A little more cash never hurts especially if you are young and trying to make it on your own. If you are a bit older you know that retirement won't be cheap. The following 5 steps are geared to help you take control of your finances and your future.
Learn To Say "No" To Friends
We all get invited to parties, baby showers, weddings and office parties sometimes for people we don't even know. Invitations come with an obligation of either buying a gift or a cash donation. All of these costs can add up quickly not only from invites but from the lady selling Avon and the coworker selling M&M's for his daughter's basketball team. Learn to say "No" only say "Yes" to a few of these solicitations don't feel bad about sending a thank you card with an explanation as to why you cannot attend. Saying "Yes" will only make it harder to say "No" the second time around.
Use Your Credit Card Wisely
A credit card can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Make it work for you not the other way around use a credit card strategically. Do not use it as a way to buy items you can't afford. Do not open department store credit cards, these come with the deadliest APRs known to man. Use the card to build credit to buy a home or to get approved for a loan in the future. Use it only for necessary purchases that you can pay back immediately. See the card as an investment opportunity to buy inventory for a business or to start a business, purchases that will pay for themselves and will allow you to free cash to invest elsewhere.
When it comes to buying prescription drugs and food as long as the ingredients are the same why not buy the less expensive item. Do you really need to buy the expensive cereal box or the pricey medication?
With free sites like YouTube and Hulu there is no reason why you should be paying for cable or a night at the movies. There are so many options and sites that offer free quality programming and music which can be customized any way you want. We are talking about true reality shows, from the guy next door shooting a video of himself going to the supermarket to the man on the subway falling asleep while a rat creeps up on him. You can even invite some friends to enjoy a movie all together whether you get it from Hulu, YouTube or the library it doesn't matter as long as you are all having a good time.
Don't Get Another Degree Unless It's Reimbursed
Education is a good way to secure a job but once you have gotten an undergraduate degree should you really go back to get more education? Let's consider an MBA at a top university which will run you a bit over $100k. Does it make financial sense to work full time and go to school part time for the next 2-3 yrs to get ahead in your career while increasing your debt heavily? Once you get your degree you will have to stay at your present job for about another 7 years (that's including a promotion) to pay off your new debt. What if you want to get married and buy a house during that period? Forget about it! You will be at that job for the next 10 years or more. If you love your employer this will not be a problem but think about the way the educational system is evolving, while you get your expensive degree, online classes/degrees will gain popularity (at a fraction of the cost) when you graduate they may be considered just as good. Try to get your employer to fund your career if not try to get a scholarship to cover you, otherwise think really hard about your future finances before getting more education.