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This is the time to start saving money and spending less. It is hard stretching the income just to meet the bills. Managing money after a divorce is a big job. Here are a few things that will help, and most are really pretty easy to stick to.
1. Create a Budget
Identify all your monthly bills and pay them as the paycheck arrives. If your bank/credit union has a bill paying system use it. This is a very good tool to help keep you organized and pay all your bills on time to avoid any late fees.
2. Spend NO Money Day
One day a week do not spend any money. Enjoy your family and friends by having a picnic, going for a walk, playing games… Stay away from all places that tempt you to spend money. Accomplishing this is easier if it is a day when you do not have to work. Just remember each week to pick one day.
3. Use the Matching Retirement Contribution
If your company has a matching retirement plan INVEST! This is free money don’t throw it away. It might be hard to come up with the money, but you are getting 100% return on your investment. If the money is taken out of your check before you get it, you won’t even notice after a couple weeks.
4. Start Showing RESPECT for Your Money
Keep your wallet, purse and pockets clean. Everything has its place in your wallet or purse. Know how much money you have, which credit cards and any coupons. Coupons have a cash value and chances of using it are more likely if you know they are there. Weekly take everything out and make sure the coupons are current and file any receipts you may have collected.
5. Do Inexpensive Activities with the Kids
Purchase family memberships to the Zoo, Museum or any other place you see family yearly memberships offered. These memberships are nice usually there are unlimited visits and private members’ only events. The kids will feel special knowing they are part of the members’ only event. Other activities like going to the movie, taking a hike, bike riding, board games, fishing and camping are all fun activities that also create good memories.
6. Start a Savings Account
Start by saving 5% percent of each paycheck. If your check is automatically deposited in your bank, have the money transferred when the deposit is made. The bank will want a set amount rather than a percent. Figure out an average amount and tell them to transfer that amount. Once again, if the money is gone before the deposit to the checking account, the amount is usually not noticed. Once you are comfortable with this amount try to boost it up to 10%.
7. Reduce the Energy Bill
Turn off the lights, computer, television when you are not at home. Unplug items that use power when you do not have them in use. Change your furnace filter monthly. The filters are cheap, but if they are not clean the cost to heat or cool your home goes up drastically. Buy a programmable thermostat. Changing the temperature a few degrees when you are not home will save quite a bit of money. Fix all leaky faucets and toilets. Many energy providers will come to your home and do energy report. If one is offered in your area call and have them come give you more tips and advice.
8. Donate to Charity
Even if you can only give $5 a paycheck giving to something you believe in helps you appreciate your money even more. Not only will you see the impact of your donation; it helps you feel more a part of the community. Keep a box in your home and place items to donate to charity. Make sure to keep a notebook with a pen next to the box. Every time something is put in write it down. Try to take in a donation monthly and when you drop it off get a receipt. Both of these types of donations can be taken off your taxes as long as you have the proper records.
9. Drive Less
Walk or bike when you can. Gas prices keep going up along with the fees to park your car, and tolls. There are also many health benefits to walking or riding a bike. If there is public transit or carpooling in your area use it as much as possible.
10. Share with a Friend
Find someone with similar goals and financial situation then share. This will help keep both of you on track to achieve your goals. Plus having someone to share it with can bring more ideas and make saving fun.
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