Like many Americans, I am still a bit apprehensive about the future of the economy. Certainly there are reasons for optimism. I have a job, and I am able to meet my financial obligations. Overall, I try to be thankful for that every day. Still, there are reasons for concern, including the ebbs and flows of the finance market and the looming cost of health care in the future. Therefore, I am managing my money a bit more carefully. Apparently, I am not alone as many Americans are also watching their cash.
Sticking to a budget
My methodologies these days are not revolutionary, but I do try to follow them more diligently and I try to use the technological tools that are available to me. Specifically, I am sticking closer to a household budget. Each week, I use apps on my smartphone or tablet to check balances in various categories. This type of budgeting does not stop certain costs, but it certainly helps with anticipation and planning. I am not to the point where I am scrutinizing every single purchase, but I find that monitoring spending categories helps certain line items get out of control.
The challenge is avoiding purchases. We don't do a lot of big spending in our household, but some purchase are difficult to minimize. Gas continues to be very expensive. There is the cost of insurance, household good and groceries. Then there are the expenses that I know are not necessary, even if Americans have forgotten they are luxuries. These include eating out or consumer goods that are not necesarily pressing. It is difficult to put yourself in the mindset of the past, but increasingly I try to think back to prior times when society was not filled with stores that provided easy access to all types of merchandise. Rather than buying something new, I am exercising more patience, attempting to conserve and repairing broken products around the house.
Caution, not panic
Again, this is not about panicking. Call it financial vigilance. I am not becoming a cheapskate or a miser, but I am trying to be more frugal in certain situations. As the oft-used phrase goes, every little bit helps. I know the American capitalistic system says that I am supposed to spend my hard-earned cash and "stimulate" the economy every chance that I get. However, I think we could all live a little more simply and spend less money on things that we really don't need.
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More from this contributor:
- Personal Budgeting
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