I’m sure there are areas in all of our lives that can use improvement. For some of us, our time management skills could use improvement, while others could stand a little improvement in prioritizing. The key here is, how do you work on your areas of improvement, or address the problems you have managing them?
If time management is an issue you have, a possible solution might be setting alarms. You may have to set your alarm clock at home an hour early to get to work on time. You might also have to set multiple alarms on your phone to help you meet deadlines.
Another improvement area that is commonly addressed is spending. Everyone has had at least one bad spending habit at some point in their life, and it differs with each individual. How did you overcome your bad spending habits, and what areas was it in? Or are you still entertaining that habit?
These bad habits are a big contributing factor that link to debt, or as most of us would call it, “being broke.” Being broke is very common for the average, hard working American, but why are you broke? Living paycheck to paycheck is part of daily life for most, but being broke doesn’t have to be.
There are some adjustments you can make in your daily life that can, financially, be very beneficial. You may not like these adjustments, but your bank account will, and the great thing about it is, it’s something you can start right now! Let’s take a look at some areas that you can reduce your spending.
Pleasure spending is an expense that usually feels good in the moment, because it’s something you really wanted, but a few moments later, you begin to experience feelings of guilt. This is because you know it’s something you didn’t really need. Everyone has experienced this type of spending at some point, and can probably attest to the guilty feelings after.
Pleasure spending is usually money spent on items or services that are not of high importance. Pleasure spending includes, but are not limited to, massages, manicures and pedicures, shopping at the mall, going to the movies, and ordering bottle service at parties. These are examples of ways to unnecessarily spend your money.
I’m not saying that you have to cut out everything fun and enjoyable in your life, but you do need to be smart about how, and what, you spend your money on. It’s okay that you enjoy going and getting massages, but maybe reduce them from every weekend to once a month.
A typical massage can run you anything from $60 – $80 per session, and that’s dependent upon the type of massage you get. So, if you reduce your massages down to once a month, you’d easily have at least $140 to put back into your account.
Food is probably one of the most convenient bad spending habits. If you don’t feel like cooking, you can easily go out and grab something to eat. They even have apps now where you don’t have to leave the house for food. Pizza was initially the only type of food that could be delivered. Now you can have food delivered to your home from some of your most favorite restaurants and fast-food chains, with just the tap of an app.
With the ease of ordering food out, that convenience does come with a price. A lot of these food delivery apps allow you to order food at your convenience, but almost all of them have service fees. These fees can vary on the distance from the restaurant location to your house. Some apps also have minimums, where you have to spend a certain amount to have the food delivered. The majority of the time, after you calculate all these different fees, you come out better just going to the place and getting the food yourself, and you will get your food a lot faster. These food delivery apps became popular because of pure laziness.
An even better aspect to approach with food, is to opt out of eating out, and instead eat in…by eat in, I mean cook. Again, I’m not saying to completely give up your joy of eating out, but do it in moderation. I know that after a hard day of work, you sometimes don’t feel like cooking anything, and the quickest and easiest thing to do would be to stop and grab something on your way home. We all have those days, and it’s okay to have those days…we’re human, but spending your money on eating out is expensive. You could be proactive by preparing your meals at home.
One helpful grocery shopping tip would be to grocery shop for the week using a credit card. If you were already going to use that money for fast food or eating out, so why not put that money to good use by putting it towards your credit card balance. You can even do this if you have “not so perfect” credit. Some grocery stores have their own store credit cards, so that would be something to look into as well.
When your goal is to reduce spending, you just have to bite the bullet and fight the lazy syndrome. It’s just a sacrifice you’ll have to make, when reducing your spending.
Even your utilities can play a major role in your spending habits. Did you know that certain phone companies, and most electric companies, will check your credit score to see if you will be a risk to them?
Electric companies will check it to determine if you will have to pay a deposit up front or not, but your utilities do not affect credit scores unless you’re delinquent on payments. When I moved into my first apartment, I had to pay a deposit of $300 because my credit was not up to par. Having to pay that up front, just to get my lights turned on was pretty disappointing, but after having made consistent on-time payments for a year, the following year, I got my deposit back.
They didn’t give me the cash in hand, but they did apply the $300 as a credit on my account. I didn’t have to pay an electric bill for four months. I say all this to say that, initially, my credit history was not so hot, and the electric company saw that, and evaluated me to be a high risk to them. But, after remaining in good standing with them for my first year, they removed me from being on the high risk list.
Checking your credit history, and knowing your score, will help you in many different situations, including getting your lights turned on at a new home or apartment.