Guest post by Georgia Dalsum
Budgeting – Knowing Where to Make Your Cuts
If you’re struggling financially, cutting your expenses is the first step toward regaining financial control. With less money going out, more money can go toward your necessary expenses to catch up and solidify your financial ground. But where do you make your cuts? Everything can seem important, and deciding what to cut from your budget isn’t necessarily going to be easy. However, knowing where to make cuts will ensure that your needs are taken care of while some of your wants take the brunt of the damage until you’re back on your feet.
Stop Giving Away Free Money
Paying unnecessary fees is the worst form of unnecessary spending imaginable. Stop forgetting to get things paid on time. Late fees may seem inconsequential, but they add up fast. Overdraft fees with your bank are another form of unnecessary spending. Balance your checkbook regularly to avoid these extra charges. Get organized and pay things on time and keep track of your spending and you’ll see a little extra money that you never knew you had.
Change Your Routine
If you stop at the coffee shop on your way to work or dump half of your paycheck into the vending machine, stop it. You can easily brew your own coffee and take your own snacks to work for a small fraction of the price. Expensive lunches are another money guzzler. Learn how to make a ham sandwich and a pot of coffee. Your wallet will thank you.
Turn off the lights when you leave a room. While it can become a habit to leave them on, it’s an expensive habit. You might not receive cash in hand every single time you flip the switch, but your utility bills will be much lower. The same goes for your water. Stop letting it run while you wash dishes or get ready for your shower.
Become Gas Conscious
Before you go somewhere, ask yourself if the trip is really necessary. If you’re just bored and want to run to the store, consider doing something else instead. If you’ve really got to go somewhere, ask yourself if there’s anywhere else you need to go while you’re out. Eliminating unnecessary trips in the car will cut down on the precious resource of gas and save a ton of money.
While everyone wants to be able to go see the new movie that just hit theaters or the big concert coming to town, if you’re having money troubles it might not be the best time to splurge. Opt for a night in with microwave popcorn and a flick on the TV. Rather than buying new clothes, try thrift shops. You can even make your old clothes work for you now. Find a how-to online for turning some of your old winter clothes into a fun summer wardrobe.
You don’t have to revert to the stone-age in order to save a couple bucks. Simply track where your money is going and crack down on extra expenditures. Limiting bad habits like smoking and alcohol consumption can save some people hundreds of dollars. Before spending money, ask yourself if it’s necessary. If the answer is no, chances are that’s somewhere you could make a cut.
Georgia Dalsum writes about financial health and credit reports.