Financial wise, last year may have been a catastrophe for you. You may have gone overboard on your finances, such as maxing out your credit cards or earning a reasonable salary for the whole year, but having nothing to show for it. Typically, as people enter the new year, they make a list of resolutions to correct the previous year’s blunders. Making a promise to cut your spending this year is definitely a worthwhile goal to add to that list.
Cut This Year’s Expenses With a Budget Tool
The best thing to do when you want to fix your finances is to evaluate where you stand at present. Assess how much you earn and how much debt you have to pay off. Determine the necessary expenses you have to make and where your money should be going. Getting a budgeting tool can be very helpful in putting your finances back in order. Mint is an effective tool that you can download to your computer or any Android-powered device. You will have to enter all your account numbers, which will include your savings and checking accounts, credit cards, and others. Mint will then bring together all your financial information to give you a clear picture of your financial status. Mint will also organize your expenses into different budget categories and send you an email notification if you have gone beyond your budget on any of them. A budgeting tool will also require you to record all your expenses, from the biggest down to the most trivial one. Once you have put this in place, you can adapt the following steps to cut your spending this year.
1.Make a budget and stick to it.
In an effort to make drastic changes and see faster results, a lot of people make unreasonable cutbacks in their budget, only to fail at the end. Don’t be too stringent. Allow yourself some allowance for discretionary spending, and don’t go beyond it. These are some tips on how you can stick to your budget.
- Create a spreadsheet containing your spending categories, such as mortgage, gas, food, etc.
- Record all your expenses in a small notebook. Take note of every penny you spend.
- At the end of the day, key in all your expenses into your spreadsheet.
- At the end of each month compare your total expenses to your budget. Examine where you can make changes.
2. Eat out less often.
Eating out from time to time may seem harmless to your budget, but it can really upset your budget. Let’s say for example, you’re a couple who eats out at least three times in a week and $30 every time. You are actually spending $90 a week, $360 a month, and a whooping $4,320 a year. Just think about the things that $4,320 dollars can do for you. You can have that money for vacation, if you will take an extra effort to eat at home.
3. Take advantage of coupons.
If you are a wise budget shopper, you should know by now that there is no such thing as paying full price for anything. This is especially true with groceries. Cut your spending this year by visiting coupon sites, like www.couponmom.com or www.coupons.com to find coupons that would offer you discounts on the products you buy from the supermarket. The problem with couponing is that it can get so confusing. Here is how you can do it.
- Organize the coupons you have collected in categories. You can use an accordion file, binder, or envelopes.
- Read the information in your coupon carefully to know the expiration date and more good deals.
- Inquire the coupon policies of your local stores and supermarkets.
- Use your coupons when the products are on sale.
- Buy products with the lowest unit price. There are certain products that go on sale only a few times each year. You may want to stock up on these.
4. Cancel your landline.
If you have a mobile phone, a landline phone is certainly unnecessary. A landline can cost you around $50 a month. Just think about it, you can cut your spending this year by $600 if you drop your landline.
5. Review your insurance cost.
Homeowner and auto insurance is a very competitive industry. This is advantageous for customers like you. Many insurance companies lure customers with low rates and good coverage. Check out www.ensurance.com to compare prices, and you will be surprised.
6. Pay off your credit cards.
This is a big step to help you cut your spending this year. If you have several cards, identify which one you can pay off first. You can choose the one with the smallest balance or the one with the highest interest. Once you pay off one card, you will be motivated to pay off the next one.