Your monthly budget seems to do nothing but eat up each and every paycheck you bring in. Not only is this dangerous, it’s frustrating. You want to have a disposable income so that you can buy the things that you want. You also need to have savings. These savings need to go towards a big purchase like a down deposit, your retirement, or even just for emergencies. To find more money within your monthly budget to save and to spend, follow these ten steps.
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10 Steps To Add Room In Your Monthly Budget
Document What You Spend
The first step is to document what it is that you spend money on. The more detailed your list, the better. You can, of course, go through your bank statements to do this if you want a head’s start. To truly feel the impact of what it is you’re buying, however, keep an on-hand ledger. That way every time you go out for lunch, buy a coffee, or otherwise treat yourself to a small snack or reward, you will make note of it. Impulse spending can eat up a massive chunk of your monthly budget, when it could be spent on more meaningful items or even put into your emergency savings.
Make a List
Either using your bank statements, or your own ledger, you need to next make a list. Sort items into the following categories: Mandatory, Necessities, Impulse. The mandatory section should be reserved for monthly bills that cost the same. This means mortgage, car, or student loan repayments, phone bills, and more. Necessities refers to items like food, drink, and even your utilities bills. The impulse section is for everything else. This is where the coffee to work goes, and where your splurge shopping spree should be placed.
Cut Out What You Can
When you want to have more money to either spend on more meaningful items, then you need to make more room in your monthly budget. The same applies to when you want to save. That is why you should aim to cut out small purchases that don’t give you a lot of satisfaction, and instead focus on the ones that do. This could be for excursions, it could be to decorate your home, or it could even be pet products to help keep your dog healthy and lower the risk of vet’s bills. Whatever you do end up spending, it should be something that improves and benefits your life or that of your family’s.
Opt for Home Meals
One of the biggest culprits when it comes to spending needlessly is ordering food out. Not only can this be an unhealthy option, the numbers add up. Save money by making food in advance so that you can bring healthy meals to work every day, and also invest in a thermal coffee container. That way you can get the caffeine fix that you need, without going to a coffee shop to satisfy it.
Keep an Eye Out for Sales
When you do need to buy items, wait for them to go on sale. This applies to everything, from clothes, to food, to big ticket items like televisions. That way you can get what you need at a discount. For some items, of course, you won’t be able to wait for a sale, and will instead have to take the opportunity to buy it before you need it. An example of this would be buying another tube of your toothpaste when it’s on sale, even though you haven’t finished your last tube yet.
Buy in Bulk
Buying in bulk is another way to save money in the long run. All you need to do this successfully is to have the space to store the extra food and supplies. That way, you can either buy bulk items more cheaply from stores like Costco, or you can buy many items when they are on sale.
Find Cheaper Alternatives
On top of saving by being smarter about how you shop, you should also aim to try to replace what you use with cheaper items. For instance, a brand name medicine can have the exact same ingredients as a generic one. The same applies to many items and foods, so be open and experiment to see if you can have the same quality, for less.
Use Preventative Measures
The biggest costs in life are medical bills. This applies to people and pets, and so the best way to keep those costs down is to be proactive. Using preventative measures to stop diseases from occurring will save you money, stress, and even your life. This means taking medicine, getting vaccinated, and going to the doctor for checkups when you have persistent pain.
Lower Your Utilities Bill
Another way to save money is in your utilities bill. You don’t need to change your lifestyle to save money, nor should you opt to freeze in your own home. Instead, use energy more effectively. This means getting proper curtains to either block out the sun’s heat or to keep heat in, it means using fans to either pull warm air up and away from you or to push it back down when you want to warm up, and more. There are so many ways to save on your utilities bill. As a bonus, you’ll also be reducing your carbon footprint.
When you still don’t have the disposable income that you want after the previous steps, it’s time to consider moving. Rent shouldn’t take up the majority of your paycheck, and if it does, it’s time to look for somewhere else to live. Try moving in with others to help offset costs, or moving further out from the city. If you own the home, and have for a while, you can even try to refinance your rate so that you have more breathing room in your budget.
Your monthly budget should give you room to not only comfortably live, but to also buy the things you really want. To do this, you need to follow these steps to help you manage your budget more effectively.