No doubt, 2008 was a year with record high in home foreclosures, fuel price, layoffs, and Banks collapses which led to tight credit market. Consumers felt squeezed as they tried to manage their finances during this unstable economic climate. Despite all, according to the US Department of Commerce Bureau of Economics Analysis, the US personal savings rate increased to 2.8 percent in November, a low rate compared to the 7.5 percent average of early 1990s.
One thing is certain, consumers need to change their spending habits and prepare themselves for 2009. Here are a few tips I recommend to help you save more and get a grip on your finances in 2009. Budget. It is important to have a realist budget you can commit to. To have an idea of how much you spend every month, go through the last six month of your bank statements and add all your expense and divide them 6. This will give you a monthly average of how much you much every month. You can use it as your budget. Remember a budget is the same as your expense.
Set up an emergency Fund. Once you have come up with a budget, the next step is to start a financial emergency fund. This fund is to help you in rainy day; lost of job or facing high health care expenses. It is recommended having a fund which can help you financially between three to six months or in other words 3 to 6 times your budget. Pay down your debt. If you are carrying a balance on your credit card, try paying it down. This cost your more in the long run, something you want to avoid at any cost. One thing you can do is to start using cash whenever possible and retire your credit card(s).
This will make you more at ease and not have to worry about carrying any debt. Shop smart. Use the internet to find bargains. Site like Fatwallet is great place to go. Browse sites which provide grocery coupons you can use on your next shopping. Check Hulu.com to watch some of your favorite TV shows, absolutely free, instead of paying hundreds dollars a year in a cable bill. By following these easy tips, you will not only save money but also have control of your finances.