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Tips to Improve Your Finances

If you are sick of feeling like you can never get ahead, that there is little or no money left at the end of the month; you may want to take a closer look at your spending habits. There are many ways you can reign in your spending without feeling completely deprived. Go through the following list to see if there is anything you could implement. And, of course, the more of these you do, the quicker you'll start getting ahead.

Use cash

It has become so easy to just swipe your credit card with every transaction, we almost do it mindlessly. When you use cash for everyday spending, your money becomes more tangible. When you run out of cash, you stop buying, simple as that. The tendency to overspend is automatically gone.

Automatic transfers

When you get your paycheck, automatically deduct a set amount and transfer it to a savings account. It could be as low as $20. By the end of the year, even a few hundred dollars is a good start to your savings. When you have savings to pull from, especially in emergency situations, you aren't forced to rack up your credit card, take out a loan or, worse, a cash advance (pay day loan); all of which carry finance charges. It's hard to get ahead when so much money goes to paying interest.

Use online savings accounts

You can earn nearly double the interest with an online bank as you would in a traditional bank. And, unlike a traditional bank, there isn't the option for ATM's, making it much harder to impulsively withdraw money.

Have a 30-day list

If there is something you want, not need, put it on a list with the date next to the item. Wait 30 days and see if you still want it. If you can afford it, go ahead and buy it. But in most cases, you'll find that the urge has passed and you'll end up crossing it off your list. Imagine how much you'd save by restricting impulse shopping?

Don't get catalogs and opt out of advertising emails

When you are constantly bombarded with advertisements designed to entice you to buy merchandise, it's hard to control your spending. So stop the temptation at the source. That goes too for cruising around the mall or going window shopping. It's amazing how quickly you become dissatisfied with your current wardrobe, car, furniture or other belongings when you're bombarded with the newest fads, styles, upgrades, etc., that retailers claim "you just can't do without". But, out of sight, out of mind. Instead of focusing on what you don't have, you can turn your focus on the things you do have.

Use a spreadsheet

Spreadsheets are a great way to track spending and stay organized. There are several options to choose from, but if you want something simple use Google Docs and Spreadsheets. It includes the date of each transaction, the title, the amount, a running balance and a place to insert notes. You are also able to view the info from anywhere, not just limited to your PC.

Lend and borrow

If there is something you are no longer using or don't use regularly, give it away or let people borrow it. When it comes time that you need something, ask around. See if someone will do the same favor for you.


Bartering has been around for centuries. Even though it's not as common in today's society, it is a great way to get goods and services without having to go out of pocket for them. You'd be surprised how many people are willing to make a trade.


The process of de-hording truly helps in distinguishing between wants and needs. Analyzing all of your belongings, deciding which ones to keep and which ones to get rid of, helps you get more clear on what really matters. If you're having difficulty letting some things go, think of someone else who could really use the item. Maybe that pair of shoes that you haven't worn in two years. You're worried that you might need them in the future. But there is someone else who needs them right now. Clearing out your excess is quite liberating and energizing. With a cleaner more simplified environment it will make it harder to buy stuff that will just clutter things up again.

Find happiness and satisfaction in other endeavors

Far too often people equate belongings with self worth. The more you have, the more valuable you are. We all know someone who's always chasing after the biggest, fastest, newest, best something or other. Yet, as soon as they get it, their happiness is fleeting and they quickly move on to the next pursuit. It is a viscous cycle and appetite that will never be satisfied. Focus your attention on more worthy and fulfilling endeavors. Spend quality time with family doing free activities. Spend time volunteering. Read more. Go on more nature walks, etc. There are so many things in life, other than shopping, that bring joy and fulfillment. Seek after these things and your whole outlook and standard of living will improve.