Monthly Archives: February 2016
Even though we are into 2016 and even if you have not made a resolution to get back on track with finances, it is not too late. Most people create a New Year’s resolution to only break it a month in anyways, so might as well start now and set up your entire year, and you will be happy you did. While others are hoping to shed a few pounds, vow to work out a little more, or steps to maintain happiness such as traveling more, what you really should do is work on better spending habits this year. Too often we focus on how to make more money rather than spend less. If we find ourselves in a cash crunch we look to title loans or credit card advances to float us the extra money. What we really need to ask ourselves is, what is the right way to go about bettering our financial habits?
The first place to start in your new found tight wallet would be to get rid of the spending sprees. Sure, you may think that is common sense, but the more you remove unnecessary spending, the more you will have left over. Take a detailed look at your bank account or credit card statement from the previous monthly and circle charges that you feel could easily be removed. A great way to start would be eating out and going to bars. Now I’m not saying to avoid the bar all together, but have a few drinks at home before you go out; get to the bar later to finish the night. Eat at home as much as you can. If you do go out later, there is nothing wrong with sharing an appetizer instead of full meals.
Figuring out a budget for your remaining money to spend and save after monthly expenses is very important. A great way to only spend what you plan on is using cash only. You will see the amount in your hand, see your bankroll decrease as you spend, and make you appreciate the value of a dollar a little more. Using a debit card can open the spending a little more, although you stay conscious of the amount due to it being tied to your bank account, but a credit card, could be virtually a limitless amount.
Once you are off and running in the attempt to have a little more money in your account, see how it goes for a month and see how much you saved. Remember any savings is better than previous months where it was spend, spend, spend, so although it may not seem like much, saving each month and then have it add up over the course of a few months and then a year could be huge savings.
You make a grocery list of the essential items you need, probably going to the grocery store every other week or so. Sure there are most likely items that you impulse buy while you are at the store that you probably do not need, or go in for milk but come out with a cart of groceries, but even when you try to stay on track, there are still items that you are throwing money away on that you probably do not even realize that you are. With a few tweaks to your grocery shopping and you could shed dollars off of your total grocery bill each week, adding up to huge savings each month, let along over the course of a year.
Paper products such as toilet paper, paper towels, and tissues are the first things you should take a second look to make spending changes. I am not saying to buy the absolute cheapest toilet paper that cuts you, paper towel that comes apart when wiping down a kitchen counter, or tissues that rip your nose apart, but there is no need to buy the most expensive kind. Store brand such from stores such as Costco, Kroger, and Target are not only dollars off of the premium name-brand, but are also unnoticeable when swapped out. Trash and storage bags is another area that can be downgraded to save on price, but not necessarily quality. Let’s face it, trash bags are what they are; to throw items away. As long as they are durable enough for the kitchen garbage can, who cares if they have drawstrings, or are a name-brand. Storage bags are probably not used too often, storing leftover or a lunch for the next day, so no need to shell out the additional premium price for a name, where the difference is nonexistent.
In the age of trying to eat heathier and limiting the amount of toxins put into our bodies, it can be more expensive, especially with organic products, so while our grocery bill starts to rise, it is important to look at areas that could be reduced. Start with looking at other brands of your essential items. If you have a grocery budget, would you rather have quality fresh food ingratiates or high end paper towel, toilet paper, and trash bags? I think that answer is pretty simple.