When you are living paycheck to paycheck, money matters can be a stressful part of your life. However, there are always actions you can take to improve your situation for the better.

Whether you are stuck in the last month of your student loan deferment, living off ramen noodles thanks to the stock market crash, or just trying to put a dent in your massive credit card bills, savvy penny-pinching can change your financial status and save you a bundle. Here are five clever tips that will help you stretch your dollar.

Make Every Dollar Count

Chances are you are paying for cable television but not watching it most of the time. Or perhaps you are paying to purchase brand-name products even though no one can tell the difference. The truth is, much of what we spend money on is superfluous nonsense that does little more than fill our homes with clutter and create headaches when we try to purge it.

Take a hard look at all of your monthly expenditures. It may be time to rethink the purchase of your handbag or your hand-me-down car. After all, you can’t afford to spend on things you don’t need.

Pay Off Your Debts

Even if you work two jobs to cover the bills, debts can still hang over you like a dark cloud. It is easy to accumulate more debt in your life when you are in a hurry, but when you take time to think about your spending habits, it is not hard to tell where there are holes in your financial picture.

If your loans are preventing you from purchasing necessities, then the answer is obvious. Your top priority should be to eliminate all of your old debts, so you can have more money to live on every month.

Never forget that paying off big-ticket items like mortgages, credit cards, and student loans not only benefits you financially but also gives you peace of mind.

Stop Using Credit Cards

Credit cards are conveniences we often take for granted, but they can also be dangerous pitfalls. The catch is, if you aren’t careful, you will find yourself with a bill so high that it is impossible to pay it off in full each month.

Start using cash or debit cards for all your purchases, and keep your credit cards at home. It will prevent you from being tempted to use them when you have no cash in your pocket. Use them when there is no way around it because otherwise, you will fall into the same trap many people find themselves in – buying things they don’t need on credit and never paying the balance off.

Take Advantage of Freebies in Your Town

If you want to have a good time without spending money, check out the freebies in your area. There are numerous festivals and activities going on right now that don’t require a cent. Concerts in the park, fireworks displays to celebrate birthdays and holidays, and all manner of entertainments create opportunities for citizens to get together without spending a penny.

Check online for local happenings – there is always something going on that you can afford to take part in and enjoy.

Get Rid of a Car

Finally, if you can’t afford to keep your car for work or pleasure, then it is time to let it go. After all, it would be smarter to take a bus or ride your bike than to spend an exorbitant amount on insurance and gas every month.

Think about making this sacrifice and saving yourself from all of the hassles and inconveniences associated with owning and driving a car. You can still get around without having to use your two feet. But if you absolutely need a vehicle to get to work, consider buying the cheaper one that will do the job.

The Bottom Line

Although saving money may seem like an insurmountable challenge, it is possible to take control of your finances even if you are currently living on a tight budget.

The key is to start now so that the future will be brighter and more prosperous. Remember that saving a few extra dollars every month can be the difference between living comfortably in the long run and struggling to make ends meet.

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