It's time to make adjustments to your daily spending.
Alan Greenspan, the former Federal Reserve chairman, said last weekend on
ABC This Week
that this is the worst economy he has ever seen and the decline "still has a way to go." Things will get worse before they get better, so make adjustments to your finances.
When it comes to saving money and getting your personal finances inorder, it's often little changes that can add upto big savings. (However, you can also save a lot of
quickly the hard way.
Here are some simple daily changes that you can make right now:
Get up an hour earlier
Many costs you incur on a dailybasis stem from
. If you are rushing out the door, you're going to end up forgetting something that will cost you. Rising earlier in themorning will mean you have enough time to do everything thatneeds to be done properly.
Once you get up in the morning, you head to the bathroom toget ready for the day. You likely use a lot of health-care products such as toothpaste, mouthwash, soap, shampoo, conditioner and deodorant, to name just a few. Chances are youuse a lot more than you really need to. Commercials encourage consumption because companies make more money if you buy another bottle, tube orcontainer of their product. Try using half(or less) and find the least amount that still gets the jobdone. If you pay half as much for all your products, you will save several hundreddollars a year at a minimum.
Time your shower
As the weather gets colder, it can be tempting totake longer showers to get warm. Set a timer just outside the shower to go off after 10 minutes. That saves energy and water.
Make your own breakfast
One of the reasons you should get up earlier is to make your own breakfast.Eating a healthy meal at home before you take off to work will bebetter for your energy level and stamina for the day and cost you alot less than picking something up. Another alternative is to bring fruit and a breakfast bar with you, which willstill be faster than buying something on the way to work, but also healthier and cheaper.
Brew your own coffee
Skip the Starbucks and make your own coffee athome. If you don't like to do a lot of things in themorning, it can be a wise investment to purchase a coffee maker withan automatic timer. You can set it the night before when you go to bedand enjoy your coffee as soon as you get up. Make extraand pour it into a thermos for work.
Turn off phantoms
One big energy drain many people still don'trealize they pay for is phantom electricity. Most electronics useenergy even when they are turned off so that the clock on the devicestill tells time and it can instantly turn on when you use the remote.Purchase power strips, plug all your appliances intothem and switch them off when you leave the house for work. This willkeep these appliances from costing you money when you aren't at home.
Change your commute
There are a number of ways you can savemoney on your
to work. No matter what type of gas mileage your vehicle gets, you can save money by leaving earlier to miss rush-hour traffic and even improve
. Work with your boss on when you can leave so you can also miss rush hour going home.
Keep a snack stash
If you frequent the vending machine at work, keep a snack stashin your desk. This will allow you to have healthier snacks and drinks. But you can also bring into work the same junk food that's in the vending machines and save money.
Prepare your own meals
While it may be tempting to eat out for lunchor pick up something on the way home from work,cooking your own meals at home will trim your food costs by asignificant amount. Make sure to cook extra so you can take theleftovers to work the next day, meaning you won't haveto prepare something in the morning. If you don't have enoughleftovers for lunch, make your lunch in the evening.
Jeffrey Strain has been a freelance personal finance writer for the past 10 years helping people save money and get their finances in order. He currently owns and runs SavingAdvice.com.