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Trim the Family Budget Before the Holidays

Finances. To most of us, managing, or a lack of managing our finances is a sore spot. I’m no exception. Perhaps you can relate to this scenario:

“Did you really need that?” my husband asks annoyingly. I slowly stop stroking my new find, and slide the new (beautiful) purse behind my back.

piggy

Before I married, finances seemed so much simpler. But after marriage and kids, things have changed. How can you help trim the family budget without eating mac n’ cheese every night?

Patrice Ann Murray, president & CEO of live free, has been a financial advisor to high net worth clients in the Orange County for more than 20 years. She also teaches seminars, classes and workshops to a diverse audience that focus on being financially free™ in every area of their lives.

Before executing any quick tips, Murray offer these two key guiding principles:

PLAN SMART = SPENDING SMART
Have a monthly budget that you maintain and update regularly. A recent study cited that people throw away 40 percent of what they buy at Costco. The point is before entering a store – have a specific PLAN of what you are going to buy and – only purchase those items.

MARGIN FOR MORE
We spend more when we are stressed and rushed. By adding more margin, we tend to spend wisely. Less really is more. For example, we pick up fast food, instead of making a meal at home, which is much cheaper, healthier and better tasting.

Here are Murray’s 5 quick money-saving tips:

✔ Utilize Free Entertainment Technology. It is almost unnecessary to pay for cable television. Consider using the free technology resources, such as YouTube and other free online sources.

✔ Ask Vendors for Reductions. Make a list of all your bills and contact those vendors. Ask if your bill can be reduced. Utility companies will come out for free to check all your systems and tell you how to save money.

Free Challenge Week. Make a goal of planning fun adventures, or outings that don’t cost money. Make a delicious meal and eat it at a park or beach. Play catch, fly a kite, hike and exercise together – without spending a dime.

Clean Out Your Fridge. To help with waste, clean out your entire fridge and start over. Next, PLAN your shopping trip and don’t shop again until everything is gone.

Give the Gift of Time or Adventure. If your child gets a new toy for Christmas, encourage them to give an old toy to someone less fortunate. Create adventures, not junk piles. Before you open up gifts and make Christmas about the gifts, make traditions that share gratitude.

“Most people do not want to ‘budget’ because they don’t want to know the reality. But when they do the hard work and come up with a PLAN, they are actually motivated to spend less, save more and live financially free,” concludes Murray.

Now about that purse…

Kristal Zacharias is the mother of two beautiful, vivacious girls, and wife of a hunky husband who works in the action sports industry. For the past 15 years, Kristal has worked for several Fortune 500 companies as a professional communicator. Follow her journey at Clearly Kristal or on Facebook and Twitter.
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