. Pay at least double the minimum monthly payment and you will definitely save in interest and other fees.
Tip #9 – Diversify Your Investments
One of the best ways to make your money work for you is to invest it. This way you can make your income grow and your wealth increase. Do not put all of your investments into one product or tool. Instead, diversify into stocks, bonds and other investments so that you can weather the storm better if a financial storm comes along.
Tip #10 – Have an Emergency Fund
An emergency fund should be able to float your financial needs for at least six months or longer. You can create an emergency fund by having a savings account or other financial account in which you save money. This way, your money is not only there for emergencies, but also is working for you by gaining interest or increasing in value over time.
You must make the commitment to be the master of your money and not the other way around. If you implement the 10 tips above into your financial routine, you will be well on your way to making your money work for you.
This guest post was contributed by Charles at CreditDonkey, a website helping readers, like you, find credit card rewards to make your money work for you.
Photo credit: D.C. Atty