It’s a new year. If you’re like most people, you’ve made resolutions on becoming a better you. You might have said that you are going to refrain from making so many negative comments about others. Or that you want to exercise more and eat less. Or perhaps you plan to spend less money and save more.
The latter resolution is definitely a good one to make. But how do you keep it? It is the aim of this article to give you some practical, everyday ideas about how to make simple changes to accomplish this goal, in practical areas of your life.
For example, let’s start with your energy bill. Did you know that by turning your lights off when you’re not using them, or keeping your thermostat below 70 during the day when you are not home, you will begin to see your monthly energy bill go down? Also, be aware that there are programs that can protect you should you ever become so strapped for cash that you can’t pay your heat and electric bills on time. One of them is the Shutoff Protection Plan. For more information, call Consumers Energy at 1-800-477-5050.
Another area in which you can save money is on rent. Indeed, landlords rejoice every month when a tenant pays their rent slightly late. They get extra money from you, the tenant—through late fees. While five or six extra dollars might not seem like a whole lot of extra money, if you make sure your rent is paid on time—or better yet, early—you begin to save that five or six extra dollars to put towards next month’s rent. Moreover, if at all possible—pay about $30 or $40 extra (or more) some months, so that you have a credit towards next month’s rent!
Yet another way you can keep money from going out the window is to cut back on eating out. Now again, the $5.00 you spend at McDonald’s may not seem like a heck of a lot of money, but it adds up. Instead, buy groceries that you can cook and eat at home.
Another area of life in which we waste money is entertainment. Is it really important that you spend the $10-$25 it takes to see the latest version of “Star Wars?” Know that in a few months it will be out on DVD, Hulu or Netflix, and you can view it at your leisure.
And while we are on the subject—let’s talk about your cable bill. My wife and I had cable for many, many years. In 2015 we decided to stop paying a bill that topped out at nearly $150 every month. Why spend that kind of money, we thought, when we could get all those programs on Hulu for about $8 a month? Also, I will let you in on a little secret: TBN allows access to Christian TV for free. Invest time in something that will feed your spirit and not your flesh. Yes, I could probably name you a favorite episode of “The Good Wife,” or of “Once Upon a Time”—but does that type of programming feed the spiritual hunger that should lie deep within a child of God—that hunger to get to know the Father more? Feed your spirit man or woman. And just think—you can do it for free! And if that doesn't convince you, remember that all major sporting events (the Super Bowl, the World Series, The NBA finals) are broadcast for FREE. All you need is a TV and bunny ears, and you won't miss a thing.
And those of you who love to buy the latest CD. Did you know that YouTube allows you to listen to those albums in full, free of charge? Remember that next time Mary Mary or Tasha Cobbs releases an album. The thing about buying whole CDs is that you are also buying songs you don’t like just to hear one that you do like. In the 2010s you no longer have to do that. I’m just sayin’…
And I will give you something else to think about. The next time this winter it’s an unusually warm 45 degrees out—if the place you want to go is just down the street, don’t get into your car and drive there. If you possibly can—bike there. Same goes for your job—if it’s relatively close by your house, go by bike. That way, you save gas money for when you will really need it.
So these were tips that I hope will offer you a few ideas of how to go on a permanent fast from money wasters. The fruit of developing these new habits to replace the old bad habits of 2015 and before may not manifest right away—but over a period of time—you will find that you have more money.