This article on Yahoo lists “50 Ways to Improve Your Finances in 2012.” Some of the tips in this article were spot-on, but some of them were rather funny. Here are a few of my favorites. (All comments are mine.)
8. Live below your means.
This seems pretty obvious, but it has to be said since most people just DON’T DO IT. (We can’t say much – that’s the reason we’re in the mess we’re in.)
15. Watch television for free.
This goes with the previous one, to me. When looking to cut expenses, most people don’t want to do cut cable – or they never even consider it. Between Hulu and YouTube (not to mention over-the-air antennas) you really don’t have to miss anything by not paying for cable. (We did choose to keep our $8.65/month Netflix subscription for the kids in lieu of paying for cable every month.) I know we’ll be fine without cable while we get a handle on our finances. But it will be one of the first things we reinstate when we are out of debt.
16. Travel for free.
I don’t like this one. The article says, “ By taking advantage of credit card reward programs as well as airline mileage, Brad Wilson, 30, earned a free trip to Australia and New Zealand, valued at around $40,000. “It turns out there are a lot more opportunities than people realize,” he says. He suggests actively seeking out deals, layering them on top of each other, and staying organized.” I think these are just scams to get people to spend more on credit cards. For our family, that is not a legitimate financial solution.
17. Move in with family.
Are they serious? I would consider this a last-resort, no-other-option choice.
19. Waste less money on food.
I agree with the principle of this tip, but disagree with the application. The author writes, “To minimize that, he suggests shopping more frequently and buying less on each trip to the store, and maintaining an uncluttered fridge so you don’t forget about items that will soon expire.” I personally have found that the more often I shop, the more money I spend. I try to reduce the number of trips I take to the store. I do still have to go at least once a week for milk and bananas (we go through a lot of milk and bananas), but with only two things on my list, I can usually manage to stick to it.
We are also trying to make better use of our leftovers and not let them go to waste (literally).
21. Use less energy.
I have never seen results from this. All the normal tips (turn off lights, close doors, etc.) that fall in this category; we’ve done them all, but only see minuscule savings.
26. Stop receiving email sales alerts from your favorite retailers.
Pretty sure this is a must – when I get the email in my inbox, I often can’t help clicking on the little button…
29. Pick up a few side jobs.
Still not sure if it’s better to pick one thing and do it really well, or to do multiple things that can make money. But it’s still something to think about.
32. Get famous.
36. Pay off expensive debt.
The debt itself is a lot of money, but the “expensive” part is all the interest you end up paying…
39. Choose the best credit card for you.
Just don’t do it. Unless you have oodles of self-control and willpower at your disposal.
49. Pass on money lessons.
One “lesson” we have learned about money is to be more open with our kids about what’s going on – we don’t want them to repeat our mistakes!
There were several interesting tips in this article, but nothing really new. What did you think of these? Any tips they missed?