Lynne Eliopoulos
ERA Key Realty Services | 508-832-1032 | [email protected]


Posted by Lynne Eliopoulos on 3/18/2018

Motivating yourself to be more frugal and manage your money more effectively can be very challenging!

One strategy that may help is to focus on multiple benefits, rather that just the most obvious or immediate one. A prime example is using your car less often. Although the price of gasoline isn't as steep as it used to be, daily use of your automobile could easily result in less money in your pocket (or bank account) at the end of the month. While many of us are in the habit of jumping in our car every time we need to pick up a few odds and ends at the corner drugstore or neighborhood supermarket, you'll invariably save money --and often enjoy other benefits-- if you consider alternatives to automobile use.

  1. Walk instead of drive. If you're fortunate enough to live relatively close to stores that you frequent, you could save money on gas and automobile maintenance by putting on your walking shoes more often and hoofing it. As a secondary benefit, you'd also be getting exercise, burning calories, getting fresh air, and taking in some essential vitamin D from the sun. By taking steps to maintain your health, you'll also have more energy, be more productive, and tend to miss fewer days of work. Not everyone lives close enough to local stores to be able to walk there on a regular basis (or at all), but for those who do, there are many advantages.
  2. Carpool to work. This option doesn't occur to everyone because, among other things, we're creatures of habit. We get in the well-worn habit of driving back and forth to work by ourselves, every day, and we don't stop to think that there is a money-saving alternative. When you share the cost and responsibility of driving, you're literally cutting your commuting expenses in half. You're also getting a break from the stress and tedium of commuting in rush-hour traffic. Having someone to talk to during the drive can also make the trip go by much faster -- assuming you enjoy the company of your carpooling companion(s)!
  3. Public transportation may be a viable alternative. If you happen to live and work in an urban environment, you may already be availing yourself of the benefits of public transportation. In addition to saving money on gas and avoiding driving-related stress, there's the added benefit of being able to read a book, listen to relaxing music, or prepare for a presentation on your way in.
  4. Telecommute whenever possible. More and more employers are helping themselves and their employees save money by offering work-from-home options. If you have the opportunity to telecommute a couple days a week, the savings in gas, wear-and-tear on your car, and the cost of lunches out can add up quickly!

If it looks like you're filling up your gas tank every time you turn around, not to mention burning through your paycheck too fast, then finding ways to reduce gas consumption may be one way to stretch your dollar farther.





Posted by Lynne Eliopoulos on 12/17/2017

If it always seems like your money disappears as fast as you earn it, you're not alone. All too many people live from paycheck to paycheck -- even when their income is well above average.

Why is this condition so widespread? Well, the reasons are as varied as people's spending habits, lifestyles, and financial obligations, but there is one factor that is often overlooked: self-defeating attitudes toward money. Here are a few examples you may be able to relate to:

  • "I don't have the time or patience to compare prices." The truth of the matter is that it doesn't really take that much time to do a few quick price comparisons when you're in the supermarket, department store, or on the Web. During the course of a typical week, you probably make dozens of spending decisions, many of them almost unconsciously. By simply increasing your awareness of how much you're spending and what the alternatives are (if any), you can often save hundreds of dollars a month.
  • "People who use coupons are penny pinchers." Although the term "penny pincher" is frequently used to describe someone who's stingy or overly careful with their spending habits, some people consider it a badge of pride to be frugal and careful with their money. It's all a matter of perspective. There are numerous blogs, small businesses, and newspapers that have no reluctance about including the words "penny pincher" in their name While few people want to be thought of as cheap or stingy, frugality has different connotations. It's associated with being economical and thrifty.
  • "I don't want people to think I'm cheap." This can be a tough self-defeating thought to overcome because it's often so deep rooted. However, if you're a compulsively high tipper or often feel obligated to pick up the check at restaurants (rather than splitting it with your fellow diners), this could be a contributing cause of your budgetary problems. Generosity is a wonderful thing, as long as it's not based on a desire to be liked, accepted, or approved of by other people. As a side note, concerns about being perceived as "cheap" is one reason some people don't take a closer look at their retail receipts, restaurant bills, and other invoices. Remember this: There's nothing cheap about being unwilling to pay extra for cashier or restaurant staff mistakes -- which are more common that you might think -- and unauthorized or redundant fees on bills.
Another factor which contributes to tight household budgets is not having a budget at all. If you don't take the time to identify your expenses and deduct them from your monthly income, then it's next-to-impossible to gain control of your finances. While there's no panacea for spending beyond your means -- and some people clearly need professional advice and help in dealing with financial management and debt problems -- sometimes a few simple attitude shifts can make the difference between scarcity and surplus in your life.




Categories: budgeting