16 Best Tips to Financial Fitness!

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Hey, you’re getting physically fit for summer, but are you financially fit enough for that summer getaway?  There are some minor lifestyle changes that can turn around your debt cycle and deliver their own R&R.

  1. Say goodbye to your Barista.  You may be passionate about that incredible first cup of brew, but when you’re looking for the disappearing disposable funds each month, it’s a good bet that your favorite coffee shop can tell you where it went.  Brewing your own coffee at home today is simple and saves money immediately.
  • Stop eating out.  OK, this is one of my downfalls too.  I love the ease of just going out, ordering what each of us wants, without the stress of figuring out menus and sorting through everyone’s different tastes.  But here’s the thing, cooking meals at home saves you so much money and while you’re chilling as the waiter hovers, your purse is getting the squeeze!  So, start simple and cook ahead if it makes the week easier.  Classic crockpot meals are still a great option if you want dinner waiting for you when you get home.  Or do a build-your-own-taco night and invite friends over.  It’s an easy no fuss way for a social evening without the big price tag.
  • Make a budget.  In order to stick to a budget, you need to create one.  And I cannot stress this enough, making the budget does not mean you can’t spend any money or have any fun.  Making the budget is what paves the way for fun and better spending.
  • When is the last time you visited the library?  Today, libraries allow electronic checkout and return of books and audiobooks.  Movies are also available, but may require that you actually visit the library to check out and return.   Most library memberships are free or very inexpensive, saving you dollars, so call your area library and find out what yours offers.
  • Cut the cable cord.  There are so many streaming options today.  You can go online, or subscribe to TV streaming for loads more shows for way fewer entertainment bucks.  Check it out.

But wait, there’s more…  The next few money saving tips might require a change in perspective, but remember, you are trying to save money and stress less.  Keep an open mind and read on.

  • Consider resale clothes shopping.  Not only is reusing even better than recycling, but if you are shopping for kids who are going to outgrow the outfits in a few months, is it really worth it to go into debt for their play wardrobe?  You may be able to also consign  outgrown clothing for money back.  Resale is an option for adults too.  If you love clothes, but your budget is tight, you may be able to skinny that budget down by buying resale.
  • Plan your grocery trips around your meals.  Yup, when you’re cooking at home more, you need to take a little time to figure out what you want to cook.  Make a menu to help you figure out which meals seem a good rotation for you, and then make sure you list the needed ingredients for those meals.  I’m not a chef, but I find my meals end up tasting better because I don’t have to substitute ingredients when I do this, and the grocery bill is much lower.
  • Before you checkout, whether in a store or online, look for a coupon, or coupon code and save money in the check out.  Word of caution; this does not save you money if you buy more because you have the coupon.  Stick to your spending plan no matter which kind of shopping you are doing.
  • Start walking.  Especially with the milder weather, you can cut the gym membership and walk, bike or run more.  Grab some friends, metaphorically speaking, and start a running, or biking club.  It’s free and with multiple friends, you’ll be less likely to ditch it.
  1. Cut back the expensive hobbies.  You may love to craft scrapbooks or other projects, but if the supplies are killing your budget and you don’t ever seem to finish the project, it may be time to revisit whether this hobby is worth the cost to you.
  1. Find free entertainment.  I love concerts, but can’t always afford to go.  Now, I make a game out of finding free concerts, movies in the park, or other events in my community.  Communities are getting really good at putting the events online and you can find lots of options without lifting a finger.
  1. Start a side gig or get a part time job.  If you have a knack for turning junk into art, or have another product or service you can offer, see if you can bring in extra money by selling your upcycleables.  Another option is to get a part time job like Uber, Lyft or pizza delivery.  Yes, you sacrifice time and possibly pride, but it puts extra cash in your pocket.
  1. Bury your credit cards in a very inconvenient place, or cut them up.  Debit cards offer the convenience if you don’t want to carry cash on you, but credit cards encourage spending money you don’t have.  The only way to climb out of debt is to stop spending future money.
  1. Use cash instead of plastic.  Using plastic is painless at first.  You don’t have to check your funds to use a plastic card.  But spending cash means you can feel it going out of your hands into someone else’s hands.  You will think more about your spending habits when you are only spending money you have on hand.
  1. Stop keeping up with your friends.  Did you ever stop to think that they may be spending money they don’t have to keep up with you?  You might be doing yourself and them a favor when you cut back.
  1. Clean House.  Go through your home, and pull out the items that haven’t been used in years, and probably won’t be used in years to come. Then sell those items on Facebook, QZ, Craigslist or other local listing.  Use common sense when meeting with potential buyers.  Meet outside and have a friend or adult family member with you for safety.  But sell or donate and use the tax write off.  Then enjoy your extra space and financial wiggle room.