National Financial Literacy Month: 5 Simple Tips on Budgeting

You work hard for your money and, especially in these tough economic times, every dollar counts. Make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck, and staying within your budget at the same time, by following these tips:

Don’t buy anything on the spur-of-the-moment – Spur-of-the-moment buying results in unnecessary spending. Resist the initial urge, and see if you feel as strongly about it 24 hours later.

Don’t make spending something you do in your spare time – Don’t shop in stores, malls, and online sites just to pass the time. Find free activities to do, and spend your time taking care of the things you already have.

Look for less expensive ways to get the things you want - Rent a DVD instead of going to the theater. Shop the clearance section instead of the new arrivals. Also, try generics. Many are just as good as the name brand at a fraction of the cost.

Sign up for e-mail coupons and loyalty cards from stores that you frequent – Often, you don’t even need to carry them around in your purse or wallet. Just take your phone with you, and give the sales associate the code when you’re checking out.

Remember these three words: Everything is negotiable - Your customer dollars are very precious, to you and to sellers, so always make sure you’re getting the absolute best deal possible. A smart consumer knows how to get the best price by doing their homework, shopping around, and asking for a discount. Never be ashamed to bargain.


Clare Levison
CPA and author of Frugal Isn't Cheap: Spend Less, Save More, and Live Better

Clare K. Levison is a certified public accountant and author of Frugal Isn’t Cheap: Spend Less, Save More, and Live Better. Clare has appeared on major radio and television networks across the country discussing personal finance and has also been a contributor to publications such as The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and U.S. News & World Report. Clare is a national financial literacy spokesperson for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and serves as a member of their National Financial Literacy Commission. She has served as a member of the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants (VSCPA) Board of Directors and was named one of the 2010 Top Five CPAs Under Thirty-Five by the VSCPA.

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