Save Money With Small, Budget-Friendly Changes
Many people find it easier to lose weight whey they track their daily calorie intake. The same is true for budgeting. Using a spreadsheet or online banking software to keep track of each and every purchase is an effective budgeting technique. When spending habits are clear, categories of overspending become obvious. Applying a few changes to key areas of monthly spending can save hundreds of dollars over the course of a year.
Reconsider Food Habits
Groceries and restaurant bills make up a large part of a monthly budget. However, there are many options when it comes to reducing food costs. Use coupons. In addition to newspaper clippings, look for coupons that are specific to certain stores. Consider shopping at big box stores or simply switch to purchasing grains, cereals, and beans from the bulk bins at the grocery store. Most foods are cheaper when purchased in large quantities. Grow vegetables in any space available. Home gardens save money on produce. Restaurant portions tend to be oversize. Share meals when dining out to save money and keep healthy. Pack a lunch. Daily lunches at restaurants are more expensive and often less nutritious than homemade lunches. Make coffee at home to avoid the high cost of cafes. Stick to a list when shopping. Without a list, it's easy to get sucked into impulse purchases. Start saving by choosing just one food-related budget tip.
Rethink Transportation Options
City dwellers may find that going without a car is not as bad as it sounds. Many cities have good public transportation options, bike lanes, and pedestrian-friendly layouts. The Federal Transportation Administration suggests that people who use alternative transportation methods improve their health and save hundreds of dollars per month. For those who don't live in an area that's conducive to car-free living, reducing car insurance rates is another budget-friendly option. Sites like CheapCarInsurance.net and Progressive provide quote comparisons for various car insurance companies. The site also educates users with savings tips. The first step in saving money on transportation is to decide which changes will be easiest to incorporate into daily life.
Reduce Miscellaneous Expenses
Small purchases like cleaning products, home repairs, new clothing, gym memberships and the like add up fast. Consider which purchases are most important and try cost-saving methods on those that are less crucial. Gym memberships, for instance, often go unused. Use workout videos or exercise outdoors to save on this monthly expense. Buy clothing at second hand stores. Learn basic home maintenance techniques to eliminate the need for contractors. Make homemade cleaning products. Finding one easy way to save on miscellaneous household spending can reduce monthly expenses by at least $20.
Get a Handle on Technology
Between cell phone service, Internet connections, and cable television, technology-related expenses can skyrocket. Look for providers that will bundle services together to reduce the cost. Consider eliminating Internet or cable service, especially if computers are readily available at your office or library. Researching billing options can reduce technology spending significantly.
Pay Off Debt
Student loans, mortgages, or credit card debt are a fact of life for most households. Speed up repayment by applying all or most of unexpected income to paying off debt. For example, use tax refunds and garage sale income to make an unscheduled loan payment. Paying debts off as soon as possible reduces the total amount paid in the long-term and frees up resources for other necessities of life. The US Securities and Exchange Commission advises consumers to focus on repaying the bill with the highest interest rate first.
Most people have difficulty adjusting their habits to fit with a budget. By keeping track of expenses and making small lifestyle changes, it's simple to save money and stay on track with financial goals. When spending is broken down into key life components, it's easy to see where saving can happen. Make one small change in each lifestyle area to start saving money now.