1. Prioritize long-term goals. Saving for retirement should come before setting aside money for children’s college costs.
2. Get on the same page with your significant other. Going over the bills and budget together can end squabbles about money.
3. Be patient. Save until you have cash for that car, home theater system, vacation or the like.
4. Balance your checking account. This helps you start, monitor and stick with a budget.
5. Keep savings and checking accounts at separate banks. If you don’t see your savings when you log into your more frequently accessed checking account, you won’t be as tempted to tap that money.
6. Issue yourself an envelope filled with your monthly fun money. Once that cash is gone, wait until the next month for the next “fun” expenditures.
7. Have an emergency fund. This is your parachute in case a job loss occurs or a huge expense pops up. (You should also build a fund for smaller irregular expenses like medical prescription costs or appliance repairs.)
8. Communicate with your lender or banker. As you set up a plan to pay off debt, questions may arise. Credit card companies and banks often will agree to better terms or cut fees if asked.
9. Embrace the power of cash. Paying with paper gives you leverage to negotiate discounts, and your natural reluctance to give up cash can curb frivolous purchases.