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As a self-sufficiency coach for women, I know that financial independence comes from two sources: getting control of your spending (reducing debt) and increasing your assets (investments, savings and income).  Unfortunately there are many families with household incomes in excess of $100,000 who are struggling financially because they refuse to curtail their spending.  It doesn’t matter if you’re making$30,000, $50,000 or $250,000 a year, you can have expenses that have you living paycheck to paycheck. You can’t afford your lifestyle if you can’t comfortably pay your monthly expenses. Comfortably in my book means that you’re consistently paying your bills on time and that you have money left over to put into a savings or investment account.

I’m not an advocate of deprivation, I enjoy my lattes and my manicures.  I also want to be able to take my son out for a burger or some other after school treat without planning weeks in advance.  However to afford those luxuries I’ve learned to cut back in areas that are less critical to my family’a happiness.  Today for instance I’m reviewing my household bills and usage to see where I can make reductions.  Already I saved a few bucks on my Netflix account and on my DirectTV bill.

Two years ago Ramit Sethi, author of the book, I Will Teach You To Be Rich had a month of posts titled, “Save $1,000 in 30 Days.”  His posts are well worth reviewing. You may not implement all 30, but I’m sure that even if you saved $100 or 200 this month it would be well worth your time.

Ramit Sethi’s Full list of tips
Tip #1: Pack lunches for the rest of the week
Tip #2: Turn your thermostat down 3 degrees
Tip #3: Sell something on eBay today
Tip #4: Involve your friends in your savings challenge
Tip #5: Optimize your cellphone bill
Tip #6: Use gas prices to become your own hedge fund
Tip #7: Create a “No Spending” day once a week
Tip #8: Implement the A La Carte Method
Tip #9: Only buy new things when replacing something old
Tip #10: Use the free rewards from your credit card, car insurance, and workplace
Tip #11: Never pay full retail price for clothes or eyeglasses again
Tip #12: How I’m saving $2,000+ on eating out in 2009
Tip #13: How to negotiate your car insurance
Tip #14: Use self-persuasion to share how much you’ve saved so far
Tip #15: Forget going to a bar — ask people over for dinner
Tip #16: Cancel any large purchase this month
Tip #17: Buy generic for the stuff you don’t care about
Tip #18: No Christmas gifts this year
Tip #19: Save Money, Eat Well and Look Hot in Less Than an Hour
Tip #20: Change the date of Christmas
Tip #21: Save thousands by pre-paying your debt
Tip #22: Analyze your progress in the 30 Day Challenge (plus, see how I’m doing)
Tip #23: Go cash only for 15 to 30 days
Tip #24: Cut your commute expenses by 40%
Tip #25: Earn more money using your God-given skills
Tip #26: Gardender? Cleaning lady? DIY instead
Tip #27: Use barriers to prevent yourself from spending money
Tip #28: Use price-protection guarantees to always get the lowest price (travel, retail)
Tip #29: Stop being a loser and spend money to save money
Tip #30: How I’m saving $25,000+ in 2009

Yvonne Bynoe, Feature Writer

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