Managing Money Doesn't Mean Giving Up Quality

1. Don't Buy It Just Because It Is On Sale. Unless it is something you NEED and something you will USE, just because it is a great deal is not a good enough reason to purchase it. When you are trying to get out of debt and to save money, this ends up being a waste of money. We purchase things not on our list, for the future or for someone else. If you want to get out of debt, you need to restrict your spending. As my husband Ken always tells me, the best way to get out of debt is to stop spending. You have to spend on your needs only, not wants. So, unless that item on sale is on your "NEEDS" list, do not purchase it.

2. Write Down Your Expenditures. By writing down what you spend, even five cents, it becomes very obvious where you money is going and where you need to rein in. You may have heard of the expression "Don't nickel and dime yourself to death." So even if the item is very inexpensive, it all adds up. Nickels turn into dollars. For example, let's say you treat yourself to a special coffee only once a week at $4.25 - in a year that comes to $221. So, when you are trying to get out of debt, don't think of that coffee as ONLY $4.25.... think of it as $221 in your Savings account! Think of it as two weeks of groceries! Think of it as the interest you could have paid on your debt. This is not saying you are not entitled to a treat once in a while, but when you want to get out of debt, then you have to forego some treats for the greater good. The time for treats will be when you reach your goals. You need to deprive yourself until you reach them, otherwise, nothing changes.

3. Come Up With A Plan For Your Weaknesses. So if a special coffee is your weakness, then purchase the ingredients and learn how to make yourself a special coffee at home. I used my Air Miles to get an Espresso Machine, so it didn't cost me any money, and whenever we feel like a special coffee, we go home and make one. They are just as good and now I don't feel deprived. If you love having a manicure, why not learn how to give yourself one. It isn't the same, I know, but until you are debt free, you have to cut out the luxuries. So, you may miss the relaxation of someone else doing it for you, but it will be so much better when you can go get a pedicure or manicure and PAY for it out of your Savings and not out of debt. Until then, you will have to go without, or give yourself one.

4. Sleep On It Before Purchasing. I used to be an Impulsive shopper. I could reason my way into purchasing anything I wanted. But once I got out of the store, and away from the item, it helped to remember and think objectively whether I "really" needed it. Sometimes I have concluded Yes, and gone back to find it sold. But 99% of the time I never went back. Most of the time we "think" we need it, but that is our heart talking. If you sleep on it, you are more objective. You may even realize that was not such a great deal after all.

5. Look At Ways To Lower Your Monthly Expenses. We do not eat out at restaurants, we do not go to the theatre, we do not travel to vacation spots, all ways to reduce our expenditures. But then I realized we were spending too much to our TV Satellite company. With a phone call, we changed our package and are saving another $50 each month, and we don't even notice the difference. Another call to our cell phone company to find out how we can reduce our bill there. It never hurts to give them a call. Many times they will offer some suggestions because they do not want to lose you as a customer.

6. Start Putting Money Into Savings. Even if you can't put very much. This is a good habit for a couple of reasons. It gets you into the habit of setting money aside, plus it starts building a cushion. If a bill comes you totally forgot about, then you won't be adding to your debt, you will have a cushion to handle it. So even if it is only $25 a month, start putting something into your Savings Account.

7. Concentrate On Paying Off The Debt That Carries The Highest Interest. Even though I only have my mortgage to pay off, this is what I would do if I had Credit Card debt. The interest is killing you, so you need to kill it first and as soon as possible. Talk to your bank if you can compile your debt and get a lower interest as another option.

8. Plan A Budget. I have tried over and over again, and this is one area I am not good at. So I am not the expert here, but can only tell you what I have read and am working on. Some write one out, others divide their money into envelopes. The reason for planning a budget is to put down what your actual income is on one side, and then your expenditures on the other. As long as you stick with it, then you can refrain from exceeding your income and get out of debt. I just deal with this by spending less, spending wisely, spending only on our needs, and am hoping for the best.

9. No More Window Shopping....That Includes eBay & Amazon. If you are on a diet, would you entice yourself by going into a Bakery? That would not be wise. So no more recreational shopping. Your wants begin with your eyes, so put your "eyes" on a diet. If you don't see it, then you won't know it is out there, then you won't want it. My weakness is once I want something, it never leaves my mind until I get it. I really want an iPad, and someday I will have one, but not until I can "afford" one. So until then, I delete the emails that Apple sends me. Unsubscribe to those shopping websites. Whatever it takes. It will be worth it in the end. Until then, why tempt yourself.

10. Keep Your Dreams & Goals Before You. Keep a constant reminder with you to help keep you on track. Otherwise you will just feel deprived and then falter to make yourself feel better. But if you remember the greater good, your reason "Why," it will give you the will power you need to stay on track, and you will be content with less until you get there. You could post a picture of your dream house, or have some beach scene as your computer screen saver, whatever it is that is your goal. Then the deprivation now is SO worth it.