Saving Money 101

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We have all heard the rags to riches story. Someone started from the bottom and worked hard day in and day out until they finally found the riches they have always dreamed of. I don’t mean millions, I simply mean stability. For the majority of us that is all we aim to achieve. For me I dream of someday seeing the same kind of success.

Unfortunately my story is more of a rags to riches to rags kind of tale. As a kid my family was definitely lower class and as I became an adult I did everything possible to make sure I didn’t have to struggle the way my parents did.

I was quite successful at maintaining a good lifestyle for nearly a decade. I had everything I wanted, didn’t need help from anyone and paid my bills easily with plenty of money left over to spend frivolously. The problem was that I was much too young and ill prepared to handle the amount of money I was bringing in.

A few years back a career change was inevitable. Like millions of people I found myself experiencing job loss that led to working for $11 an hour as a single woman. I had nothing invested or even saved for a rainy day. Ahhh….life lessons learned too late.

I downsized my life and worked my way up. Today I am in a better place, working for slightly more than $11 an hour. Still I have two jobs and average 12 hour work days with only one day off a week, but I am no longer struggling to make ends meet.

Over the last 3 years I have learned a lot about saving money. These lessons have taught me what I need to do better the 2nd time around. While my income has increased, my spending habits have not.

Now that I am making more I am able to add to my savings account and am looking into investing properly for the first time ever. Over the last few years I have taken up gardening. Finding my green thumb has helped me to save hundreds of dollars on groceries throughout the course of the year while providing me with a healthy way to release my stress. Whether you live in an apartment or have a huge back yard gardening is possible.

I also frequently do my best to save with online coupons. This is an easy way to add money to your account or just a good way to make maintaining your bills possible. I am not recommending extreme couponing. This is kind of counterproductive. To do it in a way in which most would consider excessive is a full time job on it’s own. Most of us don’t have time for that. But you should find coupons for your daily necessities along with any other purchases you may make.

My final “duh” suggestion is to be cautious with your electronics. Don’t leave anything plugged in (okay you can leave the fridge running). Turn off all lights and turn up the air or down the heat when you leave your house every day. Likewise in nice weather turn them off altogether and go with natural coolants.

You have heard all of these things before, so why aren’t you taking advantage of them? I have found that most people are too lazy to unplug everything they aren’t using. Millions of people spend countless hours a day online, but find searching for coupons to be too much work… I was there once too, but after dealing with extreme struggle it just doesn’t make sense to me anymore. Change your life regardless of your financial status and as your income increases don’t allow your spending habits to change. This is a good start on the road to financial freedom and the stress free life that comes with it.

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