LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. – There’s an old business adage, “It’s not what you make, it’s what you spend.” Airmen of any rank can make their paychecks go further with a few money saving tricks.
“Being frugal is about making a conscious effort to stretch your hard-earned dollars,” said Sandra Gray, 56th Force Support Squadron Airman Family and Readiness Center community readiness consultant. “A few examples of this can be shopping with coupons or planning weekly meals using grocery store ads. Those savings can really add up over time.”
Another way to be penny-wise is packing meals ahead of time.
“Only buy what you plan to use within a reasonable amount of time,” said Tammy Dupuis, AF&RC resource coordinator. “Pack lunches during the work week and cut back on eating out. Replace daily drive-thru coffee fixes by making coffee at home.”
Although it’s important to know where one can save money, it is equally necessary to know the difference between what is a need and what is a want.
“A person should examine the last 90 days of their bank statements,” said Cory Carmichael, A&FRC community readiness specialist. “It is amazing where our money really goes. Eating out, smoking and convenience stores can be real gremlins on a budget. Poor banking habits, including ATM and overdraft protection fees, equal wasted money.”
To help evaluate areas where one can save cash, Gray recommends looking closely into one’s spending behavior.
“Ask yourself questions such as, ‘do I really need a soda or an alcoholic beverage with my meal?’” Gray said. “Those little purchases can quickly add up. Not only can one save money on food, but also by not buying things on impulse such as the latest phone, car, clothes and more.”
It’s also vital to wait until the price is right to get the best deal on certain items. To do this, research how much items cost and wait until they go on sale, and try to use coupons with the purchase, Gray said. Also, when buying more costly items such as a lawnmower, wait until early fall or when the item in particular is on sale to make the purchase.
“The key to great savings is to be patient and plan ahead,” Gray said.
Being frugal and not buying things on impulse can benefit one’s present and future finances.
“When you are frugal you have more money to pay down debt, save for the future and plan for retirement,” Gray said. “Learning this early in life is very important in order to live a financially stress-free life.”