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With the economy and the stock market acting wilder than a category 5 hurricane, many of us are feeling the pinch in our pocketbooks. We’ve been talking about ways to save money when you eat out, so you enjoy life a bit. Now let’s see if you can find ways to enjoy feeling flush with cash.

Does it seem possible?

Here are ten fabulous ways to build up your finances:

No BLT’s.

Weight Watchers has a saying, no “BLTs” — and they don’t mean bacon, lettuce and tomato. BLT stands for “bites, licks, and tastes.” If you are having trouble saving, you need to check to see what kind of BLT’s are lurking in your budget. Write down everything you spend money on for one month. At the end of the month take out a yellow highlighter and highlight everything that brought you great joy. Now look at what’s left. Chances are you’ll find something you can easily cut back on that doesn’t reduce your joy — for instance, drinks out with people you don’t even like, or subscriptions to magazines or newspapers you don’t read.

Ask yourself “How badly do I want it?”

Millions of Americans lack a tool to help them when those hot shoes or cool new earrings jump of the shelf and yell “Buy me now!” Here’s what you do. Step 1: Calculate your after-tax income. If you make $40,000 a year and have a 25 percent effective tax rate, you take home $30,000 a year. Assuming you work 2,000 hours a year, that’s an after-tax hourly income of $15. Step 2: The next time you see a $150 “whatever” that you just have to get, ask yourself, “How badly do I want it? Then figure how many hours you have to work to pay for it. Is that $150 item really worth 10 hours slogging away at the office?

Make saving a family project

Parents often find it easier to talk to their kids about the bird and the bees than about money. It’s never too early to start teaching your children about the value of a dollar. So if you’ve decided you have $100 for groceries or $100 for the weekend’s entertainment, make it a family project to decide how that money will be spent. You’ll be amazed how your kids will get into this if it’s presented as figuring out how to maximize your happiness. You’ll be teaching your kids a great life skill.

Sell your stuff

Most of us have way more things than we need. By weeding out your clutter and selling it online at E-bay or Craigslist — or at a local resale shop or garage sale — you’ll make money, and reduce the mental clutter and stress that comes with too much stuff. You’ll be amazed. Many people end up feeling like they have more when they clear out the clutter!

Watch out for the Joneses

If you’ve ever wondered how your friends and neighbors can do all that they are doing — the house, the car, the vacations, etc. the odds are very high that… they can’t. More than 70 percent of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck, and that cuts across all income levels. I’ve met people who can save on incomes of $30,000 a year, and people who don’t have a penny in savings on salaries of $300,000 a year. The harsh truth is that most Americans don’t live within their means.

Get a second job

There are two ways to put more money into your purse — spend less and earn more! While it may not sound like the most fun way to utilize your free time, especially if you have children, it can have an incredibly powerful effect during tight times. A second job doesn’t have to be outside the house. You can do extra work at home when the children are asleep. That may mean watching less “American Idol,” but the extra money will make a big difference. Dedicate the second job to paying down a high-interest credit card.

Stop with the expensive gifts

We’ve gotten caught up in a gigantic game of gift giving. If you want to keep money in your billfold, see if this is an area where you can cut back. Do you and your sister really need to exchange gifts on your birthdays and at Christmas? Why not give each other the gift of time: a promise that you will take a walk or ride your bikes together. On a similar note, don’t feel you have to treat anyone to dinner, or to the movies. You’ve got to take care of yourself first. You’ll treat when you are rich.

Use those coupons

Most of us are so busy that the thought of clipping coupons might make us go postal. But think of coupons as actual dollar bills that were folded between the pages of the newspaper. If you use coupons to buy thing you were already planning on getting, that’s pretty much what they are. Here again, it can be a family project. Spread out all those circulars and see if the children can find coupons for things they know the family likes.

Cancel unused memberships and subscriptions

Are there any magazines, book or CDs of the month clubs, Netflicks, organizations, or gym or club memberships that you are paying for but not using? Cutting them out of your budget is a quick way to earn cash — in a way that’s pain free. You probably just feel guilty if you’re paying and not using it.

Walk to the store whenever possible

You’ll be forced to buy less, because you’ve got to carry it all home with you. And your health will improve over time with the increased exercise.

 

Related Content:

For more tips on ways to save money, click here 10 Ways To Turn Off Financial Leaks

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