1. Keep Good Records - The great scientist Albert Einstein once said, "It takes a genius to see the obvious." What he meant by that is that sometimes the simplest things in life are the most powerful ... but because they are so simple, we tend to ignore them, and not let them work for us.
One of the simplest but most powerful money making ideas is this: keep a daily log of everything you spend. Go to the dollar store and buy a little notebook and carry it with you wherever you go. Write down every penny - every single penny - you spend. It's as simple as that.
If you do this, you will find something magic happening in your financial life in just a few weeks: you'll see what you spend, where, and how much can really be looked at as "necessary." It makes the flow of money through your life more real and exact. It shows you simply and clearly just where you are spending your money, on what and why. Once you know that, it becomes much easier to control your spending. Very powerful, indeed, and quite eye-opening.
For example, a person could realized through examining their notebook that they actually spent nearly $2,000 throughout the year on diet soft drinks, snacks and candy bars! Since their job only brings in $25,000 per year, they realized that 8% of their entire income was being frittered away on something entirely frivolous. The person gave up the snacks and drinks, and found they had enough money to take a vacation the following year! If you had the choice between snacks or a much needed vacation, which would you choose? Clarity that comes with this insight can help you gain much needed control of your finances.
2. Stop Credit Card Spending - otherwise known as deficit spending! We all know how much trouble Uncle Sam has been creating spending more money than our country takes in. It's called deficit spending. Well, don't fool yourself. The same rules apply to you. Using those evil little plastic cards may be the "American Way," but it's a poor way.
Today, the average credit card holder is carrying $8,000 in plastic debt!
Spending yourself into debt with a credit card is unbelievably easy, as many of you already know. The reason is psychological. When you give that clerk a credit card, it's just not the same as handing over a stack of green dollar bills. Would you as readily hand over a fistful of ten dollar bills as flip a credit card across a counter? Probably not.
Credit cards put you in the hole and keep you there. Even for people with good incomes, paying your credit card debt down to zero is amazingly difficult. And make no bones about it, credit card debt will sap your financial strength just as readily as an open vein will deplete your physical body of its very life force. Using a credit card by choice can quickly turn to using it for need. Once you get to that point, you are already in trouble.
There is no secret to freeing yourself from the credit card game. You must take out a pair of scissors today, cut your cards in half, and begin paying them back, slowly butsurely. Be careful: closing the account could affect your credit score negatively, so you may want to keep the card open - just stop using it! Be sure to always pay more than the minimum amount due, even if it is just $10 more. Once you stop adding to the debt, even small payments will eventually add up. You can get out of debt if you are patient and disciplined. Once your card debt is history, you must adopt a strict pay-as-you-go policy. Instead of buying now and paying later, save now and buy when you have the full amount.
Once again, this is not rocket science, but stopping credit-oriented consuming is one of the most powerful financial tools available to anyone today. Why not pick up this tool and use it?
3. Sell Your Junk - That's right, it's high past time for a major yard sale. Search through your house or apartment for every single item you don't need, and could sell at a flea market or yard sale.
Take an inventory. The truth is, most people are astounded by what they own - and how much money they have tied up in useless stuff. Why let it collect dust in your attic while it could collect interest in a savings account? Good question, huh?
You could easily be $500, $1,000 ... even $3,000 richer by the end of the week. As an added bonus, you'd have your place cleaned up, and you will have a fresh feeling of starting over. A garage sale is an excellent way to not only clean out your house, but it often gives a psychological boost that helps people get control of their life and money.
(by John Tesh)