There is a definite school of thought that investing is better than saving. Generally I agree with this line of thinking mainly due to the fact that you can’t outsave inflation. If you just rely on saving money for a few decades it will inevitably not be enough when you retire to keep up the lifestyle to which you are accustomed.
You will eventually need to get investing in order to make money (rather than just store the more you already have), but I also think that getting out of debt is a mentality switch – and that starts at saving. As well as following the few extra steps below.
Investing also takes education and is not something that should be entered into blindly. So if you’re not investment savvy here are just a few practical, simple steps which you can take to either get out of mounting debt, or to prevent yourself from falling into the ‘debt trap’.
* Cut Down on Extravagant Expenses
Many people are wasting their finances on unnecessary luxuries. Maybe they don’t look extravagant, because you are used to a certain lifestyle. Get rid of extra cars, boats, tv’s, furniture etc. Cut down on expensive dining or takeaway meals.
Even the smaller, simpler things which don’t seem ‘luxurious’ like lunch on the run; prepare a packed lunch at home and take it with you to work. I’ve enjoyed some of David Bach’s booksand he often talked about, what he called, “the Latte Factor” which refers to people wasting their hard-earned money everyday on “small things” (such as expensive coffee).
* Budget your Income
Make sure you are aware of where every cent of your income is going. Even if your expenses are exceeding your total income, write a budget anyway. Tackle your biggest debt first (or your most overdue) and proceed from there. KNOW where your money is going.
If you’re not good with accounting software just set up a simple spreadsheet in Excel and track your expenses. Or just write it on a piece of paper and store each month’s in a file.
Have a column for the date, the shop, the item and the cost. At the end of the month you can go through the list and identify areas where you can cut back on the spending.
* Create a plan to Get Out of Debt
As alluded to in the previous point; put together a game plan to break up your debt into more manageable sections. For e.g. Choose a Credit Card and ensure you assign a portion of your income to paying it off every month. Once it is paid off, you’ll suddenly realize how much extra money you have just freed up.
* Constantly look for ways to Expand your Income
Always be aware of opportunities to supplement your income, no matter how small the amount. There are endless options if you are open to the opportunity. Initially you can use these extra funds pay off your debt or help with current expenses. Check out these money-making ideas if you are battling to think of something on your own.
* Save Something from Every Salary
No matter how small it starts as. Just get started. Get into the habit of safely stashing an amount away every month. Even if it’s only 1%. Just do it, Pay yourself first!