Motivating yourself to be more frugal and manage your money more effectively can be very challenging!

One strategy that may help is to focus on multiple benefits, rather that just the most obvious or immediate one. A prime example is using your car less often. Although the price of gasoline isn’t as steep as it used to be, daily use of your automobile could easily result in less money in your pocket (or bank account) at the end of the month. While many of us are in the habit of jumping in our car every time we need to pick up a few odds and ends at the corner drugstore or neighborhood supermarket, you’ll invariably save money –and often enjoy other benefits– if you consider alternatives to automobile use.

  1. Walk instead of drive. If you’re fortunate enough to live relatively close to stores that you frequent, you could save money on gas and automobile maintenance by putting on your walking shoes more often and hoofing it. As a secondary benefit, you’d also be getting exercise, burning calories, getting fresh air, and taking in some essential vitamin D from the sun. By taking steps to maintain your health, you’ll also have more energy, be more productive, and tend to miss fewer days of work. Not everyone lives close enough to local stores to be able to walk there on a regular basis (or at all), but for those who do, there are many advantages.
  2. Carpool to work. This option doesn’t occur to everyone because, among other things, we’re creatures of habit. We get in the well-worn habit of driving back and forth to work by ourselves, every day, and we don’t stop to think that there is a money-saving alternative. When you share the cost and responsibility of driving, you’re literally cutting your commuting expenses in half. You’re also getting a break from the stress and tedium of commuting in rush-hour traffic. Having someone to talk to during the drive can also make the trip go by much faster — assuming you enjoy the company of your carpooling companion(s)!
  3. Public transportation may be a viable alternative. If you happen to live and work in an urban environment, you may already be availing yourself of the benefits of public transportation. In addition to saving money on gas and avoiding driving-related stress, there’s the added benefit of being able to read a book, listen to relaxing music, or prepare for a presentation on your way in.
  4. Telecommute whenever possible. More and more employers are helping themselves and their employees save money by offering work-from-home options. If you have the opportunity to telecommute a couple days a week, the savings in gas, wear-and-tear on your car, and the cost of lunches out can add up quickly!

If it looks like you’re filling up your gas tank every time you turn around, not to mention burning through your paycheck too fast, then finding ways to reduce gas consumption may be one way to stretch your dollar farther.

Home values continue to rise. Many people use their home equity in order to get a bit more financial security. The home equity line of credit can have many different benefits for you. From home improvement projects to a much-needed vacation, you can get the funds that you need for whatever you wish. Turn to your home equity with some careful thought, however. You could end up owing more than your home is worth, which defeats the purpose of tapping into your home equity to begin with. 

Make Your Decision Smart

Your home equity can be a good thing to tap in to if you’re not planning on spending like crazy. Maybe you just want a little extra cash on hand for emergencies. You’ll be prepared for anything unexpected. This could be a smarter decision than just blowing a bunch of money on a vacation, for example. 

Some smart things that you can use your home equity for include:

  • Home renovations
  • Emergency funds
  • College education funds
  • Cash advance

These ideas are investments that can help you to achieve other goals. You should be sure that you’re able to pay the money back. These projects or financial endeavors are much more suited to smart spending than just randomly spending money, buying a car, or other things that will put you in serious debt.

Home Equity Fluctuates


As the market changes, the amount of home equity that you’ll have to tap into does as well. The state of the housing market can actually dictate to you how much money you’ll be able to get. If the market isn’t good, you could end up in the negative financially, so do your research. 

How To Get Your Home Equity

There are a few ways that you can draw from your home’s equity. The first rule that you should understand is that you cannot borrow more than 80% of what your home is worth. Take a full remortgage your home, giving you the full 80% amount that your home is worth in order to take a lump sum. Alternatively, you can take a cash-out refinance where you set the amount of money you’d like to take out of your home’s equity as you refinance the home. You can also take out what’s called a “home equity line of credit,” which allows you to use the amount of your home’s worth as a credit card of sorts. You borrow money as you need it.     

The biggest issue with refinancing is that of planning. It’s important to know why you’re refinancing and what you’re planning on doing with the money. Used wisely, home equity can really be a great financial tool.

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