For those who experience high anxiety about shopping for a pre-owned car, here are some tips that will make the process less of an ordeal.
During those times I found that was the most important time for me to find what was going to keep me motivated to continue towards my ultimate goal, to be debt free.
I wrote before in my post titled "This is HARD!" about how the excitement and pride over finally taking charge of our debt started to fade once the drudgery of actually doing something about our debt had begun.
I was scared of where my family was headed if we didn't do something. At the same time, I was petrified of what would happen if we enrolled in a debt consolidation program I had never heard of, with a company I had also never heard of. I was doubtful that we had the communication skills or the self-discipline to drastically alter our lives to make a huge payment each month to our program and still handle our day-to-day finances successfully.
Whether it's taking advantage of online coupons or cutting coupons from the Sunday newspapers, canceling magazine subscriptions, buying in bulk, growing your own fruits and vegetables, buying clothes at consignment or thrift stores, or conserving energy costs, there are still many more ways to stretch your dollar.
You may be surprised how much money you can save on your grocery bill by planning out your menu ahead of time. From the gas money it takes to run to the store multiple times during the week, to being able to plan your menu based on what is on sale that week, the savings can be substantial.
But when it comes to making resolutions any time of year, I believe one of the best resolutions you can make is the one to finally get out of debt.
You want to get the best value for your money, and that means evaluating your options, and making sure that you really want to go through with the expense.
You're in debt. It seems reasonable enough that you want to be out of debt. But truly, is being debt-free the end game? Or is it a stepping stone to something you really do want out of life?
I was not affected by widespread layoffs by my employer a few months ago but unfortunately, many remaining employees including myself were the targets of a week long furlough for which I will be paid only a portion of my salary.
That caused me to wonder just what is my money is worth?
I've counseled a lot of people during the last few years who have taken classes, read books, and made budget after budget in their quest to make sense out of their financial situation. But after a short time, they've gone back to their old habits of spending more than they make and piling on the debt.
Let's talk for a minute about our day to day entertainment, those free hours after work or on weekends when we should put work on the back burner and enjoy our family, friends, and home.
We are so broke
When we complete our debt management plan we'll have a significant increase in money available each month ($2489 extra to be exact). Surely we'd be able to afford a car payment, right? That may be true, but one of the things I've learned while traveling the debt management program highway is to value every dollar, and financing a vehicle is just throwing money away.
My goal was to identify wasted money that could be rechanneled into savings rather than released back into the somewhat fickle waters of the checking account.
Have you ever had a gift certificate you were able to make money on?
But that savings account will actually bring on a new set of problems that you probably haven't had to deal with before.
That being said, we do not choose to sit around in an empty room! We do choose to have a great time together in super cheap ways because we are totally broke!
Naturally the goal is to try to spend as little as possible, so maybe we find some things on sale, or maybe I turn that body wash container up side down, or push every ounce of toothpaste towards the end of the tube to make it last a little longer.
Living on a fixed income as a retiree AND being enrolled in debt consolidation have made me very creative when tackling expensive activities. Here are some very simple money saving ideas that I continually use when traveling and am amazed at how they seem to stretch my money.
One of the common threads I've discovered when talking to people about changing their financial habits is that many times the already know what they need to do in order to change, but they're just not doing it.
But just because I'm not a coupon clipper it doesn't mean that I'm not interested in getting the best value for my dollar at the grocery store, though. While I don't penny-pinch the way I did when husband and I were both in school, I still try to be conscious of the grocery bill.
Today's experiment isn't about consuming; it's about saving. We'll compare two different saving strategies - you'll try each for one to two months - and you can employ the one that works best for you in the end.
It's even more fun to go with a group of people, so we normally pair a trip to the comedy club with hanging out with our friends on the deck at home before and/or after the show.
In addition to the blogs, be sure to check out the new CareOne Groups:
Are you finally out on your own and figuring out how to balance your finances? If so, this is the group for you. In Starting Out, you can talk about the challenges you are dealing with in a group of like-minded people.
Do you feel like you are finally understanding what being a "grown-up" is all about and are settling into your adult life? If so, this is the group for you. In Settling In you can connect with others who are just like you.
Struggling to balance all that an established lifestyle has to offer? The balancing it all group is for you. Discuss the challenges you face when your responsibilities at work, at home and with family and friends all compete for your attention.
Are you currently retired or planning on retiring very soon? If so, this is the group for you. Times have changed and so has retirement. Learn how others are redefining retirement.