The current economy sucks, and many people are feeling the pain. You will find that even though you cannot always be rich, figuring out a comfortable way to live within your means is still possible. Read the next few paragraphs to learn how.

To understand how you spend money, keep a journal listing every cent you spend for one week. If you just write this information in a place you do not look at frequently, it may not have a great effect on your behavior. A better option is to track expenses on a large whiteboard that sits out in full view. You will glance at it often so that you can keep the message fresh in your mind.

Eat as if you aren’t a tourist when you want to save on food costs when traveling. Restaurants in busy tourist areas tend to be the highest priced, so find out where the locals eat. The food in local restaurants will taste better and cost less too.

Instead of using a single maxed-out credit card, aim to use two or even more cards. If you go over your limit, you will be paying a larger amount in charges than the fees on smaller amounts on two or more cards. This also won’t harm your credit score much, and it could help you improve it if those cards are used wisely.

To maintain a good credit score, use more than one credit card. Remember, however, not to go overboard; do not have more than four credit cards. Using only one card means it will take a long time to build a good credit score, and more than four cards means you cannot manage your finances efficiently. Start with two cards and build your credit by adding new cards when needed.

Holding a garage or yard sale can help one clear out some old items, as well as earning some extra cash. You can also include the whole neighborhood in the sale by offering to add their items on commission. You can be creative at your garage sale to make a little extra income.

Try negotiating with your debt collectors. It’s likely that they only need a small amount of the total to come out ahead. Even if you only pay 50% of your balance, they will make money. Use this knowledge to your advantage to avoid paying debts in full.

If you are in collections, then your debt will someday be written off, even if you don’t pay. There are consequences to this, however, and you need to be sure you are ready to face them. Ask someone when a debt can be erased and do not give a collector money for a very old debt.

The number one way to deal with debt is to not accrue any to begin with. Give serious consideration to adding any new charge to your card. Before deciding to make a purchase using a credit card, you should consider the amount of time and the interest that will be charged if you complete the transaction. If it will take you in excess of one month to fully pay and the item is something you can live without anyway, leave it in the store.

If you tend to use lots of money buying Christmas gifts, try making your presents instead. You can save hundreds of dollars around the holidays by reducing spending at department stores. You will increase your net worth and reduce your overall cost with creativity.

If you want to reduce your Christmas budget, consider fashioning you own homemade Christmas gifts. You will spend less and you will save a lot of money during the holidays. Creativity can help reduce your costs and increase your overall net worth.

Some people spend $20 to $30 each week in lottery drawings hoping to ‘win it big.’ Instead, invest that same amount of money in a savings account. That way, you’ll increase income over time instead of throwing money down the drain.

You need to balance your checkbook. If you cannot find the time to balance it on paper, then an online service may be a better option. There are several software programs that can help you organize your expense accounts, track your income and design a monthly budget.

Set up automatic withdrawals from your main bank account into a type of high-yield savings account. At first, this might seem uncomfortable, but after some months, you will be used to it and the money that you have will grow in no time.

Talk to your friends when it comes to your financial situation. This way, you will not feel bad when they try to invite you out when you could not afford it. If you do not tell them why you could not buy a gift or go on a trip, your friends might think that it is due to something they have done. Let your friends what is happening with your situation.

Make sure that you annually rebalance your portfolio. Re-balancing your portfolio annually will align the mix of your assets with your situation. By rebalancing, you can also decide whether to sell some stocks high or buy others low.

Working from home is one avenue worth investigating when you want to save money. Commuting to a job can end up costing you a lot of money. You will spend a lot of your money on purchasing food, parking and gas.

As you work to establish yourself as a financially responsible person, you will find that the littlest things can produce the largest results. Instead of purchasing a cup of coffee every morning, brew your own at home or at work. This simple change can save you several dollars every week. Consider taking the bus or train to work instead of your car. You might be able to save a few hundred dollars a month this way. The money you need for major investments or retirement planning is already in your budget, waiting for you to pull it together from such minor cutbacks. You will benefit much more from this than from a cup of coffee!

As this article has shown, you have the capability of raising your net worth, living within your means, and achieving a healthy and enjoyable financial state. By simply using your head and following these helpful personal finance tips, you can develop a budget, reduce your debt, save money and ultimately, be in control of your finances.

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