How To Save Money, Reduce Stress And Improve Your Marriage


Money can bring on stress. Here are ways to reduce it!

You may want to save money but overlook obvious ways to do it or refuse to look at your money behaviors altogether. Whether you're single, in a relationship, or married, money can be a stressor.

Ron Leiber of The New York Times wrote an article in 2009 stating that the odds of marriage ending in divorce due to financial issues is approximately 45 percent. Some of the reasons for this high rate were lack of financial discussions before marriage, debt coming into the marriage, conflicting styles of spending or saving, the use of budgets, and planning for the future.

If you have debt or money stress, take active steps to save more now. It is easier than you think if you keep an open mind, break destructive habits, and resist doing what everyone else does.

Here are 20 ways to save money this year:

  1. Don't use credit cards. Cut up the ones you have and only use cash.
  2. Downsize your home. Cut out extra space that you never use.
  3. Rent out a room in your house. If you cannot move, find a renter.
  4. Eliminate your yard. Go to the park instead.
  5. Buy used cars. Used cars tend to be a better value than new cars.
  6. Use your local library. Avoid buying books or renting videos.
  7. Stop using a dry cleaner. Buy clothes you can launder and press yourself.
  8. Polish your shoes. Avoid buying new shoes if your old ones can be polished.
  9. Have your bills on auto-pay or pay electronically. Avoid using stamps.
  10. Limit lattes. Make lattes a special, occasional treat and not an every day event.
  11. Drink water. Limit or eliminate soda or alcohol.
  12. Skip dessert. Save sweets for special occasions.
  13. Stop overeating. Reduce food quantity, split restaurant meals or take home leftovers for a meal the next day.
  14. Stop buying more stuff. Avoid accumulating things you don't really need.
  15. Avoid wandering stores or malls. Focus on what you must have and go in and out of stores quickly.
  16. Sell your junk. Find something to sell from your home every month or have a garage sale.
  17. Scrutinize your bills. Look at utility, phone, insurance and other bills and assess if you really need as many services and call to ask for discounts or reductions.
  18. Stay married. Invest in your relationship because divorce is expensive.
  19. Practice prevention. Take care of your teeth and body, health, car and home.
  20. Simplify your life. Do less and relax more thereby reducing expenses and stress, which helps everything.

If you find yourself saying that you could not possibly do some of these suggestions, you may be addicted to a substance, lifestyle or pattern. If you're debt free and saving money consistently, then enjoy your indulgences. If not, choose an area to improve and save. You can do this!

If you have never considered how much you spend on certain things such as lattes, then create a spreadsheet that tracks your spending. It can also be helpful to record every purchase you make for an entire month and then decide a budget. Ideally, you want to gradually cut back so that you can sustain the new changes.  Also it helps you see how much your spending on certain indulgences that you don't necessarily need.

If you have a spouse or family, ask everyone to discuss and participate in money matters. As a couple, avoidance of conversation around money only hides or amplifies problems. By bringing your kids into discussion and planning, you may be surprised how ingenious children can be if they're included in the family savings plan. You will also set children up for greater future in financial success if you educate and model good money habits now.

Remember to avoid living by emotions and emotional spending. Live your life by design and with a plan. Seek professional guidance from a financial planner or debt reduction support group. Changing detrimental spending habits and creating a successful savings plan is possible. Once you shift your thoughts from mindless spending to conscientious spending and careful savings, you will find renewed energy, liberation, freedom which often leads to better health and closer relationships.

And finally, remember what Jim Rohn says, “The philosophy of the rich versus the poor is this: The rich invest their money and spend what is left; the poor spend their money and invest what is left.” The choice is yours. Take one action step today to move in a better financial direction.

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