Monday, October 10, 2011

4 Tips for Saving Money in Times of Economic Transition

While it is never easy to know when to spend, when to save, and when to invest, the current economic state is somewhat ambiguous, frustratingly so for some people, who'd much rather just get over being cautious. It's true that the economy is recovering, but before you go out and spend like it's 1999, know that we are in more of a transitional period than full-tilt prosperity, and you should spend accordingly. What does this mean exactly? The long and short of it is that you should still commit to saving, and at the same time monitor your spending to get an idea of where your spending. To give you an idea of some good financial strategies, here are some tips for surviving a transitional period:
  • Balance your regular expenses with days that you don't spend any money at all. This means sacrificing designer coffee, fast food, movie theaters, random shopping sprees, at least once or twice a week. You can just as easily prepare a lunch and dinner at home—and, yes, brew your own coffee. As scary as this sounds, you might be surprised at how limiting your spending in this way can improve your relationships and your life: making dinner at home can be a romantic change from eating out, and will also improve your culinary prowess.
  • Think about "the best things in life." The old saying tells us that the best things in life are free, but we all know that isn't really true. Houses, engagement rings, and cars (which are not themselves the best things in life, but do add to life considerably) are not free. If you are dreaming about a big purchase that will add to your collection of "best things," use that dream to help you control your spending.
  • Take a good, hard look at your expenses. It's really easy to get into a pattern of spending without even knowing it. This isn't always a bad thing, but these patterns can be very expensive over a long period of time. Buying a pack of gum every time you're at the grocery, for example, or continuing to pay for that gym membership even after you've stopped going to the gym. Track your expenses for a month to see where you can trim a little fat and save yourself a little green. With as many money monitoring apps and sites as there are today, this should be easy.
  • Make a focused effort at paying off debts. If you're still paying off school or credit card debts, consider consolidating them and paying a higher balance every month, instead of the minimum payment. The economy has more or less leveled out, and now would be a great time to attack your debt, so that when the economy recovers you can spend less guiltily (or if it does not improve, you won't have anything to worry about.
Following these four tips can really help you get a hold your finances in this strange economic time, and prepare yourself for the depression or prosperity that could follow. Either way, you want to be prepared—and these steps will put you on the path to preparedness.

About the Guest Author
Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to If you are interested in writing a guest post, please contact PF Stock at the Email address listed in the sidebar.

No comments:

Post a Comment