Cents and Sensibility

7-Day Plan for Saving Money

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Are you in financial limbo and just don’t know what to do?

Plan to spend 30 to 40 minutes per day for the next seven days to get started on the path toward financial freedom. Here’s a seven-day plan for saving money:

Day 1: Write out a commitment statement and organize your bills. Are you committed to becoming debt-free? Write down one sentence that you will be able to reflect on during your financial freedom journey. Commitment statements can be as short or long as you wish. For example, try “I plan to commit 30 minutes every pay period reviewing my finances,” or “I commit every day this week to make my own coffee and put the money towards my credit card bill.”

Day 2: Add up all of your income and expenses. Simply draw a line down the middle of a piece of notebook paper. On the left side, write down all of your expenses; on the right side, write down your income. You are now aware of how much money goes out versus how much money comes in.

Day 3: Find ways to stop spending on unnecessary luxuries. What exactly is a luxury? Ask yourself whether or not what you want is necessary. What about that extra-tall latte in the mornings? Or maybe the little knickknacks you’ve been collecting for years? Think about what is unnecessary to you and don’t spend as much money on those items.

Day 4: Pay off debt with extra money. During the income tax season, for example, retail stores have their best sales to lure customers inside to spend their money. Instead of spending any extra money that you may receive, pay off your debt faster than you anticipated. Your income tax refund check, for example, is one way to get ahead. Instead of spending the entire check and getting deeper in debt, use half of it to pay off debt and the other half to save and spend.

Day 5: Call your cable, cell phone and insurance companies for cheaper plans. We switched our cable company, home phone and Internet providers, but decided to switch to a cheaper plan, which saved us an additional $52 per month. We also liked our house and car insurance company, but decided to switch plans, which saved us an additional $150 per month that we applied to our debt and savings.

Day 6: Sell items at a yard sale and online. Try heading to eBay or to sell your things. These sites and others like them can help you sell items easily because they attract lots of customers. People make hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars on eBay. If you have the time and patience to work on your computer, this may be a great fit for you.

Day 7: Identify how much you’re willing to save per month. View your savings as a bill. Pay money to your savings account every month, just like you pay your bills every month, no matter how small the payment. Forty dollars per biweekly paycheck placed into savings equals a total of $1,040 every year.

Getting started now is not as difficult as you may think. Simply take one day at a time to move forward with your financial goals.

About Dr. Karen Ratliff

Karen Ratliff

Credit: Dr. Karen Ratliff

Dr. Ratliff is a certified life coach and professional educator, assisting many people in accomplishing financial, career, and educational goals.  She is also the author of “Tightening Your Bootstraps: 104 Tips to Kick Your Debt to the Curb Now.” Keep up with her budgetary advice via Twitter @drkarenratliff  her website at, and her facebook fanpage “Financially Focused with Dr. Karen Ratliff.”