I never seem to have enough money, so saving seemed impossible. Living from paycheck to paycheck can be extremely difficult. Unfortunately, many Americans are in the same boat. There are ways you can trim your expenses that may initially seem small but will add up in the end. Here are some great tips on how you can save money by budgeting and making bill paying a little easier.
It’s The Little Things: A Lesson in Budgeting
Let’s look at some items in your budget that might be adding more to your expenses than you think. To really get a good idea of where your money is truly going, purchase a small notebook and pen that you can keep with you throughout the day. Every time you spend money – even a dollar – write it in your book. Also add in bills when you pay them, food and anything else you spend money on. Pay attention to the following items that tend to slowly eat up your budget.
- Specialty Coffee: Bottom line, these are expensive. Brew your own coffee at home and refrigerate it. Make a simple sugar, add some cream and coffee and you have your own delicious yet inexpensive iced coffee. A few drops of vanilla or hazelnut extract and you are in business! Soon your savings will add up.
- ATM Fees: A few dollars here or there may not seem like a lot, but add them up over a month and you will be amazed!
- Hair Products: Are you one to purchase all kinds of products to see which works best? Take a month off from this and see how much you save.
- Credit Card Fees: Look at all of last month’s credit card statements and add up the interest on each. If you concentrate on paying down these bills, you will have that much extra in cash a month.
- Gas: We all need our cars, but take a look at all the short trips you take daily. Can you carpool? If you have children, see if one mom can do a party drop-off while you do the party pick up. Can you add several stops to your trip rather than making them all individually?
- Food: This eats up so much of our budget, literally. Cut coupons, look for specials and buy generic. Go to the store with a list including everything you will need for meals and then stick to it. Promise yourself you won’t purchase ANYTHING on impulse. You will be surprised at how much lower your bill will be.
- Mortgage: If your mortgage takes up more than 25% of your budget then you should seriously look in to refinancing or moving.
Tracking all of your daily expenses for a month will soon become a habit and quite an eye opener as well. Do everything you can to live frugally for one month. You can do anything for thirty days, can’t you? Then see just how much extra you can save, and be proud!