Nothing is harder than trying to live paycheck to paycheck, with the exception of no paycheck and homelessness. So, how can anyone even think of planning for the future when the present is so hard? A financial planner can help, but you have to do some of the work too. Here are some tips that will help you tighten up your shoestring budget so you can live more comfortably in the future.
Drop the Cable TV
If you have cable TV, be honest. Do you really need two hundred channels you never really watch? What are the channels you watch every night of the week? If the answer is "none," or just basic channels you can get over-the-air, drop the cable TV. Most subscribers to cable TV eventually realize that the $600 a year they spend on cable really is not worth it. If the issue is a DVR and missed shows, there are streaming options that are either free or much cheaper than cable. The money you save you can bank or invest.
Change the Way You Commute to Work
Changing the way you commute to work could help you save hundreds of dollars a year. For example, try carpooling. In some areas, there are even special lanes for carpoolers that help you get to work a little easier and a little faster than sitting in traffic, wasting gas for hours. Then you watch the carpool lane sail by you. You pay whoever drives a lesser amount for gas each week, and then you may even get to work on time. You could also bike, take the bus or subway, etc., and then you would never spend a dime on gas, insurance, or car repairs. That is more money you can stick in a savings account or invest.
Eat Less or Eat out Less Often
Eating less is always an option. If your job is not physically demanding, eating less is not only good for your wallet, but it is also excellent for your health. Spending less money on food means you learn to control what you eat, how much you eat, and how often you eat.
If your major expense is eating out, eat out less often. That five-dollar value meal lunch adds up to twenty-five dollars a week and one hundred dollars a month. What could you do with that extra hundred dollars? You would be surprised how quickly that adds up to a better future through better financial planning.