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6 Tips for Keeping Your Cash

Guest Post by Carla Boedecker.

Here are six very simple tips to help those hard-earned dollars go farther! Read on and you’ll be on the road to saving some extra money every month!

1. Quick Food - Not Fast Food
The average American would be amazed by the amount of their paycheck spent on fast food. With minimal foresight, you can keep this money in your pocket! Simply plan ahead! If you know you’re going to be pressed for time in the morning, take ten minutes the night before and boil and peal a couple of hard-boiled eggs. The protein will keep your hunger satisfied and you’re literally spending pennies on the dollar compared to a breakfast "value" meal at a drive-thru.

2. Stick to a List
When you go shopping, HAVE A LIST. I can't stress this enough. Have a list and do not deviate from it. When you hit the grocery store, know what you’re there for. If you commit to a list, you'll safe-guard yourself from impulse buys. Everyone has heard to not shop hungry, and this is to help you resist impulse-buying. Why such a passion for resisting impulse-buying? Because impulse-buying leaves you with something you didn't really need and less money for things you actually need.

3. Know Your Bills
Billing errors are not uncommon and they can cost you big. Whether it’s utilities, your credit card, or your cell phone, know what your bill should be. If the average temperature is the same as last month and your electricity bill was $50 more expensive, ask questions! A minor error in the meter or per unit price means money waisted. Cell phone companies are some of the most frequent perpetrators of billing errors. If your cell phone bill increases, go over it with a fine tooth comb. Failures to give you correct "free" calls (free after 6pm, free in-network calling, etc.) can cost you a bundle.

4. Pay the Principal
If you pay the minimum monthly payment on high interest loans and credit cards, you’re throwing money away. By paying 25% more than your minimum, not only will you be debt-free faster, but on something like a thirty year mortgage you'll save yourself thousands in interest. An added benefit is every four billing cycles you will be one month ahead, giving you a security blanket in the event of an emergency.

5. Just Ask!
In the current economy, many lenders and credit card companies are willing to work with you. Make contact with your credit card companies and ask! Ask if they can reduce your interest rate, ask if they will reduce your pay-off for an early or increased payment. You may be surprised by the amount they are willing to work with you. If you contact them and receive nothing, you’re out nothing. But nothing ventured equals nothing gained.

6. PAY CASH!!!
I've saved the most important for last: pay cash. It sounds pretty simple, right? We've become so "instant gratification" driven that we lose sight of the whole situation when shopping for big ticket items (cars, electronics and appliances). The stores are all too willing to satisfy this urge, "instant credit, 90 days same as cash, no payments for a year." More often then not, you'll pay more in the end. The biggest downfall of your fiscal health can be over-extending. By paying cash, you minimize outstanding debt and if a crisis hits, you won't find yourself overwhelmed.

Carla Boedecker enjoys giving personal finance advice and writes for


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