Saturday, August 02, 2008

6 Financial Makeover Tips: Ideas for Making Sacrifices

These frugal living tips from Citibank actually make sense. My favorite is #6 (Creating Financial Sacrifices.)

"Personal finance author, director of Citi’s Office of Financial Education and money makeover expert, DARA DUGUAY offers these “Commonsense Considerations”* to begin tackling today’s financial emergencies:

1. Get a picture of your finances. The only way to do this is by creating a budget to see what money comes in and what money goes out.

2. Determine your monthly “fixed” and “variable” expenses. Now that you have a budget, it’ll be easier to see where you can save. When looking for ways to cut your expenses, start with your variable expenses first. You have more control over your grocery bill, your clothing allowance than over your mortgage, rent or car payment. But don’t overlook opportunities to lower your fixed expenses either. Minor reductions in everyday expenditures can make a big difference.

3. Don’t let your financial state send you into ‘Panic Mode.’ Stay calm and focused. An anxious state doesn’t help you plan or act rationally, especially during an emergency.

4. Pay down high-interest debt. You are much better off concentrating the majority of your money on paying down debt first, while still adding a lesser amount toward your savings.

5. Set up an “Emergency Fund.” Be realistic about what constitutes an “emergency.” Emergency savings will provide you with a safety net so that an unexpected life curveball won’t catapult you into a financial crisis. Look at it as a form of insurance. Evaluate what a true emergency is, i.e. having a car that won’t start is probably an emergency, but having a car that’s not this year’s model is not.

6. Make a “savings sacrifice.” Forgo the full-service car wash or play on the public tennis courts instead of joining a racquet club. When it comes to saving money, every little bit counts. These little savings can add up over the course of a month. For example:


Dining in vs. Dining out

Jogging outdoors vs. Gym

Public Tennis Courts vs. Racquet Club

Machine Washable vs. Dry Clean

Packed Lunch vs. Buying Lunch

Public Transit vs. Cab/Parking Fees/Gas

$ 980


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