3 Strategies To Lower Your Cost Of Living and Beat Inflation Without Sacrificing Your Lifestyle
Is it costing you more to buy food, gas, and other staples today? If you answer yes, you're not alone. Finding ways to lower your cost of living is the one of the most Googled topics from the past 12 months. Here are three simple strategies to help you save money and lower your cost of living without sacrificing your lifestyle.
Know Where Your Money Goes
Often, when I start the budget conversation, I see a deer in the headlights look of angst on my client's face. For so many folks (especially women) the word brings up a lot of bad feelings around money. Lack, feeling constrained, and restricted are some of the responses I get when I ask my clients about their budgeting habits. So, here's a bit of good news. A budget is simply a tool to help provide a framework to understand how much you earn (and take home), spend, and save. That's it. No blame, shame, or judgement.
As Yogi Berra once said "if you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there". So think of a budget (or cash flow calculator) as your money roadmap, designed to help you get to financial freedom.
Reduce Everyday Expenses
Once you have a good understanding of your cash flow, look for ways to save money without making lifestyle changes. For example, review what you're paying for credit, and see if you can get better rates. If you tend to carry a balance, look at your credit card interest rates and fees. Call your credit card vendors and ask if they have a better offer. Do the same with your auto loan vendor, and any other debt you're carrying. If they're not willing to lower your interest rate, search for better deals. And while you're at it, take a look at other recurring expenses, like your cable/internet service (my nemesis), and cell phone plans for example. They are notorious for slowly increasing their rates once your introductory "teaser" rate expires. Reviewing your plan and negotiating a better deal will reduce your monthly expenses and lower your cost of living without sacrificing your lifestyle.
Avoid the trap of rolling credit card and auto loan debt into a mortgage. The temporary improvement in cash flow might be tempting. It's important to remember you will be extending that debt for the life of your mortgage. Do you really want to take 30 years to pay for your car, or dinner out from last month? Reducing the cost of debt will help you lower your cost of living without sacrificing your lifestyle.
Review Your Autopay Charges
Beware of the autopay trap! I've made a habit of reviewing my credit card, Paypal, and ACH statements on at least a quarterly basis, looking for recurring autopay charges from free trials. When I performed the account audit on my personal and business accounts, I discovered over $300.00 in charges that I forgot about, and wasn't using the service! Now, $300 might not sound like a lot (for example), but if I neglected to catch these charges, that would amount to $3,600 after 12 months! Can you see how this would add up quickly if I didn't pay attention?
Checking in on a regular basis, and paying attention to your money outflows doesn't make you miserly, or put you into financial lack mentality. Staying on top of your cash flow makes you a savvy money manager. As you plug up the leaks in your wallet, you will gain confidence in your money decisions. Positive habits lead to positive outcomes like learning to lower your cost of living without sacrificing your lifestyle.
Do you want to learn more money saving tips? Then check out my online masterclass - "Save Money Without Sacrifice" by clicking here. Use the coupon code SAVE and get access to it for free!
Take the class, take action, and connect with me if you found it useful or have any questions.